Ben Starr started off last night’s episode of MasterChef in a high — he won his first “mystery box” challenge, which gave him a leg-up in the elimination challenge: In re-creating one of host Gordon Ramsay’s signature dishes, he both chose the venison and was given the opportunity to ask Ramsay questions about how to prepare it.

Didn’t help. Starr virtually boiled the meat in a 200-degree butter broth, rather than slowly poaching it before a final seer. The resulting product was a gray mess that god Starr eliminated, finishing No. 5.

The nicest thing about the elimination was the sincere way Ramsay broke the news, saying he fully expected Starr to make it to the top 2, and commenting on his personal fondness for Starr.