Celebrity MasterChef 2021, Episode 9: His Inner Dinner Lady

We’re going to have rechristen the MasterChef Isolation Chimney to The MasterChef Happy Naptime Crèche.

Our penultimate Quarter-final and for once no seafood was harmed in the making of this episode!

A Two Course Race

As ever the quarter final is a challenge to cook a two course meal for a trio of previous Celebrity MasterChef Champions and Wuzz Robbeds, this week being legend, icon and National Treasure Whomst We Must Protect Vicky Pattison, Sophie Thompson and John Partridge who seems to have found a new career as a deep sea fisherman

the pandemic hit the acting sector HARD, guys.
I’m a little shocked that they ever invite John back considering he spent the entire pre-series promo tour (by which I mean an interview with The One Show and Digital Spy) basically telling everyone that he won the trophy – he’s not the most subtle of people.

the first of the celebs to serve their dishes was Dion, which really went against both Joe and Katie considering how far he’s come since slightly warming some goat’s cheese in the very first challenge. His first dish was Ginger Beer Battered Halloumi with a Chilli and Ginger Jam

of which I will accept no less than three portions of and much like Vicky Pattison I would have demolished the entire plate within mere seconds after looking at it with literal hearts in my eyes

the squeaky cheese is a food of the Gods and I will hear no slander of its gently cheeping goodness.
The dish goes down a storm and everyone even manages to cope with the chilli and ginger jam that they were all a little bit apprehensive about because you know… Caucasity.
Following the deep-fried cheese was a dish of Pork Medallions with Sweet Potato Mash, Tenderstem Broccoli and a Rum Cream Sauce

which again sounds utterly divine. I think he could maybe have spiced up the medallions a little bit, they look a little under-seasoned but considering the boldness of his rum sauce and the hint of nutmeg in the mashed potato that he was so proud of, I can see why he maybe didn’t.
The dish once again goes down an absolute storm and Vicky, against her best efforts once again demolishes the plate

this becomes a theme for both better and worse.

Following Dion’s blinder of a menu was Joe Swash who was very much channelling his inner dinner lady and taking us back to school starting with a Toad in the Hole served with mashed potato and stealthy peas. This naturally had John worried about presentation as he says “It can’t be a massive splodge of potato and a giant clump of toad in the hole on the plate.” thus just describing Katie’s Toad in the Hole from earlier in the week

and readers, Joe did not manage to improve the aesthetics of the toad in the hole but was at least very generous with the gravy

the dinner ladies across the countries however, are very proud of him.
It does go down pretty well though with Vicky being particularly pleased about the “clagginess” of it all, a factor that John derides and John Partridge is enamoured by both Joe’s gravy and the butteriness of the mashed potato – no talk of the peas, their Splinter Cell assignment achieved with aplomb. Meanwhile Sophie is overjoyed by the poshness of adding leeks to a Toad in the Hole which is the first and probably last time Joe Swash will ever be described as posh.

Continuing his foray in The Dinner Lady’s Handbook, Joe was serving up Tottenham Cake for dessert which is that vanilla sponge cake with a distressingly artificially coloured icing that every kid thoroughly enjoyed more than we probably should because our standards as 8 years are literal garbage. Does it taste of nothing but sugar? Is this food colouring going to make me hallucinate? GREAT, I LOVE IT! My standards are still absolute garbage, just so we all know. And Joe very much achieved the distressingly unique colour of the icing

and the general lumpiness of the cake? It’s school dinner art perfected.
He was also attempting to make his own custard from scratch because the use of tinned custard is forbidden under both MasterChef Rule 3.2A and The Geneva Conventions. This did mean he fell a little behind time and John chided him that he was going to have to just serve his cake with warmed milk (Very First Episode Dion Dublin vibes) to which Joe point blank refuses and makes everyone damn well wait for the custard, which he does make quite successfully actually. And to make up for time there was no time for patience and calm while serving his cake

New Idea: MasterChef: The Obstacle Course. I’ll wait for the call.
The whole thing was rather impressive as it was quite literally an exact replica of a school dinner just on fancier dinnerware

I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t served on a plastic plate with incredibly unergonomic spoons – IT’S THE DETAILS THAT MATTER.
It goes down very well as everyone eats it and gets a misty look in their eye as they remember the good old days.

Katie was also going for big classic, crowd-pleasing dishes – her main course being a Rib-eye Steak served with Chunky Chips and all the usual trimmings. Things however weren’t going well for her as the ovens turned against her – the poltergeist that haunted the ice cream machine has been rehomed, I see. The first signs of disaster being that she burnt her Béarnaise sauce within mere seconds and instead of restarting just carried on while kind of hoping that Burnt Butter and Tarragon Sauce was something everyone would be in the market for. Spoiler Alert: It’s not. The second sign of doom being that she took her chips out of the oven seconds after Vicky said “the perfect chips are crispy and golden on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.” and Katie’s just looked harrowed and as though they had walked through the Warwick Castle ghost tour

I’m still working through the trauma of doing that on a school trip.
And the chips weren’t the only raw things on the plate as everyone cut into their steaks to hear the faint sound of lowing cattle

by this point Katie knew that she was obviously going to be eliminated despite Gregg’s best efforts to comfort her before she served up her barely cooked and scathingly alcoholic Brioche and Butter Pudding

the pudding suffering from much the same dilemma as the Toad in the Hole with Katie making a valiant effort to add some elegance by gracelessly tipping a handful of pistachios over the top of it

they are after all the poshest of the nuts.
This did however not save the pudding, it just added a green accent colour

and despite its slowly melting and congealing appearance, the main issue was the fact everyone took a single bite of it and struggled to give any critique because of the almost lethal amount of Irish Liqueur That’s Definitely Not Bailey’s *wink* she had poured into the mixture. Despite the eroding of her oesophagus, Vicky Pattison does of course finish the whole thing and I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of someone.

A Third Quarter-Final Dish Ranking

  1. Dion’s God Tier Halloumi
  2. Dion’s Very Circular Main Course
  3. Joe’s Cake-y Time Machine
  4. Joe’s Splodge of Potato and Clump of Toad in the Hole on a Plate
  5. Katie’s Spiked Bread and Butter Pudding
  6. Katie’s Plate of Raw Things

This was a no-brainer of a decision really, although I was gutted that Katie was eliminated, mostly because I’d have relished having her and Su Pollard competing as a team in a future challenge – HOW DARE THEY ROB US OF SUCH AN EVENT!

I’ll miss her teeth most of all.

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