Who Will Win MasterChef 2023? Midwest Aiming To Be The Best
MasterChef's latest episode saw the return of show favorite Graham Elliot as a guest judge, and it was the turn of cooks from the Midwest to impress the panelists.
Chef Elliot was a judge on the first six seasons of MasterChef and is an expert in midwestern cuisine, hence his return alongside regular judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Aaron Sanchez for the second episode of season 13.
Elliot admitted he had been impressed with the quality of MasterChef contestants since he departed the show.
He said: "Having been here from episode one to now, a decade later, the caliber of contestant and home cook is amazing. We call it the Mid-best, right?"
The show's new "United Tastes of America" twist sees wannabes from four regions of the United States - Northeast, West, Midwest and South - aim to impress the judges.
Ramsay had the audience's taste buds tantalized as he described Midwest food as "the heart of American cuisine."
He said: "The region competing tonight is truly the heart of American cuisine. There you'll find fresh corn, delicious squash and enough casseroles to fill any table at a potluck, right?"
Another five wannabe MasterChef champions were handed white aprons during the episode.
Contestants have 45 minutes to make their signature dishes, and they need at least three yeses from the judges to be handed one of the show's coveted garments and progress to the next round.
The season 13 victor will land a $250,000 prize as well as the title of "America's MasterChef."
With these hypothetical odds provided by industry sports betting experts, we've looked into which remaining MasterChef contestants could have what it takes to be the show's winner.
Charles Moves To Joint Favorite
One of the most impressive home cooks of Wednesday night's episode was Charles, now a +300 joint favorite, with a 25% implied probability, alongside episode one star Purvi.
Hairstylist Charles wowed the judges with his Amok dish - a steamed fish curry with a mousse-like consistency - and received four yeses to progress to the next round.
Charles received some high praise from Bastianich, who described his creation as a "wow dish."
Sanchez was also a big fan and the only one of the four panelists who didn't think it was a bit on the spicy side.
Despite that, Charles' Amok did enough to earn him a quartet of yeses and a white apron.
Last week, Purvi's Vanilla Bundt Cakes also earned her four yeses from the judges and some rare praise from Bastianich, who awarded her his first yes of the season.
Also, in episode one - which featured home cooks from Northeast - Brynn, who remains +400 second favorite to win the competition, impressed with Harissa Black Seabass dish.
Saucy Wayne Progresses
Wayne also received four yeses from the judges in the second episode of the season, but the media company owner nearly blew it with his sauce.
He served up a Venison Filet, which also featured pureed parsnip and had blackberry and port reduction, as well as curried carrots.
Despite enjoying the venison, Bastianich didn't like the puree and Ramsay thought there was far too much sauce.
However, Sanchez insisted the dish wouldn't look out of place in a top restaurant, and he led the panelists in giving out four yeses.
Wayne is now +450 third favorite to win this year's MasterChef, ahead of Ryan and Kyle, who impressed in episode one.
Construction superintendent Ryan had some viewers in tears as he revealed an emotional backstory to his love of creating dishes, which had helped him overcome previous addictions.
Ryan went through after his Steak and Eggs creation, but he is out to +550 in the betting to win the contest, from +500 last week, following Charles and Wayne's season debuts.
Kyle Overcomes Trevor To Progress
Kyle received the final apron of Wednesday night's episode after he overcame Chicken Roulade-making Trevor.
The judges appeared to give a mixed reactions to both contestants, but Kyle's Seared Pork Chop ended up earning him a white apron.
Kyle is now +600 to win this year's series, the same price as week one's Richie.
Richie overcame some negative comments from the judges about his Crispy Skin Salmon – including Bastianich describing his creation as "simple" and Ramsay saying his spinach was "watery" - to make it through.
In the betting, he is ahead of Nina, who made Venison and Bok Choy Dumplings in episode one.
She is out to +800, from +700 last week, the same price as corn-loving Grant, who made his MasterChef debut this week.
Before his creation had been critiqued, brewery sales director Grant revealed he had put some pressure on himself to succeed.
He said: "Look at me. I'm a big ol' boy. I'm corn-fed. I'm from Iowa. If I mess up a corn dish, I don't know if I can go back home."
While Grant's Roasted Corn Agnolotti with Lemon, Butter and Chives did enough to land him an apron, it wasn't all positive.
Bastianich pointed out a technical error, in which Grant broke the lemon with the butter, but fortunately the other three judges believed his creation was good enough to go through.
Sarah also received three yeses from the panelists for her Springfield Cashew Chicken.
But the social media manager is currently propping up the market at +1000 after some of the judges criticized her sauce, with Ramsay describing it as "so bland."
Next Wednesday's episode will see home cooks from the West take on one another in a bid to win one of those coveted white aprons.
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