Celebrity MasterChef 2021, Episode 8: Alphonso Magoo

Narrator Voice: It was not going to be great.

Well, if this episode did anything it was has put my claim to be The Cassandra of TV Cookery Competitions into disrepute as a great injustice falls – and I’m not even talking about the things they did to the eggs!

Getting Fruity

For this week’s Surprise Food Quiz the celebs were presented with an array of tropical fruit and I want it on record that I nailed this round on sight within 2 seconds of that hessian cloth being lifted

they are of course a mango, passion fruit, a lychee and a dragon fruit – the latter of which Gregg and John very much treat as the 8th hidden wonder of the natural world and not as something you can literally buy a three pack of in Tesco and a favourite smoothie ingredient among every (probably now closed down) juice bar in Shoreditch. The celebs do struggle a little bit with Katie being the only one to actually get it correct and score a perfect 4 out of 4 – so you can add Tropical Fruit Aficionado to her list of accolades. Other guesses ranged from a fairly educated stab at Jackfruit from Melissa, Joe confusing it for a passion fruit and Dion Dublin thinking it was a Star Fruit despite the fact it’s distinct lack of an astral shape. He and Joe both also struggled with the passion fruit, Joe dubbing it a Fig and Dion way overthinking it and writing down Kenip, a type of South American fruit that the Internet cannot decide on a spelling or name for as its Wikipedia indicates with its list of names: Bajan ackee, genip, guinep, genipe, ginepa, kenèp, quenepa, quenepe, quenette, chenet, skinup, talpa, jocote, mamón, limoncillo, canepa, skinip, kenepa, kinnip, huaya, or mamoncillo. Of which “Kenip” is not actually one. Can the All Powerful Fruit Emporium please solve this at their next conference?
Lychee and Mango prove absolutely no problem for anyone, except maybe Joe who was very self-conscious about his spelling and did indeed write down “Magoo” for his Mango answer

which has given me an idea for a potential Drag King name: Alphonso Magoo.

Frittering Away Your Life

For the skills test John was looking for the celebs to rustle up a brunch consisting of Sweetcorn Fritters, Smashed Avocado and a Boiled Egg

and as we saw with the dumplings in the previous episode, this lot should absolutely not be allowed to roam a kitchen without a recipe and within seconds Dion had tipped enough bicarbonate of soda in his fritter batter to set off at least 100 junior school science experiments

it’s a good job he didn’t decide that his avocado should be doused in vinegar, instead he just liberally used the juice of an entire lemon AND an entire lime to season it, thus just about turning John inside out

the actually good and passable presentation of his dish belying the nightmarish fizzy fritters and acidic avocado puree

Dion was far from the only person to have a rough time making their fritters as Joe took the art of disaster to lofty new heights and seemingly thought that dumplings and fritters were the same things and thus shallow fried massive balls of batter

and Gregg, powerless to stop this disaster unfolding, had no choice but to just stare on in fascinated horror

and by this point John had just completely vacated the realms of consciousness after Joe made his batter and decided he was going to mix it with his hands

genuinely shocked the Covid supervisor didn’t swoop in and douse everything in antibacterial spray like they were Dion Dublin seasoning avocado.
And in keeping with his theme of Pure Unadulterated Chaos, he served up his plate looking like a warzone

with a pair of decidedly undercooked eggs as he seemed to boil them for only 20 seconds and hoped they’d cook through in the residual heat in the space of another 20 seconds… At least his smashed avocado was fine.
Melissa also had issues with her poached egg but at least had the decency to tell us she had never poached an egg before and not brag about how she does it all the time like Joe did. And really it might be worth applauding for managing to somehow do THIS

I’m honestly a little impressed.
The rest of her components went quite well, bar the fact she burnt her fritters and all together on the plate they looked a bit like a collection of alien lifeforms

and with her being the first one to go, John was mostly just pleased that the fritter batter was cooked all the way through, I imagine they anticipated a much more cataclysmic failure across the board following The Great Dumpling Disaster of 2021.

While the other three frittered about the kitchen in varying states of nervousness, Katie Price was extremely calm and collected throughout the process as she just winged her way through making a gigantic American pancake style fritter

with her putting so much batter in the pain that she did have to perform an emergency thoracentesis to drain it a bit

Hi, I’m Ariadne and I’ve been watching ER again.
And with her making a pancake, there was only one option when it came to flipping the thing

I cannot tell you how much I rate Katie Price – she’s incredibly good value when it comes to reality TV and as much as everyone always complains when they find out she’s been cast on something, she certainly has an ability to draw them around to her side.
And she gave John and Gregg a pretty perfect looking brunch

although that does depend on how you feel about smashed avocado, sweetcorn fritters and poached egg – things I all like and yet, I think this episode has confirmed I never want to see them on the same plate.

As Gidda as It Gets

This week’s Professional Chef Doing a PR Gig is Sabrina Gidda of Constantly Being Robbed on Great British Menu and Really Good Mascara Application fame

and she was certainly bringing in some quite difficult challenges for the celebs with everything having a distinct air of fine dining around it – it was certainly a departure from Duncan James having to make a pair of chutneys and some fried chicken for a high street restaurant as Katie Price found herself starring in Dumplings 2: Electric Boogaloo. This time taking on the task of making a set of Chinese-style dumplings filled with langoustine and chicken served with a dashi broth and given the fact her previous dumplings failed to be brought into existence she improved by 100% just by getting these ones onto the plate

it does help to have a recipe after all, but even then the contestants on MasterChef: The Professionals completely butchered a dumpling based challenge so I think Katie should be very proud of herself. Gregg of course goes about praising her in the most patronising way possible, by telling her “There’s a culinary term you may not have heard before…. Fantastic.” and Sabrina looks like she’s preparing to yeet him into the ocean

I support it.

Dion also had a very strong round and produced an absolutely sublime dish of Minted Roast Sole with a Coconut Dahl and a Tomato and Tamarind Dressing

it was also nice to see a piece of seafood being treated with some semblance of respect given the general trend over the last couple of weeks. His success and the high praises he earns even makes him a little emotional and I love it when you realise just how invested in the process the celebs are and considering he started this competition by warming some cheese, I’m glad he got this moment in the sun.

Having considerably less success was Joe Swash who found himself lumbered with yet more poultry, this time taking on the challenge of pot-roasting a guineafowl. Part of the process requiring him to DELICATELY insert a butter stuffing under the skin of his guineafowl but Joe being Joe just fully degloves the poor bird

and upon witnessing this poultry hate crime Sabrina visibly backs away, scared that she might be Joe’s next victim

he does his best to mend his error by just piercing the skin back on using two unwieldly skewers like he’s a backdoor Victorian surgeon

this didn’t quite save the dish though and because the skin was so loosened it very much shrinks in the oven

and by the sound of things the skin was meant to be the highlight of the dish? But really they should all just be happy they could eat the dish considering Joe (savagely) hacked into the guineafowl revealing it to be raw


Seeing us out with dessert was Melissa who was making a Hot Chocolate Mousse which would be accompanied with a cardamom custard gelato topped with a pistachio streusel. Clearly the production team have spent some money hiring an exorcist because whichever poltergeist was previously haunting the ice cream machine had clearly been banished as her gelato came out perfectly

and her mousse is the perfect texture, earning an all too sexual groan from Gregg Wallace.

A Sabrina Gidda Recipe Attempt Ranking

  1. Dion Dublin Said Fish Rights
  2. Katie’s Academy Award Winning Role in Dumplings 2: Electric Boogaloo
    • Melissa Johns’s Successful Moussing
  3. Joe’s Degloved and Restitched Guineafowl

Take Me Away!

for the final challenge of the episode the celebs had to cook a dish inspired by a food delivery that they’re particularly fond of, which first of all: why do we keep doing this when Rylan perfect the artform?

and second of all, it very quickly and rather predictably turned into A Clash of the Chicken Curries with the only person not opting to do their take on offending India being Dion who was instead using his portion of chicken to make his take on a BBQ Chicken take-away that he had in St. Lucia which he was serving with some sweet potato wedges and a coleslaw in what was a very dry looking affair

they do mention the dryness and the fact that his coleslaw could have used another 3 heaped tablespoons of mayonnaise but the flavours are good, although that depends on how much of a compliment you consider “It tastes a lot like Brown Sauce!” to be.

Over in the Curry Contest, both Joe and Katie were whipping up a pair of kormas with Joe making things slightly more difficult for himself by adding his tried and tested flatbread to the mix as well as a Mango Lassus [sic] whereas Katie was very much going “Nah.” and just serving up the Korma with a side of Architectural Pilau Rice

the curry receiving rave reviews while the rice gets a bit of a dig for being a little too underdone – and yet somehow this is the best rice of the night because somehow Melissa managed to turn her rice into a Michelle Ackerley Brand Bludgeon™

How is it that only celebrities seem to be able to do this? What is their horrifying secret?
Gregg makes a valiant attempt to sample the rice nonetheless

the verdict being a resounding “No.”
And the rest of the dish doesn’t claw her back many points considering the chicken is overly dry and she added so much mango chutney to the miscellaneous curry that it might as well just be a sundry

I am however glad that she was championing the often overlooked Peshwari Naan, even if the judges weren’t overwhelmingly enthused by the end result.
And as bad as Melissa’s rice was (and it was pretty awful) I refuse to let slide the fact Joe’s was just as overdone as hers and yet not seen as an issue

and nor was the fact that his Lassi defied the laws of physics

all because Joe is a swell guy who at least attempted to do a lot in the time

which fine but if he had left off either the bread or the lassi, the dish might have actually been completed to a better standard.

A Take-Away Inspired Dish Ranking

  1. Katie’s Korma, now available in Iceland’s Frozen Section!
  2. Dion’s dry trip to St. Lucia
  3. Joe’s Korma and Flatbreads
  4. Katie’s Overcooked Pilau Rice
  5. Joe’s Gravity Defying Lassi and Orange Rice Pile
  6. Melissa’s Chickeny Mango Chutney
  7. Melissa’s Rice Bludgeon

Given the fact Joe did pretty abysmally in the first round, then failed to cook the guineafowl even close to correctly in the second round and his take-away inspired dish getting kind of a lukewarm reception, I thought all signs were pointing towards him getting the axe this evening and yet apparently Melissa’s rice bludgeon was completely unforgiveable and after I lauded her as “one for the final” just yesterday it is sadly she who falls before the quarter-final

I can tell you right now that Ofcom is getting a very strongly worded letter, I will overturn this injustice if it is the last thing I do on this here green earth. Failing that, I hope Melissa has cleared her Autumn 2022 schedule to do Strictly next year.

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