“It’s been a long journey….” No kidding, Gordon. Jeez. Fast forward through the retrospectives, and we’re down to two cooks—Natasha and Luca. The cooks must prepare a fantastic three-course dinner which is just such a super duper original challenge for a cooking show.

Luca Manfe - Natasha Crnjac - MasterChef Season Finale Recap

The cooks have one hour to make their appetizers. Natasha is preparing pan seared scallops with seaweed salad couscous and heirloom cauliflower puree, while Luca cooks pan seared duck liver with toasted French brioche and peaches. The judges are a little bit confused by Natasha’s dish, and they worry that Luca’s dish is too sweet.

When time is called, the cooks bring their appetizers to the Master Chef Restaurant, which is a table and chairs with an unimpressive tablescape. Joe likes Natasha’s wacko combination, Gordon finds the scallops expertly cooked, and Graham enjoys the fluffy couscous. Gordon is loving the smell coming from Luca’s dish, but thinks it needs another minute in the oven. Graham, however, finds the dish delicious, but heavy, and Joe calls it a masterpiece.

Natasha Crnjac - MasterChef Season Finale Recap

Next, Luca and Natasha have one hour to prepare the perfect entree. Five spiced monkfish with infused jasmine rice and a coconut curry sauce. tamarind and balsamic glazed beef short ribs served with sunchokes and truffle puree. Luca is using the pressure cooker to make his short ribs, so there’s no way of knowing how the meat will come out until they are finished. Natasha is wrapping her monkfish in cow stomach lining and plans to leave it on the fish.

With ten minutes to go, Luca opens up the pressure cooker. But all of the worry and anticipation has been sucked out of the show because it is clear that the cooks have practiced and prepared these dishes to death prior to the show. Of course Luca’s short ribs are cooked. And no kidding Natasha knows how to sear the fish.

Luca Manfe - MasterChef Season Finale Recap

Anyway, the judges think that Natasha’s dish is pretty much flawless, and Luca’s short ribs are like butter. Since the competition is too close to call, the dessert is very important. Panna cotta with sweet tomato jam and mascarpone. Lime panna cotta and coconut panna cotta. So they’re both making panna cotta. This is just dumb.

Luca has a “disaster” as he realizes that he forgot to strain his panna cotta. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the end of the world. Natasha’s lime panna cotta was the wrong consistency so she only went with the coconut panna cotta, which is also not the end of the world. The judges flick the spoons to test the boing in the panna cotta, and the only thing Gordon would change about Natasha’s dish is to put more on the plate. Gordon tastes Luca’s panna cotta and rambles on about lusciousness and excitement.

So can we call a winner yet? Or are we going to have to suffer through another episode? Finally, the winner of Master Chef is Luca. He gets a quarter million dollars, maybe a cookbook, a trophy, and, most importantly, he gets to watch the look of crushing disappointment on Natasha’s face as the confetti rains down. Congratulations, Luca. And congratulations to everyone who made it through all twenty-five episodes.


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