MasterChef The Professionals Recap: a Tiny Raviolo Hat

And here we see a perfectly executed Monica Galetti Side Eye. It’s 10s across the board.

It seems appropriate to close out The Heats with a veritable array and flavour of chaos and bad luck – I will however miss Monica sitting in the pantry getting excited about honeycomb.

Monica’s John Dory with Parsley Puree and Garlic Cream

The penultimate Skills Test of the series is for the chefs to fillet a John Dory – a fish that looks in desperate need of an exorcism despite being known as Saint Peter’s Fish

Why is it that the uglier the fish, the better they allegedly taste?
I have to admit I did find Monica demonstrating how they should do the skills test to be very funny because of the fact the fish’s lifeless body was just sitting there, its mouth slightly agape in horror as it watched her make the sauce it was about to be served with

Even a demon fish doesn’t deserve that!

They appear to have finally learned from past mistakes and have certainly started giving the more specialised Skills Tests to chefs with some experience in the field – can you imagine the chefs who could barely make a sabayon trying to fillet a John Dory? There would be a legal enquiry on behalf of The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers – a guild that actually exists.

Despite both chefs having worked with John Dory before (this is just going to sound like I’m talking about them butchering one of their co-workers isn’t it?) this could not have been a more disparate display of techniques. On one hand we had Jamaar just being the coolest, calmest contestant we’ve seen all series as he deftly fillets the John Dory and pan fries it to perfection, his one mistake is that his parsley puree was too coarse

But even with that the judges heap praise on him and he gets adorably embarrassed

I wouldn’t blame him if he decided to just cook John Dory for the rest of the competition.

And then came the whirlwind of unbridled chaos and The Terror of The Seven Seas that was our Pirate Queen Dalila

“I love working with fish. Growing up we had fresh fish every day. I’ve known it all my life!” she exclaimed with glee in her introductory VT – oh you sweet summer child. She obviously sorely underestimated the pressure of cooking in a TV environment and she slips into making a lot of very small mistakes – she leaves a lot of meat on the fish, she fails to cook her parsley enough and her knife skills are as nerve jangling as Mary Berry’s

Her biggest crime is that she begins frying the fillets in a pan that is much too hot so it ends up sticking to the pan and she tears the fish to ribbons

The garlic cream sauce, which by her measurements is more of a Butter and Cream Sauce

somehow manage to horrify even Marcus Wareing who, need I remind you, made a potato rosti using at least 3 cow’s worth of butter

There is certainly no praise lavished upon on Dalila about I hope someone got her a shot of whiskey.

Marcus’s Poached Figs, Flavoured Cream™ and Honeycomb

Rounding off our Skills Tests is Marcus who wants his unsuspecting victims to make him some poached figs with honeycomb and a flavoured cream – the flavours they have to choose from are cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg and both chefs just put all of them in the cream so Marcus might as well have just told them to make a Festive Whipped Cream.

Kicking off the round was events caterer to the rich and royal, Paul who flew through the round at a rate of knots and finished with 5 minutes to spare. He might have wanted to just slow down and think a little bit because he burnt his honeycomb and then overcooked his figs in his syrup and poured them out like they were the water-logged corpses of long lost cave divers

Despite the massive bottles of port and red wine in front of him (as well as Marcus just about holding a giant Looney Tunes sign reading “GIVE ME PORT!”) Paul went for a teetotal poaching liquid which disappointed Marcus immeasurably – and he just about throws a tantrum about it.

Marcus did eventually get his Port-poached Figs from Harry, our final chef of the competition! Harry had a unique way of doing his figs – he started by caramelising them and then pouring the port over them and was very confused as to why his figs had suddenly stuck to the bottom of the pan. Who among us could have predicted that rapidly cooled caramel would stick things to the bottom of a pan?
Harry also slightly overdid his honeycomb, he admitted himself that puddings are not his strong point, but he did make a very round sheet of honeycomb

and I was slightly disappointed that he didn’t serve it like a giant, absurd dessert pizza

His figs were a touch overdone because he quartered them but his presentation is good but it doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of Marcus’s hatching alien egg

Where Paul’s figs were much too sweet, Harry’s lacked sweetness so I think we’re ok to call this round a draw?

Signature Menus

This round didn’t bode well for Dalila because this is what she looked like after only running the tap

And it’s only downhill from there as while she is making her Prawn, Lobster and Seabass Ravioli Monica opines to camera that she hopes Dalila isn’t going to puree all of the beautiful fish together and then we rudely cut to Dalila pureeing all of her piscine victims together:

She really has it in for marine life doesn’t she?
Dalila rapidly runs out of time and in about 3 minutes both shoves her fish pulp into pasta and chucks it into boiling water like a murderer hiding evidence in a binbag that they’ll throw into the ocean. Not even her lobster bisque can really save the pasta that is so bad I’m not sure her grandmother is going to talk to her ever again

God bless the rapidly wilting flowers and dried fish skin being thrown on top like the world’s worst graveside bouquet. The base of a very good dish is there – it’s just that Dalila’s chaotic evil alignment does not work for television cookery.
She claws back some points with her Lemon Polenta Cake with Pistachio Mascarpone and a Lemon Syrup

The cake is a bit sunken in the middle but the dish has a good play of textures and the flavours are well balanced so at least Dalila can cling to some rock of hope while her MasterChef dreams sink before her very eyes.

She wasn’t the only one suffering from timing issues as Jamaar ends up sacrificing several components of his two dishes. His main is a Dover Sole with a Tiny Dover Sole Raviolo Hat and Braised Fennel with a Mussel Veloute

The veloute never comes into being because he was spending far too much time trying to delicately get the dover sole off the bone that he cooked it on so while the judges appreciate his complex and difficult processes, the missing veloute is hard to overlook.

His dessert however goes down incredibly well with the judges and I think leaving the Milk Sorbet off of his Guillotined Chocolate Cremeux and Raspberry Aerated Chocolate dessert actually did him a world of good

What even is milk sorbet? When does a sorbet become an ice cream? Is it just a posh Mini Milk? It turns out however that he had actually made the glorified mini milk and had it sitting in the freezer waiting to go which as I’ve said before greatly annoys me. JUST LET HIM PUT IT ON THE PLATE GUYS, IT’S 2020, EVERYONE HAS SUFFERED ENOUGH.

Harry’s main course of Beef Sirloin with Celeriac Puree and a Madeira Jus was meant to be served with a Pommes Maxim that sadly never turned out well enough to serve but it wasn’t the only thing missing from his plate as his steak started out thusly:

and ended like this:

Mate, where’s the other four fifths of it? Did you snaffle it for dinner that night? A little snack on the tube home? Did you use it to bribe the cameraperson to not show how disastrous your Pommes Maxims were?
At the end of the day it was just a very schmuck dish of steak and veg so Harry really needed to pull out all the stops for his dessert which started life like some sort of makeshift model udder

That’s too close in colour to human flesh for my liking which is probably why he made the decision to cover it in a white chocolate coating:

But now it just looks like some sort of leech-like lifeform that’s spent its entire existence living in cave systems and has never known the warm caress of the sun. Its pigmentally challenged appearance did belie the power of the strawberry flavour within, or at least in Gregg’s opinion because Marcus came along, still bitter about Harry stealing most of the steak for himself, and declared it “lacking but fine.” – which is exactly what my junior school report cards said!

Lastly we have Friend of the Stars and Aristocracy, Paul who is making Everything Under The Sun In An Attempt To Be Noticed – he’s got Ras el Hanout Spiced Lamb Loin, Saffron Potato Puree, a Roscoff Onion Stuffed with Goat’s Cheese and en Vogue Hazelnuts, Asparagus with Mint Sauce and an Apricot Ketchup

There are Jackson Pollock paintings less busy that this.
The main offender on the dish is the Apricot Ketchup but I, as a viewer, was more perturbed by the malevolence of the onion

I can more understand pairing apricot with the Ras el Hanout spices that I can putting goat’s cheese in a lamb dish – we do not mix the ovine and caprine streams. Oh God, am I livestock separatist?
Paul’s dessert had similar issues in that it was just extremely busy and overwhelmingly sweet. He accidentally burnt his meringues so they were banished to sit at the back of the kitchen in shame (or so that the crew could eat them because TV production crews are starved animals who will literally eat anything – we’re like sleep deprived goats). The meringues were quite a big component is his Eton Mess inspired dish of Strawberry Panna Cotta, Balsamic Jelly and Strawberry Meringues with a Daiquiri Foam so he makes do with an Italian Meringue and his dish kind of looks like some sort of alien invasion B-film during the height of the Cold War

I think it’s a lot to do with the sheen on everything, especially his meringues which isn’t entirely his fault because that’s not how he originally envisioned the dish but at the same time, just leave off the meringue EVERYONE ELSE WAS LEAVING THINGS OFF – at this point it’s as trendy as putting hazelnuts on any main course you can!
The daiquiri foam is sadly very disappointing, which is unfortunate because that’s the part everyone was excited about but Paul’s competence with flavour, technique and the ability to think of the fly certainly made him the standout of the episode and it was no wonder he was rushed through

It was a tough call between Harry and Jamaar because both of them showed a lot of promise throughout the two rounds but given that his flavours were just a scooch more exciting (and he served a decent portion) it was Jamaar who triumphed

That’s what you get for stealing Marcus’s steak Harry.

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