'MasterChef' recap: War is Hell's Kitchen

masterchef-judges-320.jpgPreviously, on "It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want to ..." ( "MasterChef")  well, Fox aired this one right after Episode No. 4, so if you need a reminder of what just went down, you have either suffered a recent brain injury or you're employed on the executive team at FOX. The two are not mutually exclusive. Anyhow, two people got sent home, leaving us with 12 people vying for the MasterChef title. That should be good enough, right?

Anyhow, your would-be MasterChefs are wandering around a beach -- "their first MasterChef field challenge," the pleasant-sounding female narrator tells us. Well, frankly, that doesn't seem to be all that challenging unless you're asking them to... Holy crap -- is that an aquatic assault vehicle? Why, yes it is -- several of them, as a matter of fact, cruising in from the sea directly toward our contestants. Those vehicles are joined by helicopters, troops, a veritable display of U.S. military might. You know, this seems like an awful lot of firepower to use just to eliminate a couple more contestants.

But no, it turns out we're at Camp Pendleton, a Marine base just north of San Diego and just south of Orange County. The aspiring MasterChefs will be asked to cook for more than just the judges this time out. Speaking of which, the judges emerge from one of the assault vehicles to the cheers and whoops and hollers of the people whose success in this competition depends on their favor. I'm trying to imagine a land invasion lead by Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich. I'd imagine we'd have the terms of our surrender ironed out by noon.

There's no time for surrender here, though. Instead, the amateur cooks learn their next challenge -- they'll be cooking for 400 Marines and their families, who will be expecting a meal in about three hours. The judges will pick a winner based on food, team performance, and feedback from their fatigues-clad diners. The winning team will advance on to the next round; the losers will have to square off in a showdown test that will end in an elimination and, if past episodes are anything to go by, tears.

Photo credit: FOX



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