MasterChef in tweets: That was a close one, huh?

Phew.

click to enlarge Can you spot Tampa's MasterChef contestant Jeff Philbin and his blue backwards hat? - Greg Gayne / FOX
Greg Gayne / FOX
Can you spot Tampa's MasterChef contestant Jeff Philbin and his blue backwards hat?

I'm pretty sure the best thing on the internet Wednesday evening was Twitter's #MasterChef hashtag. Producers of the FOX series obviously know what they're doing; the way they set up these moments toward the end of each episode is too good. Remember when Mark got sassy with a comment about the judges, or when the "safe" home cooks up in the balcony unanimously agreed that Jennifer should stay in the competition over Paige? Outrage! Unpopular opinions! And GIFs standing in for 140-character reactions ensued.

The cooking show is, at the end of the day, reality TV, so I totally get if it's not your thing. However, those of us who hang out in the hashtag every week will continue to geek out and, yeah, feed into the dramatics a bit regardless. That's why Twitter was the place to be last night if you tuned into MasterChef.

These episodes move so fast (and I have to take sips of wine once and a while, obviously) that I missed who added a tablespoon of black pepper to their scrambled eggs in the Elimination Test.

(Sidebar: The judges had the contestants ((everyone but Massachusetts music teacher Jason, who won the Mystery Box Challenge)) prepare the egg dish, one of the first judge Gordon Ramsay learned to perfect, after a quick "MasterClass" tutorial. The plates were critiqued and some people were saved, and then the judges challenged the bottom cooks — Jeff Philbin of Tampa included — to a scrambled eggs redo.)

But Aarón Sánchez, also one of the cheffy judges, helped me out with the pepper mishap I didn't catch. While judging someone's attempt at egg redemption (I forget whose), he says: "A lot of people underestimate how powerful black pepper is," which is fine. Until judge Christina Tosi approaches Miami nurse Heather's dish for tasting. Turns out, there's waaay too much black pepper — enough for Tosi to cough and cough on screen. The drama!







For the Bay area, this latest MasterChef episode was a close call. Local marketing director Philbin, who got a little emotional while talking about his family and gave Tampa an on-screen shout-out more than a few times, and his Spanish-inspired shellfish dish landed in the Mystery Box battle's top three. He dubbed the creation — sautéed mussels with chorizo, prawns and garlic — "a tribute to Tampa" and his son Holden.

Philbin didn't beat out Jason's Mystery Box plate, which meant he had to replicate Ramsay's scrambled eggs in the aforementioned Elimination Test. I was worried for a minute, since Philbin was among the six competitors who had to do an egg redo (it was our guy's last chance to cook his way into the safe zone, after all), but he pulled it off.

Following the episode, Sánchez summed up what audiences saw in a short-but-sweet tweet.

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