MasterChef Canada Recap – Original Doughnuts

There are only 6 left in the competition.  Things heat up this week as Claudio Aprile lets the home cooks take over the kitchen at his restaurant, Origin North. While watching this episode, my boyfriend commented that it was brave of Aprile to let amateurs take over his restaurant. However, given Origin North’s reviews, it doesn’t seem like that big a risk to me. I was sad to learn that Aprile closed the much more interesting Colborne Lane in order to focus on his Origin chain. I guess that’s how money is made though.

Okay, enough snarking (for now).

As winners of the last challenge, Tamarra and Pino will be the team leaders. However, they don’t get to pick their teammates, the judges do that for them. Mike and Kaila join Tamarra, while Eric and Marida join Pino’s team. The task is to complete a dinner service that includes the options of two appetizers and two mains (no desserts? But everyone loves those). The appetizers are a whole beet salad and scallops (a cooking competition staple). The mains are halibut and venison.

Things get off to a bit of a shaky start for Tamarra’s team. Aprile refuses to let a few of the beet salads leave the kitchen as they aren’t plated perfectly enough. The team gets over that stumbling block quickly though, and soon starts sending out pristine plates. Pino’s team starts off smoothly but runs into trouble when one of Eric’s scallop plates comes back because it’s cold. Other than these things, the appetizer course looks to go well. The judges examine the plating and taste the dishes from each team to compare. The only negative seems to be that the beet salad from Pino’s team is a little skimpy on the garnish.

The main course round doesn’t go nearly as smooth. One of the tables being served by Tamarra’s team threatens to walk out if they don’t get their food quickly. I guess they had been waiting a long time? The way the show is edited doesn’t really give any indication that much time has passed, and these people are shown very early in the segment. No one else is seen complaining about slow service, but they do end up walking out. Seems scripted to me. Pino’s team quickly gets in the weeds and Chef Aprile needs to step into their kitchen to ensure the plates go out to the customers. When the judges try each dish they find the fish from Pino’s team is dry, while the venison from Tamarra’s team wasn’t allowed to rest for long enough and bleeds all over the plate.

In an act of callousness, the judges do not announce which team won right away. They make the cooks wait until they’re back in the MasterChef Canada kitchen the next day. That’s cold.

The winning team ends up being Tamarra, Kaila and Mike. I think this is the first time I correctly guessed who would win a team challenge. Kaila is ecstatic as this will be the first pressure test she doesn’t have to participate in. This means  Pino, Eric, and Marida will be facing elimination. And what devious dish do the judges have in store? Doughnuts. Another dessert. Seriously, season 2 hopefuls, brush up on your baking skills. Each cook will need to present a box of a dozen doughnuts, and have at least 3 different flavours/toppings.

No one seems overly excited about making sweets for yet another challenge, but they all get to work immediately. Marida’s flavours include strawberry lemonade and coconut. Pino makes PB&J, and s’more doughnuts. Eric, who obviously temporarily lost his mind decides to make 8 different flavours. Eight! There’s blueberry, bacon, chocolate… and a bunch of other flavours  – really, who can remember all 8?

Pino runs into trouble with his dough being denser than he wanted, making it hard to fill some of them. Eric’s questionable decision to take on too much is compounded by the fact that he has no idea how to garnish. You dip and twirl the doughnut in the topping, you don’t slather it on with a knife. Marida, on the other hand, seems to have everything under control.

Marida’s doughnuts get judged first. The judges like them all. Light, not too sweet, not greasy. She gets called the “Doughnut Diva.” Looks like she’s safe. Next up is Eric. The judges question his decision to make so many varieties. The comments he gets are mixed. Some of the doughnuts are very good, while others are sloppy. The presentation is not good. Last is Pino. Though I think his doughnuts look nicer than Eric’s the sizes are not at all uniform. There is also the problem of the dough not turning out quite right and uneven amounts of fillings.

The judges deliberate. Marida is quickly announced as safe. Though Eric’s doughnuts didn’t look the best, they did taste better than Pino’s so he is safe as well. Pino will be leaving the competition. I’ll miss Pino because he was always so positive, and never created any drama. The man just loved to cook and showed it every episode.

Only five cooks are left.

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