MasterChef Top 5 contestants competed in a special two-hour installment of the reality cooking show on Wednesday, ending with James’ elimination.

The first hour consisted of a new mystery box challenge put together by the judges’ sons. Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastainich all brought their male offspring to the judging table – with matching outfits, of course.

The boys picked 15 ingredients to go into the mystery box: white chocolate chips, marshmallows, pineapple, passion fruit, cheese slices, bananas, bacon, puff pastry, coconut, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, hazelnut spread, peanut butter and ketchup.

The cooks get to work while the boys, including Graham’s toddler, look on closely. Most of the chefs end up creating a kind of desert dish, with James, Jessie and Luca presenting the top three dishes. James, who made a white chocolate and passion fruit turnover with blueberry mint puree and whipped cinnamon, sugar and coconut, was crowned the winner. As champion, James was saved from elimination and got to choose the dish the remaining contestants would be cooking in their next challenge: hu tieu Vietnamese noodle soup.

The judges are impressed with all the chefs’ attempts at hu tieu, though none of them are particularly excellent. Krissi and Natasha land in the bottom two, but the judges decide to keep both cooks in the competition for the second Top 5 hour.

The second hour, other than featuring some intense cooking, also featured the television comeback of disgraced celebrity chef Paula Deen.

Deen picked five proteins for the cooks to prepare for a luncheon she is hosting. Luca gets the pork chop, Krissi is assigned the shrimp, Natasha tackles catfish, Jessie is tasked with the alligator tail and James gets chicken.

All is good, until Gordon notices that dishes at James’ table are undercooked! Plates are sent back, and things don’t look good for James.

James may have won the mystery box challenge, but, in the end, he lands in the bottom three with Natasha and Krissi and is sent home after delivering an underwhelming panna cotta in his elimination challenge.

The Top 4 – Krissi, Natasha, Jessie and Luca – will compete next week in an all new MasterChef airing Wednesday at 8 P.M. on Fox.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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