Legends: Nancy Silverton – Pasta Challenge
Pasta makes everything better.
It was also the perfect challenge to implement into MasterChef Season 11 Episode 7 when the legend of the hour was Nancy Silverton, the Queen of Italian cuisine.
People underestimate how difficult pasta can be to make, so the gang had to put in the work for this challenge.
One of the best moments of all was watching the demonstration. It’s the absolute best when one of the judges rolls up his sleeves and shows the contestants how to get down in the kitchen with one of their specialties.
And this time around, we got a master class demonstration with Joe and Nancy, who also happen to co-own a restaurant together.
Joe is such a hardass most of the time, so it’s always a treat when you see his passion come through while he’s cooking. It was chock full of advice and tips, and the contestants were eating it up.
Something that always comes up when they get a pasta challenge is the Italian-Americans inevitably share that Italian is part of their heritage as if that will automatically give them an edge in this type of challenge.
And, um, that’s not how that works, folks! I would never bring up my percentage of Sicilian heritage in a homemade pasta challenge. If anything, that’s cause for scrutiny, right?
You’re damn near inviting harsher criticism!
If you’re Italian and bringing up the nonnas, but you aren’t bringing your A-game, then you’re about to find out!
Pasta is another deceptive challenge. It’s unforgiving in the errors that will be on full display if you screw up. It has to be seasoned properly — otherwise, it could be too bland.
The dough has to be kneaded just right. You have a risk of under-kneading it rather than over-kneading it, so that can be a nightmare.
Alejandro’s plight was interesting. He’s Cuban, and he said that he never even had pasta until he was a teenager. It’s something that, as an American, you take for granted because it’s such a staple.
But Miles was the one who struggled the most with this challenge, and it’s a reminder of how clumsy he is in the kitchen. It’s something that has come up a few times before, but it’s gone under the radar with everything else.
His pesto pine nuts suggestion sounded awful, and from the moment he messed up his sauce, he was a disaster in the kitchen ever since. The two pans of burnt pine nuts at his station were enough to disgust Ramsay.
It was apparent he’d have one of the worst dishes, right along with Alejandro’s ambitious fettucini with octopus.
The best dishes were harder to determine until the judges announced them. But Anne’s pappardelle was a hit for the judges even though the peas weren’t to my personal taste nor helped with the presentation.
I agreed with Joe about how much Anne put on them. The asparagus or peas needed to go, for sure. I appreciate that Joe was going hard on the contestants for a challenge that was near and dear to him.
Autumn is proving to be a dark horse of the season, and her dish was effortlessly the best.
She earned her Italian-toting card, and she had Aarón making really weird analogies about kissing dates, and Ramsay wanted to put her dish on his menu, which is one of the highest honors when he’s critiquing.
Kelsey also knocked it out of the park with her lobster pasta. But it’s Lexy who was the shocking pick. The top three expanded to a top four.
Lexy is such a wholesome and endearing contestant, and you can tell all the judges have a soft spot for her.
Even though they had some concerns about how quickly she could execute a lasagna in the limited time, Joe spoke fondly of her to Nancy about her skill of transforming anything you present her into gold.
Lexy’s story makes her someone you root for, a mom with limited means who makes the most of everything that she has. She’s the type of person that they design this series for in the first place.
Every win she gets makes you smile. You can’t help but feel proud of her.
For a bit, it seemed as if Abe would be a contender as well. He’s another contestant who has come into his own and continues to impress the judges with his skillset and palate despite his young age. Of course, the bottom two contestants were as clear as day, but Joe’s commentary and Gordon’s critiques were absolutely hilarious as they were harsh.
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MasterChef US Show Summary
MasterChef is an American competitive cooking reality TV show based on the British series of the same name, open to amateur and home chefs. Produced by Shine America and One Potato Two Potato, it debuted on July 27, 2010 on the Fox network, following the professional cooking competition series Hell’s Kitchen.
For the first five seasons, the series starred celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay (the co-creator of the series and Hell’s Kitchen), Graham Elliot and restaurateur Joe Bastianich. From seasons six through eight, pastry chef Christina Tosi temporarily replaced Bastianich. On season seven, Elliot departed as a judge, and in place of a third judge, there were a series of guest judges, one of which was Aarón Sanchez. Since season eight, Sanchez joined as a regular judge. In season nine, Bastianich returned as a regular judge, replacing Tosi. On September 19, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a tenth season, which premiered on May 29, 2019 with Ramsay, Sanchez, and Bastianich returning as judges.
As of October 2020, an eleventh season of 18 episodes is in production, with Ramsay, Sanchez, and Bastianich returning as judges. The season, subtitled Legends, will premiere on June 2, 2021.