Celebrity MasterChef 2021, Episode 15: Feminist Pasta Icon

Well, The MasterChef Creche Chamber is certainly working out well.

Semi-final Week comes to a close and it is a great sadness that we’ll never know what Bez would have served a trio of renowned restaurant critics.

Critical Mass

For their final bid for Finals Week the celebrities had to cook a single plate of food for three of the usual critical suspects: Jimi Famurewa who has finally recovered from his myserious non-descript illness, Grace Dent and her door knocker earrings

and of course William Sitwell who is absolutely incapable of doing anything without looking slightly like a Bond villain

him holding that tiny little jug has the same energy as Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his cat

Mr. Bond, are you ready for your death by red wine jus?

As they were having to cook for the overly fussy and unrelentingly pretentious palates of the restaurant critics everyone had really upped their game. Of course this meant that the usual go-to posh ingredients were on full display and Joe and Kem found themselves going head-to-head in a Duck Duel to the Death with a pair of dishes that were not too far removed from one another. Joe’s was the more Classically MasterChef of the two, which did mean I could sound the Erect Root Vegetable Klaxon

they’re an endangered species now – the Monkey’s Paw gave me an increase in rice architecture and took awake my perplexingly arranged carrots.
Joe’s biggest struggle was with his duck breast which he somehow managed to both overcook and leave raw in places, which was almost enough to impress William Sitwell. Less impressive was the fact his duck bled all over the plate making it look a bit like a Holby City cold opening

Joe had made a valiant attempt to clean the plate up with a paper towel but really the haematological nightmare was just a very confusing experience for him

As you can imagine the judges were as enthused about the blood covered plate as they were when Aaron on Civilian MasterChef 2021 decided to serve tepid sous-vide blood as a sauce earlier this year

As for the non-bleeding components of the dish – his potato fondants weren’t really fondant potatoes and were literally just roast potatoes, but at least they were good roast potatoes.

Kem’s Red Duck Redemption went much more successfully, as you can probably tell from the incredibly pointed shot of him resting his duck breasts on a kitchen cloth

Gregg obviously took great pleasure in pointing out that none of Kem’s dish involved anything Turkish and it still feels incredibly problematic whenever he does this to anyone that prefers to not cook more British dishes.
Alongside his duck, Kem was serving Arancini Balls, Butternut Squash (The grenade of the Veget- SHUT UP GAVIN ESLER) Puree, Pickled Vegetables and a Redcurrant Sauce – which is a lot to do and did mean he was running across the kitchen like a child trying to win a school sports day race

but he still got everything done and while the dish did have the look of some sort of textbook diagram, it was at least not a blood soaked warzone

it really bothers me that there’s only three asparagus tips, it looks like a an insect that a sadistic toddler has partially dismembered – which is still more appetising than Joe Swash’s sanguinary offering.
The highlight of the dish for just about everyone are the arancini which are described as “creamy and powerfully cheesy” a phrase Cheese Strings might want to buy as their slogan.

Megan was also bringing out the big guns as she was once again tackling a lobster – although this time because the episode was only 30 minutes they cut out all of the footage of her preparing the lobster which I imagine Mitch Tonks was at least thankful for. With her lobster she was making a Lobster and Ricotta Raviolo in a Vodka Sauce and finishing it off with a Lobster Claw. And because Megan is gluten intolerant her pasta was gluten-free – a concept that John Torode seemed to have to pretend was completely alien so I suppose Coeliacs are the new Vegans in terms of how MasterChef treats their dietary requirements.
I am also pleased to report that the show finally seems to be using the correct singular Raviolo and plural Ravioli – or at least for the most part as they became Raviolos and then Megan decided to feminise them as a Raviola – feminist pasta icon. As ever the greatest risk with ravioli is that they might burst when boiling them and given that Megan’s pre-boiled ravioli looked distinctly like beleaguered jellyfish, I’m a little shocked that they didn’t

but she managed to serve up a series of perfect dishes with well extracted lobster claws

the compliments even go so far as to say that it could be a dish on a Michelin Star restaurant – which is arguably mostly because that single raviolo and lobster claw has a portion price of about £20.

While the first three went big and bold with their pricey ingredients, Melanie was apparently feeling the effects of them completely eating the budget and was making a Prawn Risotto with a distinctly ungenerous amount of Monk’s Beard seaweed stirred through it

it was already a meagre dish to begin with, what with her abject refusal to make any sort of an accompaniment – JUST BAKE SOME BREAD. Although she was already running 10 minutes – God knows what she was doing for the entire hour given that a risotto shouldn’t really take longer than 40 minutes, but rice is a law unto itself.

Kadeena was back into her usual groove of making good Jamaican food, this time with Fish Escovitch which John has to redescribe to us as though we didn’t see Katie Price mutilate the dish only 2 weeks ago. Kadeena, thankfully manages to not do that, and puts out a really quite incredible dish

the little roll on the side being a potato spiral as Kadeena joins Nigella Lawson in her mission to reclaim the spiralizer from the wellness industry – COURGETTI IS NOT A THING. Although, Kadeena did almost find herself knotted in her potato ribbons

The dish receives overwhelmingly positive praise and the show’s relationship with Jamaica is no longer quite so fraught – truly Kadeena is fighting the good fight.

Lastly we have Dion who was doing hell of a lot with a breadcrumbed cod loin that he was serving alongside a bean salad, hasselback potatoes and a red pepper rouille

and as an additional bribe had made them all a mango daquiri

we inch ever closer to the Cocktail Challenge that the show still refuses to do – COWARDS.
The dish is mostly liked by the critics, they do point out that his sauce is in no way a rouille but Dion didn’t seem to not know what a rouille was so I’m not too surprised but they’d all go around to Dion’s for daquiris, proving that when in doubt: cocktail it out.

A Semi-final Dish Ranking

  1. Kadeena Saving The British Relationship with Jamaica
  2. Megan’s Feminist Lobster Pasta
  3. Kem’s Duck Diagram
  4. Mostly Just Dion’s Daquiri
  5. Joe’s Haematological Nightmare
  6. Melanie’s Late Risotto

The elimination was obviously coming down to a decision between Melanie and Joe and with Gregg having found his ultimate Happy Chappy bromance in Joe Swash, it was always going to be Melanie who was going to be given the boot in this situation. I really liked her, she seemed to be engaging with the whole show on a level that felt authentic and genuine whereas Joe absolutley knows what the cameras want and how to play the reality TV game – this is his bread and butter (pudding).
Anyway, long live Melanie’s hyena-like cackle

it shall echo through the MasterChef Halls of Fame for time immemorial.

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