'MasterChef' recap: Oh Deer

masterchef-judges-320.jpgPreviously on "The Weepy Gourmet" (aka "MasterChef"), Lee's dish was so gosh-darn good Joe Bastianich ordered everyone to taste it so they could savor their own inferiority. Slim's dish was not good, and she was sent home. Also, she was tried in absentia for crimes against crab-manity. Then, the amateur chefs catered a wedding because the happy newlyweds are apparently dunces who can be talked into anything. Both Tracy and Jake were made to pay for their sins. Who will fall tonight as the six remaining cooks are winnowed down to four?

Credits! Whizzy faces! Oversized novelty checks! Cookbooks! Whoosh!

Gordon confirms that we are indeed down to six chefs, thereby eliminating any suspense that Faruq was going to leap out of the pantry and scare the bejesus out of everyone. To kick off the last Mystery Box Challenge, Gordon paraphrases poet-statesman-wrestler Ric Flair and reminds them that to be the best, they've got to beat the best. You know the drill: One hour to cook a dish using nothing but the ingredients in that box, winner gets an advantage in the next competition, blah blah blah fish sauce. Now, let's lift those boxes and see what's underneath. It would be so totally fitting if it were, in fact, fish sauce. It's not -- it's a rack of venison. "The most tender, flavorful rack of venison," Joe says, with about an atom's worth of the enthusiasm Gordon usually puts into pimping the ingredients. Sheetal points out that her mother wouldn't be too pleased with that ingredient. Hey, it's not like you had to go pump a slug or two into Bambi, so already it's an improvement over last week for you. The remaining ingredients: blueberries, bacon, red cabbage, quail eggs, fingerling potatoes, striped beets, hazelnuts, Brussels sprouts, and red wine. So, who's whipping up a breakfast cereal, then?

Let's get cooking, shall we? Whitney is working on her roasted Brussels sprouts and enthusing about how she's used to cooking deer. "I'm a southern girl," she giggles, "and in Mississippi, we eat deer like it's going out of style." What you don't know? "Deer" is her nickname for "drifters." Sheetal is trying her hand at a blueberry wine sauce, but is understandably concerned about not being that experienced a hand at cooking meat. David says dreary, self-congratulatory things that we don't feel like typing.

The judges are impressed by the contestants' focus -- they're not running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Instead they're saving that for the next challenge, which will be to cut off the heads of chickens. No, no -- that's the blueberry wine sauce talking. By the way, if you had the six-minute mark down as the first time Joe Bastianich uttered the words "restaurant-quality dish," please take your winning ticket to the cashier's window.

Time for Gordon to start checking in with folks. David's going to stick with an on-the-bone filet and use the wine as the base for a sauce. People put off by David's demeanor -- perhaps I'm just speaking to myself here -- will be disappointed to learn that he seems to know what he's doing. Sharone is going a little sauce-crazy, with two sauces for one preparation of the venison and a broth-like sauce for another preparation. Gordon makes a face like Sharone has presented him with a particularly complicated math problem. Joe and Graham have teamed up to check in on Whitney, who's cooking up a pan-seared venison with a brown gravy of some sort. It does not look particularly appetizing, and gravy seems like something you'd thrown on a particularly bland pot roast, but what do we know? Lee is making a coffee-blueberry sauce and braising some of his root vegetables; Gordon is still stuck on why you'd make that kind of sauce for a gamey meat like venison. Apparently, Gordon is easily baffled by sauces ...

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