By Joe Bastianich
June 27, 2012 04:00 PM
Michael Lavine/FOX

The remaining 13 MasterChef constants seem to have found their groove, and over the last few days of the competition, the level of cookery greatly surpassed that of what we experienced on audition day.

Which is why it is so hard to accept the inexcusable plates we judges were served during last night’s dessert challenge. Macadamia nuts in tiramisu? David turning Mascarpone into glorified cream cheese?

Plate after plate of badly-executed food made me wonder if our home cooks had taken a step backwards – and on a challenge not particularly high in difficulty. They all should have nailed this one.

For me, the real low point was Becky. She had been so consistently stellar up until this point. Her poor choice in flavors on the trifle indicated one thing: she was trying to show off, a classic foul that can happen when you let your ego take over. She has a good palate; she knows better.

I did not see Tanya’s win coming, and neither did she! Truthfully, my opinion of her was that she kind of slid into the competition with a lucky plate and was benefiting from other people’s disasters – coasting by, if you will. But the steak she put forth was exceptional, and that completely throws me, as now I don’t know what to think of her.

In the MasterChef pantry, her strategy was not quite as ruthless as Ryan’s, but she is still competitor and certainly thought things through. For the most part, she gave the strongest home cooks the most difficult desserts to execute, and split them up in a way that would increase the likelihood that one of the top performers would be knocked out.

It was a good move, and it almost paid off with Becky’s close call. She struggled a bit with what to give Christine, and it was clear she gave Scott the shortcake because she didn’t really see him as a threat to begin with. Her choice to give Frankie, aka “Mr. Italy,” the tiramisu is a bit questionable, but I’ll let her off the hook on that one.

Although Scott’s cooking failed to impress throughout the competition, his gracious exit certainly did. Humble and appreciative, he left us on a high note, and set a great example of what the other home cooks should take away from this competition. Graham, Gordon and I truly wish him the best.

Next week, we tackle the world of Food Trucks in LA! Tune in next Monday at 9pm ET on FOX.