Celebrity MasterChef 2021, Episode 7: Most of a Vandalised Fish

I guess we all know Gregg’s safe word now.

Another week of heats, another 5 celebrities of varying degrees of personified chaos and toothy whiteness.

Cloche! Bang! Wallop!

As ever we start with the mystery ingredient round and in a very loaded act, they have given Katie Price crabs

and yes this does mean that the general trend of crustacean mutilation does continue at a rather disturbing pace

personally, I think I would trust Megan McKenna and Katie Price with taking on Cthulhu when the time comes. At least Mitch Tonks isn’t constantly lurking behind Katie looking like a kicked puppy

Sadness in his eyes.
Katie had at least eaten crab before and was sort of making a seafood linguini through the power of backwards problem solving and just mixing crab, an excessive (and correct) amount of garlic and chilli as well as cream in a bowl and then in a truly Penny Lancaster act, topping it all off with a needless prawn

granted, the prawn belongs more here than it did atop Penny’s Floridian Butternut Ravioli…
It’s a solid dish and with the anticipation of having to try Will Kirk’s raw chicken, John was just happy he could actually eat something, and was even more relieved that there was no crab shell in the dish considering Katie’s deshelling method was just to HULK SMASH! the poor thing

maybe we go easy on the crustacean community after this, yeah? They’ve been through *a lot*.

The aforementioned Will Kirk of Being A Nice Lad fame had been given a bowl of chickpeas and one of my favourite natural phenomenons is that whenever someone encounters chickpeas they immediately sniff them and regret it

his fiancée is a vegan and so you would imagine that he should have had a few chickpea recipes up his sleeve and even threatened to make hummus at one point but was weirdly hellbent on cooking chicken for some reason and thus proceeded to just put everything in a tray and roast it like an exhausted parent struggling for dinner ideas on a Wednesday night

quite why he didn’t mix everything together I don’t quite know because it’s not like he was paying attention to the fact everything might need separate cooking times – EVIDENTLY

God bless him, he cooked it all for long enough to turn the chickpeas into dried out husks of their former selves and to still leave the chicken gently clucking, the first sign of which should have been the fact his chicken came out of the oven looking particularly anaemic and his only effort to save it was cover it in a tomato sauce that you cannot convince me wasn’t just him tipping a can of chopped tomato over it

I’m still baffled by the fact he didn’t mix the butternut and the chickpeas together. I think I’m somehow more offended by that than the raw chicken.

Dion Dublin, who spent most of the round looking like this

was on a similar wavelength to Will and very much relegated his goat’s cheese to being an accompaniment as he just shoved it in the oven to vaguely melt it a little bit while he instead concentrated, in true sportsman fashion, on cooking chicken thighs and incorrectly pronounced chorizo – nature is healing.
The obvious thing to do with the goat’s cheese would have been to make a goat’s cheese and red onion tartlet but given the quality of Dion’s dumpling making later, I think we all dodged a bullet there and should probably thank our lucky stars that he just stuck to delicately placing some slightly warm goat’s cheese atop his plate of buffet entrees

the best thing about the whole dish is the fact John has to desperately think of something to praise and comes up short with “You treated the cheese sympathetically.” which I suppose is remarkable given Katie just mutilated a crab and Joe Swash spent a significant amount of time fingering a pigeon while the poor thing sat next to its own removed head

I apologise for bringing that Gif kicking and screaming into the world but I had to rewatch it and I’m not going to suffer on my own.
While Dion and Will used the 10 minutes of prep-time to make their plans for segregated traybakes, Joe used the time much more productively and drew a lovely minimalist drawing of a roast dinner

I hope Stacey hung it on the fridge for him.
He was of course just treating the pigeon like a baby chicken and producing something as close to a sunday roast as he possibly could

with added erect phallic corn for a bit of flare

it all goes down very well, by some sort of miracle the pigeon is perfectly cooked – I do however question the decision to stuff it with mushrooms and quite how thrilled by this John was. Where it does all fall apart though is the sauce that is ominously introduced as “a red wine and cream sauce” and is then revealed in a fashion that really ought to have come with a content warning

this is single-handedly the worst sauce we’ve ever seen across any iteration of this franchise and I say that after Aaron in Civilian MasterChef just drizzled slightly warm blood over his plate and called that a sauce

I refuse to ever let that dish be forgotten to the sands of time. I will make sure its legacy lives on.

Lastly we have Melissa Johns whose becloched ingredient was a pile of very pleasant looking summer fruits that she looked at like they were some sort of Eldritch monstrosity

this did of course mean she was pretty much locked into make a dessert, lest she want to attempt to make a fruit sauce for duck.
She did finally settle on making a Frangipane and Fruit Tartlet, with an emphasis on the “-let” suffix

the bravery to serve Gregg but a single one of those bite-sized morsels should be commended. And given that she went through an enter existential crisis during her baking expedition, she did remarkably well

as well as the wee tartlet she made an almond liqueur cream which at least shows an ability to spike anything with alcohol, an ability that will take you far in this particular competition

slightly concerned about Gregg describing her frangipane as “being like a custard with almond flavour” but hey, it made Melissa very happy and that’s all I care about

she’s definitely one for the final.

An Under The Cloche Dish Ranking

  1. Joe Swash’s Somehow Perfectly Roasted Pigeon
  2. Melissa John’s Almond Flavoured Existential Crisis
  3. Katie Price’s Traumatised Crab Linguini
  4. Dion Dublins’s Slightly Warm Goat’s Cheese and Company
  5. Will’s Segregated Traybake
  6. Anything Else
  7. Joe Swash’s Sauce

Jamaica, We’re Sorry.

Once again we come to the Street Food Challenge and I think it goes without saying that we owe Jamaica one hell of an apologetic muffin basket for everything that is about to unfold. The dish the celebs found themselves faced with was Fish Escovitch and Festival Dumplings

a not entirely very demanding looking dish and yet these 5 turned it into a marathon of horrors, but before that they did of course have to eat the properly made dish to try and identify the ingredients and Gregg is trying out a new catchphrase after getting a bit bored of “buttery biscuit base”

I think we can workshop it a little bit.
Not to shame anyone or anything, because I myself feel self-conscious about how I eat, but Joe Swash gummily gnawing on a dumpling like a tortoise that doesn’t quite trust the piece of lettuce its being offered is one of the funniest things I have ever seen

this technique did not help him in any way but the dumplings were a doomed venture across the board.
One of the main components of Fish Escovitch is the vegetable medley that is seasoned with an almost ungodly amount of vinegar, as Joe and Katie both found out

and I can only imagine this somewhat fried Katie’s brain as she gets halfway through writing what I imagine was meant to be “carrot” before getting bored and just writing “car” in the ingredients for the vegetables

and truly this is where the show is let down by not only allowing the celebs use what they wrote down because I have visions of Gregg Wallace driving a Fiat 500 into the studio kitchen like one of the Price Is Right models – I hope they learn from this missed opportunity.

Not that cooking with the correct ingredients really saved Katie much bother as despite the fact the fish was VERY obviously fried, she immediately wrapped it in foil and shoved it in the oven, only realising her mistake when Will spent an inordinate amount of time trying to perfectly position his fish in the pan to ensure the tail would cook properly – do you think his inability to cook fish is because his fiancée is vegan or do you think the fact he has maybe served her a plate of fishtails is why she’s vegan? It’s a real Quorn chicken and synthetic egg yolks situation.
Upon realising her mistake, Katie then decided to migrate the partially cooked fish to the frying pan where, in a piscinic hate crime, she aggressively stirred it in fear of it sticking to the pan causing the poor fish’s corpse to rapidly disintegrate before her very eyes

is there any way we can give this poor sea bream a state funeral? I will set up a GoFundMe if I have to.
As for Katie’s dumplings, they had to be abandoned because somehow she had turned the inside of them into the texture of processed chicken

and so all she had to offer to John and Gregg were some piquant vegetables and most of a vandalised fish

against all the odds, and I do mean ALL of them, Katie somehow managed to, in John’s words, cook the fish absolutely perfectly because the skeleton of the fish comes out clean

but after what Katie did to the poor, unfortunate thing I think any skeleton would be absolutely stripped of its flesh.

While Katie’s dumplings failed to exist, I think everyone wishes that the same fate would have befallen Dion’s as in an act that defies nature itself he produced dumplings that were both incredibly powdery and yet very, very wet

as awful as watching Katie Price lacerate a fish with a wooden spoon was, somehow these bready abominations are more of a crime in my eyes. And after ill-advisedly claiming that cooking the fish was going to be easy, he did indeed overcook the fish.
Will was rather desperate to show that he was capable of cooking meat in such a way that wouldn’t kill someone, which might also explain why he was so hellbent on ensuring the fish’s tail was properly cooked and indeed somewhat redeemed himself by properly cooking the sea bream

his dumplings however are… for some reason very sweet and the thought of eating sweet dumplings with vinegary vegetables and fish might appeal to Gregg Wallace but to me sounds like a worse torture than anything Katie could possibly inflict upon an unsuspecting marine animal.
While Melissa managed to get the correct flavour into her dumplings she did have a slight issue with the size of them

I think those might even be too big for Australian Rules Rugby but she was under the impression that they would shrink in the fryer. Readers, they did not shrink in the fryer

personally, I think I’m ok with that dumpling to fish ratio, however while the fish is perfectly cooked, the dumplings on indeed slightly raw in the middle.

So with Katie’s dumplings failing to crawl into existence, Dion creating some sort of bready aberration, Will accidentally creating dessert dumplings and Melissa seemingly trying to kit out the Rugby World Cup – Joe decided that he was going to try and crib from everyone else in an immaculate case of the blind leading the blind. The result being a set of dumplings that could cause severe blunt force trauma

so I guess you can expect to see Katie using them against an unwitting mollusc sooner rather than later.
The issue with Joe’s dumplings being that he didn’t use enough baking powder in them which John states as though this is something that Joe, who by all accounts in entirely unfamiliar with the concept of a dumpling, should have known.
His fish is sadly overcooked and his vegetables disappointingly flavourless because after dousing them in vinegar he lay them on a paper towel, thus draining all of the vinegar off of them.

A Fish Escovitch Ranking

  1. Melissa’s Perfect Fish and Bready Rugby Balls.
  2. Will’s Actually Edible Fish and Demi-dessert Dumplings.
  3. Joe’s Overcooked Fish and Murder Weapons.
  4. Katie in The Scullery with The Wooden Spoon.
  5. Dion’s Crimes Against Carbs.

Dinner… Party.

Before we lose the first of this week’s celebrities they have to cook one last dish in the vein of what they’d cook for a special dinner party with their friends. Of course this means that John and Gregg are looking for something a bit sophisticated and has that touch of star power to it. So what’re you cooking Katie?

ok then.
Alongside her Toad in the Hole, she was serving Mashed Potato, but there was a “twist” – she was leaving the skin on and in true Celebrity MasterChef fashion, John and Gregg both have to pretend that Katie has just invented something new and turned the entire culinary world on its head. Not to be That Person but… The Simpsons did it

granted, Katie did seem to do it by leaving the entire potato skin on rather than peeling some of it off so I get why John might have had an issue with getting so much of it stuck in his teeth

Although that may have also been because of the veritable thatched roof of rosemary she had thrown all over that toad in the hole.
With it being a Toad in the Hole there isn’t a great deal to praise beyond the fact her batter rose rather spectacularly so John does have to low ball some compliments

God I love the celebrity iteration of this franchise where they can’t just crush the ego of Jamie from Inverness Who Works At ASDA with a dismissive remark about all he did was cook a good Friday night dinner and send him packing with his tail between his legs.

Everyone else did manage to posh it up a little bit, even if Joe Swash’s process was anything but polished and refined

if he and Bez are let into the same kitchen together they’re going to have to employ the cast from one of Channel 5’s many programmes about deep cleaning the homes of people who died in them and nobody noticed for several weeks.
Joe’s bombsite was the result of him attempting to make Koftas and flatbreads, which isn’t the poshest thing in the world but the fact John Torode pronounces it as “Koof-Tah” does lend it a touch of slightly absurd Hyacinth Bucket style class.
I’m honestly mostly surprised that Joe managed to plate up a halfway decent plate of food considering the mess he made

but yes, I have to address the fact his “red onion and tomato salad” was indeed just a bunch of red onion and tomato slices stacked like a children’s Rock-a-Stack

I’m very mad John and Gregg didn’t say a word about it.
Speaking of stacking, I did love how much trouble Joe had stacking his two (2) koftas on top of each other and treated the whole thing like he was playing a 30 story game of Jenga

they are absolutely going to drag him to the final if they have to.
The only thing that gets any complaints is the Tzatziki (that’s Stazeekee, Stateekee or Dazeekee if you’re John Torode) because the fact he seemed to have confused garlic cloves and garlic bulbs. The rest of it John and Gregg are both perfectly happy to eat.

Continuing the long running trend of MasterChef contestants trying to convince John and Gregg that salmon can be eaten with cheese was Melissa who was offering up salmon stuffed with a mixture made of spinach, red onions and feta

She says “stuffed”, I say “Dolloped”.
They sadly remain rather unconvinced although they like how the cheese worked with her rosemary coated potatoes. So we can safely add feta to cheddar, Manchego, gorgonzola and stilton as the list of cheeses that don’t belong anywhere near roasted salmon grows bigger every year.

Will was determined to make up for the fact he served John and Gregg raw chicken in the first round by perfectly cooking some duck breast. I think we all knew where this was going when Will pondered this while looking at a piece of duck that could very likely be resuscitated

and the worst part of it is the rest of his dish was very good – granted it was mostly just sweet potato mash and two very pathetic looking stems of tender stem broccoli BUT LOOK AT THE SHINY SAUCE

and the sauce is largely the only thing they can really taste because the raw duck has bled over everything else and there isn’t a shot in the world of John or Gregg eating a single mouthful of any of it.

Lastly we have Dion who probably had the most ground to catch up considering his first dish was 40% slightly warmed cheese and the less said about his dumplings the better. But he was coming in with BIG plans with his steak that he was marinating in a dark rum, soy sauce and mustard marinade

which quite honestly sounds like one of the most divine things I’ve ever heard of. GIVE. IT. TO. ME. NOW.
As well as the steak he was accompanying it with the usual suspects: Triple Cooked Chips, a Portobello Mushroom and a Tomato and Red Onion Salsa

God bless the thoroughly 2009-style plating, how I’ve missed the individual stacks and piles on a rectangular plate, it’s a geometric delight.
It gets unanimous praise from the judges who deem it “the best thing Dion has cooked so far” which considering he has cooked 1) warm goat’s cheese and 2) The Dumplings That Shall Not Be Named – he could have just put a Flump on a plate and that still be the case.

A Dinner Party Dish Ranking

  1. Dion Dublin’s Dinner Party Circa 2009
  2. Joe Swash’s Koftas and The Mess he Left Behind
  3. Katie Price’s Toad in the Hole ft. A Lot of Potato Skins
  4. Melissa Johns’s Salmon and Feta Misfire
  5. Will Kirk’s Dedication To Raw Poultry

With Dion having successfully cooked something that could legitimately be called A Plate of Food, there really was only one choice as to who to send home and thus the trend of sending The Nice Boy™ home first continues apace as Will Kirk is the first victim of the week

I look forward to his inevitable appearance on Strictly 2022, featuring 100% less poultry. Vicky Gill might have other plans about that last claim though.

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