And the three winners? Gordon wants to taste Sharone's plate -- a Dungeness crab cucumber roll with an apple ginger reduction. Lee looks like he wants to swallow his tongue. Gordon enthuses about the technique and asks if Sharone was shooting for a vibrant citrus flavor balanced with the delicate sweetness of the crab. Sharone says he was, and reminds Gordon to try some of reduction when he tucks into the dish. "I love the fact that you're now trying to tell me how to eat," Gordon says in the tone of voice that suggests he does not love it even a little bit. The other contestants smile at the sight of Sharone being humiliated. "The problem with that dish," Gordon says after tasting it and pausing long enough for me to make my own Dungeness crab roll, "is that automatically, I want more. Delicious. Fresh. Vibrant." The problem with that verbal tic....
...is that it gets really, really old after a while.
Dish No. 2 comes from Lee. It's a Dungeness crab salad with fresh avocado and gazpacho andalouse. Graham may well be talking about the entire problem with this show when he notes of Lee that his "dishes haven't been the worst. They haven't been the greatest. They've just kind of been in the middle somewhere." And that's MasterChef in a nutshell to this point, isn't it? An indistinct mass that neither impresses nor repels. Anyhow, Lee knocked this one out of the park, according to Graham. So there's that.
The third dish the judges want to taste is Sheetal's. "I'm shocked when they called my name," she says. That makes two of us -- her tomato and crab curry doesn't look that particularly appetizing, so this selection has the whiff of made-for-TV drama about it. Joe praises the dish for excelling in its simplicity. "I'm sure that crab is very, very happy to have given its life for this dish," Joe tells her. I'm going to guess the crab would have preferred to have more of a say in the matter, but that's just me.
So who's cuisine reigns supreme? After a brief judges huddle -- and less brief commercial break -- Gordon announces that the winner made the best dish thus far in the storied history of MasterChef. Your winner is Lee. "You're a force to be reckoned with," Gordon tells him. Now that we know who the hell you are, he doesn't add. So Lee gets a leg up in the next challenge -- hopefully, it doesn't involve having an Iron Chef wipe the floor with you when you try to recreate one of her recipes.