masterchef 516 recap fox 'MasterChef' Season 5, episode 16 and 17: Who are the Top 3?

With only one week to go before America’s newest “MasterChef” is named, it was time to narrow the field in a special two-hour episode. There were five home cooks left, and the first order of business was a mystery box filled with family members.
Each of the remaining home cooks has to prepare a “MasterChef” quality dish based on a request from a surprise loved one in the room. The results were mixed. Courtney cooking lobster macaroni and cheese after a request from her little brother really shed a different light on her personality. However, it was Elizabeth’s meatball and grits dish, inspired by her husband, that won the challenge.
That gave her a one-way ticket to the Top 4, while also giving her the chance to choose with unique proteins her competitors had to cook in the first pressure test of the night. Cutter was assigned a heart, testicles for Courtney, brains for Christian and a tongue for Leslie. Having Leslie prepare a tongue was absolutely he right idea. After all, he never stops talking.
Still, though there are minor problems with his dish, it’s one of the betters ones. It’s no match for Courtney’s buffalo testicle dish, though. The real surprise is Cutter, who serves up his best dish of the competition with a heart. He put a southwest spin on the protein, with stuffed poblano peppers.
It’s Christian who is the first elimination of the night. He got inside his own head and assumed he was screwing up. In the end, his veal brains were cooked nearly perfectly, but everything else about the dish fell way below expectations.
Eliminated: Christian
The final four were then split for the last team challenge of the season. It was Elizabeth and Courtney on one side of the kitchen, with Leslie and Cutter on the other. Then things got interesting. Back in the pantry, each team had two boxes, one from each home cook’s home state. Together, they had to decide which box to use.
Leslie and Cutter grabbed the box from Cutter’s home of Texas, while Courtney and Elizabeth settled with Pennsylvania. Inside each box were a selection of proteins and ingredients that should have led them to cooking delicious dishes. It was up to the home cooks to meet that challenge, though.
Unfortunately for Cutter and Leslie, that wasn’t so easy. Their dishes, to be honest, were a bit pedestrian. The appetizer was ribs and corn, with no real flair whatsoever. Cutter also managed to live up to his name, slicing his finger. Their entree didn’t fare much better, as the sauce for the steak was just plain bad.
That’s where the fighting picked up, as they blamed each other. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Courtney didn’t blow anyone away with their dishes, especially the trout and pear combination. However, the venison medallions of their entree win over the judges and they get the victory.
That left Cutter and Leslie to fight it out in a pressure test. The wrinkle was they were using ingredients from the state-themed box they didn’t choose, meaning all ingredients from Leslie’s home of California.
They were given 90 minutes to make a sea urchin risotto, chicken teriyaki and a nicoise salad. Almost immediately Cutter starts floundering, afraid he doesn’t know what he’s doing, while Leslie giggles like a maniac. He’s a good guy.
When it came time to judge, Leslie barely edged Cutter out with the risotto, while the Texan had the better teriyaki. However, the nicoise salad is where things got interesting.
Leslie forgot ingredients, while Cutter poorly butchered and undercooked his tuna. Finally, after much deliberation, Cutter was eliminated. He went out strong, but just couldn’t make it to the Top 3.
Eliminated: Cutter
Posted by:Chris E. Hayner

Chris E. Hayner is equal parts nerd, crazy person and coffee. He watches too much TV, knows more about pro wrestling than you do and remembers every single show from the TGIF lineup. You may have seen him as a pro-shark protester in "Sharknado 3." His eventual memoir will be called "You're Wrong, Here's Why..." TV words to live by: "I'm a firm believer that sometimes it's right to do the wrong thing."