Anyhow, let's dispense with all the preparation -- really it looks disastrous -- and jump right ahead to the tasting. Whitney, who's partially responsible for this train wreck, is called up first. Her mandarin orange chicken with vegetable stir fry is not greeted enthusiastically. "Is that it?" Gordon asks, and if you were to eyeball the especially limp vegetables, you'd probably be asking the same thing. Gordon dismisses the whole thing as "a little TV dinner stir fry with bits of chicken that the dog didn't want to eat." I should point out here that Mike -- the hat-wearing guy -- has a habit of making ridiculous faces in reaction to whatever's going on in front of him, and he doesn't disappoint here. He makes a comically sad and shocked face at the sound of Gordon's savage dressing down of Whitney. Seriously, we need a special MikeCam for the remainder of this show, so that not a single oversized reaction of his is lost to posterity. Anyhow, Whitney's dish does not impress the judges at all. " I just hope the person who picked the key ingredient of the day doesn't end up in the bottom three," Joe says. He does not sound all that hopeful.
Slim, who is the same age as Whitney, though you would hardly know it since no one gassed on about how she's too young to be in the competition, is confident that her dish is better. Her confidence is misplaced -- her Chinese-spiced chicken with mandarin orange sauce falls flat because she left the best part (the broth) off the plate. At least, Gordon liked part of her dish; the same cannot be said of Avis's Chinese orange chicken and vegetable stir fry, which he describes as something you'd get from a gas station. That is very unfair to gas stations, many of which offer perfectly serviceable food.
And the parade of failure continues. Tony's wok-fried chicken with stir-fried broccoli is dismissed as kid food. "Chicken nuggets soaked in orange sauce," Joe sniffs. (Let's hope the McDonald's executive who greenlighted this TV commercial wasn't watching, or we're getting a new promotional menu item.) David's spicy orange chicken with steamed vegetables and rice looks like something that was prepared just before the nearby Crayola factory exploded. "Cartoonish!" Joe calls it. Sheetal's pan-fried chicken and bok choy eggroll is denounced for its unappealing look. Jenna, who finished her dish with 20 minutes to spare, offers an Asian orange stir fry with rice that's so unappealing, Joe flings down his cutlery. "It's boring," he declares. "It's not the spirit in what we came here to do." By the way, if you had "orange chicken" in the MasterChef home drinking game, you are probably on your way to the ER for alcohol poisoning treatment by now.