RELEASE THE GALETTI!
He really had the worst skills test, I mean he made a béchamel sauce that could be rolled into balls. Basically he made play-doh stuffed pasta and it was no surprise that Marcus spat it out as soon as he could. It didn’t really get much better with a deconstructed Goan curry (because white people haven’t deconstructed Indian culture enough apparently) that looked pretty appetising but ultimately tasted a little weak sauce. And Gregg managed to find the one-minute piece of crabshell.
The first chef to wade into Marcus’ deceptive skills test of “Make a chicken sandwich because Monica and I just did a doobie by the bins and are FAMISHED!”. They also had to butcher and portion up a chicken which John very quickly reduced to something that Tracey Emin would probably put in the Tate Modern. His sandwich didn’t fair much better and Marcus and Monica were pretty much gunning to send him home no matter what he did in the next round so when he produced a plate of entrees being served up by the prissiest waiter it was no surprise he was binned.
Marcus was rather horrified by Mark’s methods of filleting a sole and then in an even more bizarre twist decided that Mark was the worst thing a chef could be when he dared to serve a pan fried garnish with a piece of poached fish. OH THE HORROR. Monica was slightly easier on him, but I think that has more to do with the fact she and Mark appear to have traded eyebrows. Gregg truly believed Mark knew what he was doing as a chef and had high hopes for him in the signature round. These hopes were misplaced as somehow Mark managed to overcook a salmon tartare – which is certainly an achievement of sorts.
Heritier certainly had the most uncomfortable skills test. The moment Monica told him he’d have to get the oysters out of a chicken his face just dropped and he spent the rest of the test channeling some real Eeyore Realness. This wasn’t helped by Gregg then saying that Heritier was probably having trouble locating the oysters because “You’re foreign and probably call them something else.”. Gregg’s complete lack of timing and inability to read a room is on a level with Tess Daly. Heritier eventually managed to plate up something rather substandard. His butchery woes continued into the second round as Monica found his treatment of a duck to be “extremely upsetting”.
It doesn’t bode well for a chef when 10 seconds into a challenge to make scotch eggs they suddenly just stop and look bug-eyed at a punnet of quail eggs while they idly paw at a bowl of mince. So it was no surprise really that Richard was eliminated because his idea of redemption was a bouillabaisse with lemon curd.
Manic. Frantic. Constantly twitching. And that was just Josh’s eyebrows! I loved Josh purely for the moment he turned to Marcus after being given his hanger steak and said “There’s this massive bit of sinew in the middle!” as though they had set him up to fail and that’s not just what a hanger steak actually is. In the end he managed to create something that was at least edible, as long as you didn’t look at it for too long.
Continuing his erratic behaviour Josh obviously had too ideas for a signature dish and his indecisiveness clearly led him to believe he could just combine both dishes. He was wrong as pecorino stuffed ravioli and lamb don’t really marry together is even the remotest sense.
Suffering one of the best brain farts of the series when for reasons only known to himself he decided to lather his broccoli in honey just before serving it Ben was pretty much dead in the water. He went on to secure his fate with an “offal infused croquette” and we all know how much Monica loves a croquette. Unfortunately Ben found out the hard way that maybe offal doesn’t “infuse” and his croquette became nothing more than a potato-y lie.
Well Chris might as well not have even come in for the second round because Monica literally said “Your puree is gross” and there was no coming back from that. And she was not going to forgive him for serving two slivers of lamb and a discus of celeriac. Michelin Stars killed portion sizes.
I think it’s safe to say that Monica’s Deep Fried Squid Shit was pretty much a disaster all round but for none more so than Jess who really ought to send a handwritten apology and a fruit basket to the squid community for mutilating their poor brethren – watching her hack through the quill was uncomfortable, although a testament to her strength because she an deadlift 100 kilos which was almost a definitely threat to dropping Gregg into a suplex. Which I’m sure she was quite tempted to do after Gregg refused to touch her grey ring but was happy to chow down on Monica’s carbonised polecat shit.
Jess then had A LOT of ground to make up in the second half which she attempted to do with a nice bit of Welsh wagyu beef which I don’t think we have ever seen cooked to perfection on this show but apparently MY GOD JESS HAS BROKEN THE SPELL! However the piece of beef was grim and had a massive bit of fat in the middle – to which Jess reacts with utter disinterest and totally resignation to the fact she is going home because her madeira sauce contained no discernible trace of madeira.
Strutting around like Beyonce in a wind machine – I had high hopes for Carla. Unfortunately in her skills test of making “Broccoli 3 Ways” she got halfway through her third component and realised it had no broccoli in it. Her solution to this? “My third component is raw”. Ingenious. As you can imagine the whole thing ended up looking like the bottom of a student’s vegetable chiller. Combine hat with a lacklustre lamb dish in the next round and Carla was not the Culinary Goddess we needed her to be. She still has great hair though.
The challenge was to serve up a piece of hanger steak and a pitta bread with some chimichurri sauce. Matt however had other plans and decided the challenge was to serve up a kebab. This didn’t go down too well with Monica, especially as for some ungodly reason he added butter to his sauce…? You do have to somewhat admire his courage in the face of adversity. Matt’s only chance of redemption was proving he could make something that doesn’t look like it could come from Kebabish and my God did he try with his halibut and scallops it wasn’t meant to be however as he overcooked everything and struggled to make it taste of anything
Making questionable decisions from the get go what with his goatee and wilting his lettuce leaves which made for a fresh sandwich that looked like the one that sat in the bottom of your bag for an entire morning in a train with air conditioning. His skills test was ever so slightly better – his plate was elegant, albeit slightly burnt, but just so unaccomplished. It was cod and green veg with a very unappealing veloute. Oh well, at least Luke can go back to his real job as a street magician and fedora collector.
With her perfectly swooped Hitler Youth combover I was ready for Marika to gut the gurnard with military precision. However it took only 15 seconds for her to end up cutting herself and bringing the whole skills test to a standstill as she was treated by the medical team. Her signature test wasn’t much better with her coffee roasted venison (which I believe is called a Starbucks) and yet SOMEHOW she progressed onwards despite the judges slating it.
It didn’t last long, (although for some reason in the next episode they had decided to entirely revise their opinions on Marika’s coffee venison with chocolate sauce) because in a test to showcase the uses of coconut Marika made a dish that didn’t taste of coconut and was very overcooked.
First of all – shout out to Jacqueline’s superb shade of lipstick, she’s at least winning on that front Unfortunately this doesn’t help you make a Baked Alaska and hers suffered all of the expected problems with the ice cream centre melting, the meringue not setting and then burning. Although she made no promises of it turning out well when Marcus asked her if she had ever made meringue before and she just laughed in his face. And then following a sup-par signature round involving raw scallops and a hollandaise that looked like it was made several years ago we had to bid farewell to Jacqueline so we’ll never know if she has as extensive a range of lipstick as Candice Brown.
First into the kitchen and set a pretty good benchmark for the chefs as he managed to properly prepare his squid and a decent mayonnaise. Granted the batter was too thin and his squid could have gone in for a touch longer so I had him down as pretty much safe to the next round. Then we found out the next skills test was to cook cauliflower and blitz some nuts… So poor Bombur found himself in a precarious position come the signature test in which he decided to make a rabbit sausage which he was very concerned would dry out and in over compensating this Gregg ended up cutting open a capsule of salmonella as the rolled liver in the middle was raw. Hey, points for at least TRYING to get rid of Gregg.
Well he has been found. Unfortunately, he has gone back into hiding after a mild disaster of a skills test in which he very nearly made French meringue for his Baked Alaska, he did correct it though but then burnt it and it all ended up looking like something you might find in the ocean. In a bit to redeem himself he decided to construct a dish of so many disparate parts (including an arancini, monkfish and a ginger beurre blanc) that I think the judges had to sit down due to whiplash and to limit the possibilities of being killed in any future challenges he was sent home.
First of all: congratulations for being the only person to know what Marcus’ mythical Polonaise Sauce was. Second of all: commiserations for presenting the final dish as an egg landslide. Presentation seemed to be Chris’ biggest hurdle, with the aforementioned egg disaster being followed by The Beach At Low Tide. His flavours were perfectly good but in the Chris was just a bit dull and ultimately that’s the worst thing you could be on a TV cooking competition.
Simon did some pretty awful things to a pineapple that Marcus did not appreciate – and I’m sure the pineapple was pretty pissed off about it too. He then divided the judges on his turbot and courgette dish which I personally thought looked a bit of a state but Monica was convinced it was ~ART~. And because so many people were mildly more boring or unambitious than Simon he went on to have to invent an egg dish in which he went for the bog standard scotch egg and it was Simon’s turn to be axed because “his dish lacked a central egg idea.” So, it just wasn’t an oeuf?
He can at least rest safe in the knowledge that he made the best Baked Alaska, although this is faint praise when your direct competitors A) don’t understand the thermodynamics of ice cream and B) get confused between Italian and French meringue. This was kind of a pattern to David’s advancement through the series – there was always just someone who was a scooch worse than he was – his mackerel and tomatoes was painfully simple and then his potato dish that looked like Barney the Dinosaur has been crushed in a landslide was obscene but it was truly The Critics’ Chamber where he fell to pieces, failing to serve anything on time and without the polish or oomph it needed.
Well if the chef thing doesn’t work out Susan, who looks slightly like Ulrika Jonsson if you squint, certainly could forge a career as a pineapple carver. Her only real sin was for cooking too blandly – a plate of baby leeks and asparagus with a smidge of turbot really isn’t going to cut it. I did appreciate her very curt and passive aggressive “thank you” every time Gregg reminded her how long she had left.
Riding on high from his scotch egg challenge, having been praised for his forward thinking approach to ensure flavours were correct and disasters were averted Jake was an easy pick for advancing to the critics chamber and then…. He burned the fucking pig cheeks and had to reconvene his dish. Unfortunately this resulted in wrapping puree in celeriac and calling it a cannelloni which… No. The judges praised his fighting spirit but ultimately his sub-Bisto standard gravy sent him home.
Just absolutely not. Every time he came onscreen I had a moment of panic because I was convinced his lightning bolt tattoos ON HIS FACE were allusions to the SS Bolts and that he was an unabashed white supremacist. That or he killed an electrician in prison. I hadn’t expected him to even make it past his first episode when he reduced a sole to ribbons and then deigned to use seaweed powder (I blame Gwyneth Paltrow entirely) but there’s always a need for an ~edgy~ chef and he sailed through. He was then thankfully sunk by the SS Spud and he and his tattoos shall never be mentioned again.
Managing to shuck his oysters in 30 seconds, an apparent feat of fishmongery, and producing a pretty good plate of Oysters Rockerfeller, albeit with breadcrumbs that were more like crutons, he was doing pretty well. However in the next round for reasons only known unto himself he decided to serve up a plate of cuttlefish that was so ferociously pickeld that Gregg just about turned inside out. It also didn’t help that his dish ended up looking like a Mr. Blobby birthday cake but whatever: he can shuck my oysters any time.
I’m not even entirely sure Maxim knew where he was, and I became rather worried it was a hostage situation and if we looked carefully enough we would see he had written “Help Me!” in his gravy. Having done pretty well in Monica’s agnolotti test and being praised for his knack with pasta, it came to bite him on the ass in The Vanilla Experiment when he failed to successfully make pasta not once but twice and ended up serving blobs of tortellini filling and unfortunately this resulted in his and William’s budding bromance to be cut short. </3
Looking like Richard Madden Lite I had high hopes for Darren (YES THE BODYGUARD THIRST IS STILL GOING SHUT UP). These were promptly shattered when he decided that mayonnaise should be the colour of 70s lounge wallpaper because mixing saffron and black curry powder was never going to result in anything pleasant to look at. But he actually managed to properly prepare a squid. He continued to show his fish skills in the second round and opted to cook salmon with pickled vegetables and a whisky and orange sauce. Marcus was particularly worried about the pairing of salmon and whisky, which yes fair enough BUT ALSO THE ORANGE. Lemon and limes are the only acceptable fruit pairings with fish and I will hear nothing else on the subject. Darren is also still going through his Everything On One Side of the Plate Phase, bless his little cotton socks. Ultimately his vegetables were too sharp and his salmon was cooked like Two Face from Batman. But the sauce was apparently the best bit of the dish which is so damning with faint praise and Darren knew it.
Well he didn’t last in this competition but with his dead nan that was mentioned FIFTEEN TIMES IN ONE EPISODE he would have aced The X-Factor. Christopher Maloney who? He did manage to somewhat put together his plate of Oysters Rockerfeller, the ingredients were all there just not necessarily in the right order. His biggest sin, in my eyes at least, was the fact for the next round he decided to serve his roasted loin of lamb with steamed baby courgette and raw tomatoes. IN WHAT WORLD? Although the judges seemed to have no issue with this and instead picked apart his aubergine puree and garlic salsa verde which are a whole other can of worms in themselves. BUT THE RAW TOMATOES GUYS?
The amount of footage they took of Max just sawing through dead lambs was quite something – it was like he was an extra in Game of Thrones. It was a pity then that he came up against challenges that required a level of delicacy and refinement that I don’t think he particularly cares for. His skills test was a bit of a disaster as he had to abandon a burst raviolo to sort of limply bob around his pan. The ones that survived weren’t much better. But his signature venison dish managed to claw him a place into the next episode where he was slightly stumped by eggs and for some reason paired a scotch egg with apple sauce and burnt corn.
He didn’t really make much of a mark on the show – the only thing I really remember about him was the moment he tossed his nuts at Monica but hey he was certainly handsome, even if his ears were halfway down his neck ala Mr. Crocker from Fairly Odd Parents. He made it to the second episode though he attempted to make a coconut pearl barley rice pudding which, first of all RICE PUDDING IS GROSS, and second of all he failed to cook properly and Marcus may have broken a tooth.
Criticised for being a bit basic in his cooking of the monkfish Keelan decided to really push the boat out by inexplicably pairing scallops and chorizo with pineapple. Unsurprisingly this was met with a bit of contempt – mainly for the fact he seemed to have used half a pineapple and Keelan was doomed from the moment Monica said “I like that you *challenging* us with your flavours” which is always code for “Fucking hell, is your tongue broken?”
Gavin was a mystery box of a chef. You never knew quite what you’d get what with him violently swinging between fine dining and utter car crash. His skills test was very much the latter when instead of grating his poached egg into the sauce he kind of just dropped it inelegantly on the plate and drizzled the dressing over it. In previous groups this would have pretty much sent him packing but he pulled out an utterly amazing signature dish (depending on how you feel about black plates). However come the Vanilla Experiment and he was back to his former nonsense with a mackerel fillet forlornly lying in a puddle of vanilla and tomato water and yet somehow Geanna and Maxim were terrible enough for this nightmare to continue. Gavin then went on to spend the Critics’ Chamber running around so frantically I wasn’t sure if he was cooking or playing Ninja Warrior. Serving everything up so late that Marcus just about had to manhandle the unpodded peas out of his hands. He might as well not have even bothered to serve his dessert of a matcha tea MILF OI! But he did and it… was not great.
Managing to get in trouble with Monica in his first round for jiggling too much much and rinsing his oysters in her face I was surprised she let him get through the first episode – but apparently cheesey custard is the way to Monica’s heart. I’m still concerned. But I’m glad he made it through because he excelled in his egg challenge and baked a perfect peach and frangipane tart. Even he seemed bemused and spent the rest of the episode looking like an anxiety ridden Zorg which lead him to make some silly mistakes for the critics, including turning out a freshly baked and very delicate chocolate fondant tart INTO A TEA TOWEL. Monica very nearly tackled him to the ground.
I enjoyed Callum for the most part, he was always chatty which always makes for a good TV contestant. It was however unfortunate that he seemed unable to cook a piece of lamb but DAMN he could barigoule the shit out of an artichoke (no I have no idea either). His efforts with coconut were also kind of weak sauce but he made it to the critics’ chamber where for pudding I am still convinced he served up a BabyBel cheese. It was his uses of mooli however that were truly baffling as by his own admittance he doesn’t like the stuff and so I’m convinced he was just trying to punish William Sitwell. Which is as noble a cause as any I suppose and a hill worth dying on. Who knew Callum would be the martyr of the series?
I fully believe that Ross was in actual fact applying for Junior Masterchef but wrote 31 instead of 13 on his application form, was too embarrassed to tell anyone about the mistake and just ran with it. He then promptly went on to butcher a gurnard is such away that I’m surprised it could air before the watershed. Who hurt you Ross? Ross’ predilection for unusual butchery techniques and frankencooking continued in the signature challenge as he decided to stuff a quail so tightly with its own legs that really the show had no choice but to get rid of him unless he decided to create a Turducken. Although I honestly believe he should have made it to the critics.
Sweet Baby Angel Mohan.
I am almost entirely sure that Mohan has now legally been adopted by Marcus Waring – did you see the love in his eyes after Mohan managed to make a passable Mythical Polonaise Sauce? True love. And it didn’t stop there with their love blossoming. And I would also like to commend Mohan for in a round where they had to showcase vanilla he did it correctly (I will never accept vanilla and potato or vanilla and seafood as an acceptable pairing) and made a pudding – and quite the pudding it was – I love a man who can serve up a 6 person tart for 2 people. What I’m saying is you can trust Mohan as a chef. He wasn’t one for fiddly trends and micro herbs plated up with tweezers and for that I am eternally grateful.
We can chalk this up as another injustice of the series – after having possibly the most successful skills test of the series in which she made perfect sausage meat stuffed ravioli with 3 minutes still left on the clock and Marcus and Monica basically adopting her. I truly thought Tara had ensured a pass to the critic’s chamber. However in the signature dish round she decided to show off her pastry skills and fell fowl to the fact you just don’t fuck with a crumble if you’re feeding Gregg. HAVE YOU NEVER SEEN THIS SHOW? And because her rhubarb and erroneous mango crumble was all too soft and Tara was binned over a man who topped cauliflower with a cheese custard.
All hail our Off Brand Villanelle! 1 of 2 chefs to make a dessert during The Vanilla Experiment and yet was eliminated. It was another case of it being made doubly annoying because of how badly Gavin went on to balls up the Critics’ Chamber and she had shown such promise: acing her agnolotti skills test and creating a lamb bonbon that made Monica blush. I’m not sure it’s on the Ian levels of injustice but I certainly think she was eliminated too soon.
Well he can monger the Hell out of a monkfish tail and make a beignet that almost reduced Jay Rayner to tears but it’s probably for the best that Mark got eliminated because at least now he can concentrate on writing his GCSEs. He was very good though and I liked that he was at least willing to take risks, if I see one more person making a pea puree I might scream, and he in a desperate attempt to redeem himself for his rabbit stuffed with offal and a kiev tortellini, which just sounds impossible. he decided to deep fry rice pudding which he gleefully told Monica “I’ve never done this before”. And it kind of showed because they did end up looking like The Coneheads.
Sailing through the first 2 rounds and producing what might be the most professional and appetising looking dish of the entire series I had Ian as an obvious shout for the finals. It was then rather devastating that he was undone by the humble potato when he attempted to make a potato risotto (which is not a thing and will never be a thing so stop it) that would have been perfect had he had two more minutes and because of this error of time management he was eliminated. What made this all the more bitter was that in the critics round following this both David and Elisabeth had MASSIVE timing issues and plated up 5 minutes late. Never has there been a chef more deserving of a wildcard redemption arc because HE WAS ROBBED.
Well ladies, it’s really not worth reconstructing your cherry. Her reconstructed cherry mousse bombe could have been one of the dishes of the series and yet as soon as her mousse curdled and Monica delivered a to-camera bit about it that was clearly recorded at the end of the day for narrative purposes that we knew Elisabeth was doomed. It didn’t really help that no one else had really messed up at all.
Elisabeth came on to the show with quite the bang with her very en vogue French assassin accent (I am all for a Geanna and Elisabeth double act culinary assassin drama – it’s called Assassin Eat). And boy did she do her best to kill one of the judges with her suspiciously raw scotch egg mince. I love a woman who is out to kill. But she also had one of the more refined senses of presentation – her dishes were never cluttered or too sparse – a trait I fully believe is from her training in pastry and I found it admirable that she came on as a pastry chef and proceeded to mainly cook savoury dishes – although I would have been intrigued to see if she could make a dessert out of a potato but I would have also hated her for trying it. It’s a real Catch 22.
The Last Woman Standing as the show made VERY clear. Guys, you probably shouldn’t be proud of the fact that out of 48 chefs only 8 were women and only 2 made it beyond the quarter finals. Michelle had quite a few close calls – most notably being her judges’ chamber round when she managed to serve a panna cotta that was somehow simultaneously rock hard and yet a puddle. She also suffered from the pigeonholing that comes with being a non-white chef with Caribbean heritage so f she didn’t produce a dish that was packed with ~exotic~ flavours Gregg was immediately disappointed and dismissive – to which she responded by leaving a whole jug of scotch bonnets out on the counter in the next round in a passive aggressive power move that Cersei Lannister would be proud of. But Michelle also pulled it out when she needed to – her knockout round redemption dish of a free standing crème brulee is up there with Alex’s Magic Ice Cream Souffle.
HE HID ICE CREAM IN THE MIDDLE OF A SOUFFLE. The man is a wizard, and quite possibly a Weasley. Or The Ancient One. Or a child inventor. Or controlled by a culinary genius rat. What I am trying to say is somehow Alex managed to look like a lot of people. In a series with a lot of soufflés he played such a blinding trump card that everyone that followed kind of seemed mildly unimpressive. Like sure, you made a soufflé BUT IS THERE ICE CREAM IN THE MIDDLE? I’m sorry, I’m really hung up on the ice cream soufflé. He did do other things including a pigeon dish that included a pastry cigar full of pigeon and duck meat. I think it was unfortunate he found himself in a group of such strong chefs because he had done so well throughout the competition it was sad to see him go on his first and only real misstep – which was quite a misstep because he literally made duck and rice krispies.
Say hello to Masterchef’s first attempt at A Villain Narrative, which is a weird choice given Gregg is a judge, Marcus’ jawline and Monica’s hair and eyebrow combination. Dean had very definite views on food – one of which was DESSERT CHOULD ALWAYS HAVE CHOCOLATE – which caused a mild friction between him and Sean during the charity dinner round. Although after a trip to Paul Ainsworth and Sophie-Anne Pic’s restaurants he did slowly his heart did grow 10 sizes and his final dessert didn’t even use chocolate. At some point between the charity gala dinner and the chef’s table round Dean developed quite the love affair with seaweed – to the point where he got very excited by the fact Sophie-Anne Pic had TEN WHOLE VARIETIES! And he did do very clever things with food, albeit he was no Spud Magician, but he had his moments – his tapioca dessert and his steak and Rice Krispies that the judges really loved being his main standouts. But although Dean was certainly one of the more technically competent chefs of the whole competition (we’ll ignore the poppy seed cheesecake fiasco) he was VERY stressful to watch and every time he stepped in into a professional kitchen he slowly went through the entire Dulux range of red as he ran around in a state of pure anxiety and confusion – but he always got his dish out on time and in very good condition.
Luke and Luke’s Beard
I really liked Luke – I found his approach to food and flavours to be unique and interesting and his food was always something I would order at a restaurant – those crispy lobster wantons? IN MY FACE NOW. He never truly messed up and in fact I think has some of the stand out dishes of the series – his reconstructed cherry dessert (which he made just to troll Elisabeth) was spectacular and so polished. He did occasionally run into trouble and had to go through a couple of redemption rounds – but I feel he was always the chef that just missed out on getting through and was never really in any danger of being sent home until he found himself in an automatic cookoff against golden boys Oli and Matthew.
Official Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, Sean
First of all I want to get to the bottom of why so many chefs have 3 starts tattooed on their forearms – is it an aspiration of Michelin Stars? Their TripAdvisor rating? A brand earned at catering college? But given Sean’s ~artistic~ tendencies they probably have a very deep meaning. At the point of creating his dish of a pigeon foot clutching a poem that I am almost certain a wrote I thought Sean was the one to beat or at least a certain for the finals. But in the semi finals he just became a tad undone upon his decision to make the South African dish “Babotie” – which I have tried on many an occasion and it is quite frankly vile. Things didn’t get much better from there as he entered Paul Ainsworth’s restaurant where he cooked a tart that looked like it had been caught mid shampooing and then used this as inspiration for a salmon and apple dish followed by a white chocolate and lime parfait which as far as flavour combinations go fill me with severe anxiety. But he was one for unusual flavours – his dessert for the physicians being elderflower poached pear with star anise and fennel seed panna cotta which concerned Dean so much that he tried to interfere and make Sean put chocolate on it. It then got very awkward as Sean rolled his eyes and Dean huffed in the corner for a bit. Chefs.
Heartbroken. I don’t think there will be a more upsetting moment that seeing one of the contestants who has routinely been amongst the top 3 chefs of the competition getting eliminated because of a dish that was just spirallized apple and “soft set cream” which is a very kind way of describing a Disaster Mousse. And what’s worse I puddings have been William’s game – his judges’ chamber offering of chocolate mousse with apple discs (William loved bedecking his desserts with garnishes that look like they could be used to detect alien life) was certainly dish of the day and then his cherry and dark rum crémeux that he served for the lifeboat charity (who he proceeded to call pirates hence the use of rum) was a standout. Who knew he could deliver so much when our introduction to him involved him failing to make a chicken sandwich?
PLOT TWIST. From his critics’ chamber round I genuinely thought Matthew had it in the bag – he was literally the apple of Marcus’ eye and could seemingly do no wrong – Hell after his success at the Chefs Table I thought he could have just spent the next few rounds ordering in McDonald’s and still win. And maybe that would have served him better because serving his food up in a giant clam shell that looked like it may once have been a B&Q water feature certainly did him no flavours nor did his decision to accompany his dish with the sound of an angry flock of seagulls. However if Matthew stood out for anything it was the things he could do to potatoes – spending the first few rounds repeatedly making little potato billows, pulling off a plethora of fondant potatoes and then his galette potato that even managed to silence even Galton Blackiston. Truly Matthew is The Untouchable Spud King. And at only 23 years old – because if you didn’t know he is only 23.
All hail our beautiful Ostrich Faced Winner – and I mean that will all sincerity. I think Laurence was definitely the most consistent throughout – I don’t remember him ever having a disaster and never really making anything that I wouldn’t personally be at least interested in eating – he did have a near disaster with a parfait that didn’t set and exploded from the mould like some sort of medical mystery but his quick thinking and the fact he found dry ice just lying around the kitchen (he was absolutely given it by the producers – why they went with his ~it was just lying around~ narrative I don’t know.) Although it did result in the glorious image of him galloping through the kitchen like a gazelle with a tray of rapidly thawing mousses. I was a little disappointed in parts of his final dinner menu – his starter was absolutely just a cribbed version of Anne-Sophie Pic’s starter but with scallops (because it’s Masterchef and no one had cooked scallops for at least 3 episodes). But his dessert of aerated white chocolate certainly sealed him a victory over Oli and I hope he celebrates his win by bringing back his early 2000s frosted tips – I’m sure Monica could hook him up for a dye job.
By the end of it all I wanted Oli to win, I eventually got over the fact he had served cauliflower topped with cheese custard at one point – everyone has a bad day. What was so charming about Oli was both the fact he frequently sounded like he wasn’t quite sure where he was but it was mainly his earnest belief in his foraged ingredients that I am at least 40% sure he just dug out of the studio garden and gave ridiculous names – I refuse to believe Cock Mint is actually a thing. I did think that Oli would win – he out of all the chef’s was the most ~on trend~ with his championing of unusual foraged ingredients – his showcasing of fig leaves that taste of coconut will be seen a fair bit from here on out I am sure. What I hope doesn’t catch on is the use of tomatoes in a dessert (I’m having enough problems with adjusting to strawberries being used in main course. CAN THINGS JUST STAY IN THEIR LANES.) – I mean the dish was a pudding inspired by spaghetti and I was a little disappointed that he didn’t just put pasta in custard and dare them to eat it.