'MasterChef: Back to Win': Stephen Lee is first chef to exit show, fans upset at his short stint
The theme of 'MasterChef: Back to Win' is redemption, as All-Star contestants from the previous 11 seasons return to the competition to see if they have learned from their errors. Stephen Lee, a former runner-up on the show, found himself at the bottom of the competition.
In the season's maiden elimination round, all 20 chefs must prepare a meal inspired by the meal that sent them home in prior seasons. Since each chef has 60 minutes to produce identical portions of their meal for each judge, appearance is important. In the all-new "Dish that Sent You Home" episode of 'MasterChef,' which aired Wednesday, June 15, on Fox, the chef who fails to recreate their elimination dish in the most elevated, refined, and skillful way find themselves going home. Lee was the unfortunate chef that had to leave the competition in the first elimination round.
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Panna cotta gone rogue. 😣 #MasterChef pic.twitter.com/LEN4z7YBDf— MasterChef (@MASTERCHEFonFOX) June 16, 2022
The judges handed out the final six aprons in Season 12's Top 20 on the previous episode. The returning chefs must now compete in the season's first elimination task - creating something delightful inspired by the dish that sent them home the last time. The participants relived their previous eliminations on the big screen and some of them were moved to tears, while others found it amusing. But now it was time to demonstrate to the judges how far they've come. The winner of the challenge earned an immunity pin, which will keep them safe until the next one.
Contestants scrambled to create a dish worthy of earning them the immunity pin, but most of them have forgotten to cook. As the rest of the cooks rushed to finish their meals, Lee has it extra tough. He's particularly bothered by the fact that his panna cotta hasn't set. The judges circled the kitchen, looking for the finest and worst-looking food. Lee's Cacao Panna Cotta with blackberry & gin sauce and spicy hazelnuts did not come out as he had hoped. It's clear that it hasn't been set, but Gordon described the flavor as "rich and delicious." "It's just liquid," Gordon added, to the fact that he couldn't taste the gelatin or any kind of setting agent. Joe believed it's chocolate milk and it's awful. Even one of viewers of the show and a Lee-fan live tweeted their concern regarding his dish: "As much as I adore Stephen, I really don’t think that he is safe. His panna cotta didn’t even have enough gelatin. :( #MasterChef."
As much as I adore Stephen, I really don’t think that he is safe. His panna cotta didn’t even have enough gelatin. :(#MasterChef— Olive (@Theolivepit04) June 16, 2022
The judges discussed and concluded that Lee would have to be the first returning cook to be eliminated from the competition. It's a difficult pill for Lee to swallow, given that he never finished in the bottom three during his previous season. He dropped from third to twentieth position. Fans on social media have also voiced their sadness at his departure. One fan tweeted: "I can’t even imagine going from 3rd place to being the first person being eliminated after getting a 2nd chance. Gonna miss Stephen. :(#MasterChef."
I can’t even imagine going from 3rd place to being the first person being eliminated after getting a 2nd chance. Gonna miss Stephen. :(#MasterChef— Olive (@Theolivepit04) June 16, 2022
One fan recalled Lee's audition dish and how they were disappointed to see him exit with a dish like this. They wrote: "#MasterChef I loved the idea of Stephen's audition dish; rabbit and donuts was the exact brand of wacky creativity I enjoyed. So I was definitely bummed to see him go tonight. That said, I agree with their decision."
#MasterChef I loved the idea of Stephen's audition dish; rabbit and donuts was the exact brand of wacky creativity I enjoyed.— Nick Grimes (@NickGrimesYT) June 16, 2022
So I was definitely bummed to see him go tonight. That said, I agree with their decision.
As the cook walked out of the kitchen with a wide grin across his face, one fan tweeted: "Loved Stephen this season! Although it was short, at least he went out with positivity! #MasterChef."One fan tweeted how glad they were to see Stephen get that second chance this season: "I hate to see Stephen be the first one eliminated but I’m glad that he got a second chance. #MasterChef."
Loved Stephen this season! Although it was short, at least he went out with positivity! #MasterChef— Averi (@hoechlinsslater) June 16, 2022
I hate to see Stephen be the first one eliminated but I’m glad that he got a second chance. #MasterChef— Abraham Kelly ♉ 🌈 (@AbrahamKelgrad) June 16, 2022
Watch all new episodes of 'MasterChef: Back to Win' on Fox on Wednesdays at 8 pm.
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