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MasterChef recap: The top 24 begin competing, but who went home?

MasterChef Season 9 Contestant Alecia Winters
MasterChef Season 9 contestant Alecia Winters speaks with the judges – Pic via: Fox

MasterChef Season 9 moved to the top 24 on June 6, with two new episodes on Fox. Episode 3 covered the first hour, with the final nine people getting aprons from one of the three judges. By the end of the episode, the top 24 would be ready for presentation.

During Episode 4, which filled the second hour, the top 24 began competing to become the next MasterChef. It was an exciting night of cooking, setting the stage to play out the twist over the remainder of the season. As a reminder of what was revealed in the season premiere, each home cook in the top 24 has been assigned one of the judges as a mentor.

Episode 3: Deciding the top 24

The first hour of the night covered judges and chefs Gordon Ramsay, Aarón Sánchez, and Joe Bastianich handing out nine more aprons to hopeful home cooks. This would serve to finalize the teams that would begin competing in the second hour of the June 6 episode. While there were a lot of dramatic pauses as the judges selected nine more home cooks to join the top 24, it’s time to get to the meat of Episode 3.

Joe gave aprons to Gerron Hurt and Sal Maida. They joined Shanika Patterson, Ralph Xavier Degala, Olusola Ogbomo, Matt Houck, Emily Hallock, and Mark Ingraham on his team.

Aaron handed out aprons to Farhan Momin, Lindsay Haigh, Alecia Winters, and Juni Cuevas. They joined Ryan Cortez, Julia Danno, Cesar Cano, and Chelsea Sargent as mentees for the famous chef.

Gordon gave aprons to Stephanie Willis, Darrick Krause, and Ashley Mincey. He serves as a mentor to them, as well as Bowen Li, Taylor Waltmon, Samantha Daily, S.J. Yun, and Sid Hoeltzell.

Episode 4: Mystery Box Challenge

MasterChef Season 9 Episode 4 began with the top 24 home cooks all entering the kitchen with aprons on for the first time. They were quickly greeted by the three judges, who congratulated them on making it to that point before jumping into the first challenge of the season.

Within a Mystery Box at each station were ingredients to construct a dish. The key ingredient related to each individual was something native to their home state. The home cooks were then tasked with cooking a signature dish using that ingredient. Taylor, from Houston, got a Texas t-bone, Alecia, from Michigan, was given cherries, and Farhan, from Chicago, got a walleye fish.

To decide the top three dishes, each judge was allowed to select one of their mentees to get judged. Joe Bastianich went with Emily Hallock, who make a broccoli mac & cheese with crispy chicken thigh and white wine cheddar sauce.

Aaron Sanchez picked Farhan Momin, who made peppercorn-crusted walleye with homestyle potatoes and coconut moilee sauce. Gordon Ramsay selected Ashley Mincey, who made mojo pork tenderloin with mashed sweet plantains and orange mustard sauce.

The judges loved all three dishes, making it difficult to select a winner. In the end, Ashley won the challenge, and with it gained immunity from getting eliminated. After sending her upstairs to watch the rest of the night, each judge had to then identify one home cook to go into a three-way battle for survival.

Gordon selected Sid Hoeltzell, Aaron went with Alecia Winters, and Joe picked Sal Maida due to how much grease he had on his plate. The other 20 home cooks were sent upstairs with safety.

To gain survival, the three home chefs had to prepare steak and mashed potatoes after being taught by Gordon Ramsay. He revealed that two people would get sent home by the end of the night. Below is a video of Gordon preparing the dish in his own style.

Alecia, Sal, and Sid knew the stakes as they began preparing their dishes. Sal prepared pan-seared steak with red wine reduction sauce and parmesan cheese mashed potatoes. Alecia made a seared steak with mushroom onion sauce and loaded mashed potatoes. Sid went with herb-crusted steak with beef stock onion mushroom sauce and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.

Two home cooks get eliminated

While Sid and Sal received a lot of negative feedback on their dishes, it seemed that the judges enjoyed Alecia’s steak and onion sauce. This led to a predictable outcome, as Sal and Sid were eliminated from the show. Alecia survived to join the top 22, which will compete on the June 13 episode of the show.

MasterChef airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on Fox.