‘MasterChef’ season 12 finale recap: Who won?

Tonight, the three remaining chefs rush against the clock to complete their finale entree and whip up a gourmet dessert with the help of former judge Christina Tosi. Then, a new champion is crowned in the “Finale Part 2 – Special Guest Christina Tosi” episode of “MasterChef” airing Wednesday, Sept. 14 (8:00-9:02 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Meet the Top 20 cooks competing in Season 12 returning

Season 12 of “MasterChef” is all about redemption, when All-Star competitors from the last 11 seasons return to the show to see if they have learned from their past mistakes. For the first time ever, “MasterChef” is re-opening the door to some of the most memorable and talented cooks in the competition’s history, including two “Junior Edition” cooks now competing as adults. Aaron Sanchez and Joe Bastianich join Gordon Ramsay on the judging panel.

The Season 12 finalists are “back to win” Christian Green, Dara Yu and Michael Silverstein.

SEE ‘MasterChef’ fans say Dara Yu should win season 12 [POLL RESULTS]

8:00 pm — Previously, on “MasterChef”! The Top 5 were faced with two separate elimination challenges in the semifinals: a Baked Alaska and one of Gordon’s signature dishes, an intricate lobster tortellini. Season 9 rivals Emily Hallock and Shanika Patterson were sent home in 5th and 4th place, respectively. Then Christian, Dara and Michael advanced to the finals and prepared an appetizer in front of a live audience with the support of former “MasterChef” judge Graham Elliot. Who will come out on top tonight? Let’s go!

8:06 pm — We pick up where we left off last week. The chef-testants have just 10 minutes left to finish their entrees. Michael hits a hiccup and Gordon has to talk him off the ledge. Dara has short ribs that are still in the pressure cooker. Meanwhile, Christian looks cool as a cucumber as he plates his steaks. With minutes to go Dara opens the pressure cooker and her ribs look like perfection. Everyone gets their food plated and it’s time for judgment.

8:08 pm — Michael kicks things off with a Chili Rubbed Loin of Lamb with Roasted Poblano Grit Cake, Corn Puree and Birria Jus. Graham notices that the lamb doesn’t look evenly seared all the way around. Gordon says the lamb is slightly overcooked and the grit cakes aren’t as crispy as they should be. Joe likes all the components, but the lamb is more of a medium cook than medium rare. Aaron says the overall flavor is pleasant. Graham calls it a delicious “flavor bomb.”

8:10pm — Dara brings forward her Chinese-Style Short Ribs with Japanese Sweet Potato, Spiced Carrots, Caramelized Onions and Carrot Top Gremolata. Gordon calls it aesthetically “beautiful.” The ribs pass Joe’s “pinch test” and tenderly pull apart in his fingers. Gordon says she took a big risk with the pressure cooker and it paid off. “You’re 20 years of age, but it tastes like there’s 20 years of cooking in here.” Aaron calls it “thought-provoking food” and Graham says it’s salty, but the sweet potato and carrots balance it out. Joe says he would serve it at his restaurant and eat it at any restaurant.

8:17 pm — It’s Christian’s turn last and he serves up his Cajun Rubbed Filet Mignon with Shrimp & Crab Cake, Sauteed Turnip Greens, Parsnip Puree and Tomato Cajun Cream Sauce. Visually it “looks beautiful,” says Gordon. Joe is skeptical if Christian got a medium rare cook on all four steaks. They cut into them and two out of four are “a little under.” Still, Gordon calls it “a really bold move,” but “there’s a technical problem.” He adds, “Flavor-wise, it’s fucking delicious.” Aaron loves the “big beautiful flavor” but he’s disappointed his steak is underdone. Joe likes the dish, but he says if they were served in his restaurant tonight, two would be returned to the kitchen.

8:25 pm — It is clear to me that Dara won that round. She had the highest praise in almost no critique. Can she keep this level up for the dessert round? It’s time to find out. The dessert round will be the final impression for the judges. To guide them through, Gordon introduces one of the country’s best pastry chefs and former “MasterChef” judge, Christina Tosi. Christina says dessert is crucial in this competition. As far as she’s concerned, it’s anyone’s competition to win or lose. Their 60 minutes starts now!

8:35 pm — Desserts may seem more simple than an entree, but they’re time consuming. Michael has elements that need to get into the freezer and time is ticking. Christian’s dessert sounds yummy to Aaron, but there seems to be concern that it’s too “straight forward.” Michael appears to be pouring way too much liquid nitrogen in his ice cream. The mad scientist has gone mad! Christina says, “That’s not a great recipe for a great dessert.” Yikes! He appears to be spiraling. Sometimes less is more. The ice cream looks chunky. Meanwhile, Joe says Christian’s dessert “seems a little too simple for me.” Gordon mentions that Dara is a great technician and it looks like she has the edge.

8:40 pm — Time has expired and it’s time for the chef-testants to serve dessert. It all comes down to this. Dara is first with her Vanilla Ile Flottante with Creme Anglaise, Tropical Fruit and Caramelized Forbidden Rice. I have never seen anything like this. It’s a beautiful plate. To eat it, the judges smash the top and dig in. Christina says it’s familiar, yet full of surprises. Gordon says it’s a little too sweet, but it has a “wow factor.” Aaron thinks it’s “well-seasoned.” Joe likes the textural contrast of the forbidden rice.

8:45 pm — Michael is next with his Tres Leches, Homemade Mango Ice-Cream, Deep Fried Milk, Cajeta “Goat’s Milk” Caramel and Tropical Fruit Salsa. Gordon calls it “visually” and the colors are great. Aaron is missing one of the fried milk squares on his plate. Michael admits he thought Aaron would be the most giving. Gordon gives him some advice, saying, “Just take one off of everyone’s plate. That way no one has missed anything.” The ice cream is delicious, but the fried milk could be less dense. Christina thinks, conceptually, it’s a beautiful dessert. The mango ice cream is the star and it’s clear that Michael knows great flavor. Joe compliments Michael on his dessert and calls it “a triumph.”

8:50 pm — Last up is Christian serving Dorothy’s Southern Banana Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce, Salted Pecans and Lemon Cookie. Gordon loves that Christian is holding on to his heritage. Christian breaks down and cries when speaking about his grandma Dorothy. Gordon calls the banana pudding “delicious,” but it’s not elevated enough. Christina says she wants to know more about Christian in the dish, but it’s a delicious dessert. Aaron calls it straightforward and honest, just like Christian. Joe says there are things he could do to make this dessert better, but it’s “good.”

8:55 pm — Gordon tells the final three they should be proud of themselves. Now that they’ve tasted everything, the judges must decide who made the best meal. Christina calls Dara’s flavor instincts the most impressive of the three. They don’t have much negative to say about her. If I were to bet, based on these critiques, the order is 1. Dara 2. Christian 3. Michael. But what are the final results?

9:00 pm — A decision has been made. Gordon calls it the most competitive year in the history of this competition. The winner of the “MasterChef” trophy and $250,000 is Dara! At age 20, she becomes the youngest “MasterChef” winner in the show’s history.