Celebrity MasterChef 2021, Episode 17: A Partially Made Dachshund

This is now a Head Chef Nick fan blog.

It’s Finale Eve and we just have to make it through one last Professional Chef PR Stunt and some near miss poultry disasters before we can find out who the contenders for Celebrity MasterChef Champion 2021 ARE!

Release The Kerridge!

You’d think they’d really try to amp up the excitement and jeopardy in Finals Weeks and yet here we are on yet another Professional Chef MasterClass and PR Stunt, this time starring Tom Kerridge who I may or may not have had a Twitter spat with a number of years ago but I’m willing to bury the hatchet. Tom’s biggest claim to fame is being the owner of The Hand and Flowers which is the first pub to get 2 Micheline Stars and begs the question “When does a pub stop being a pub?” and forgive but I think it might be when you start serving Warm Pineapple and Coconut Bakewell

My friend, you’re a restaurant.

The celebrities will of course be recreating a 4 course tasting menu from Tom Kerridge’s own recipes for a number of highly acclaimed British chefs include Lisa Goodwin-Allen who appears to be trapped in a suitcase

don’t you hate it when that happens?
Also Michel Roux Jr. is here mostly to wildly flit between being grumpy about food being 5 minutes late and absolutely childlike in his glee about red pepper sauces. The duality of the French.

Kicking off the 4 courses was Dion with a starter of a Salt-baked Swede and Haggis Tartlet which was meant to evoke the flavours of a Cornish Pasty – which seems like it might offend both the people of Cornwall and Scotland – who knew Marlow would be the site of the modern civil war?
The tartlet was incredibly fiddly as Dion had to perfectly arrange the sliced swede on the top so that it looked like the petals of a flower, which he did struggle a little bit with but he at least got to use his big galumphing hands to mash various minced lamb innards into a haggis – truly this tart was a dyed of masc and femme energy. Oh no, the heavy duty painkillers are kicking in again.
Give that Dion’s previously most dainty looking dish was probably the beet wellington that looked a bit like a partially made dachshund

he managed to pull off the delicacy of the tartlet with aplomb, it was just a pity that it was served a little later than Michel Roux Jr. would have liked

his making of the cheddar shortcrust pastry earns him particularly high praises as well as the seasoning of the haggis.

Getting the short straw with The Fish Course That Nobody Wants was Kadeena who was going to have to go toe-to-toe with a bucket of scallops, unlike Megan McKenna, she did however care about the welfare of the shellfish and was *very* worried about hurting the soon to be very dead scallops. She was particularly worried about the dish because she had never cooked or eaten scallops before, but she could at least rest safe in the knowledge that she would be hard pressed to create a worse scallop dish than Gavin Esler did, LEST WE FORGET POOR LISA FAULKNER

how long do we think John Torode had to sleep on the couch for after this?
Alongside the one (1) scallop that everyone was being served she was also having to make a fennel jam, a red pepper sauce and then because apparently someone was given the memo that Kadeena likes to do The Absolute Most™, she was also having to make an aioli and a herb cracker that involved layering herbs and edible flowers between extremely thin sheets of pastry and feeding it through A Pasta Mangle™ – I can’t help but think the cracker was #NotWorthIt but she pulled it off with a little help and encouragement

It’s not as aesthetically pelasing as you would imagine.
But the scallops in a red pepper sauce was at least vibrant and eye-catching

She gets rave reviews from everyone, especially given that this was her first encounter with scallops and apparently not one that has made her fall in love with them. So that’s another recruit for Megan McKenna’s Reign of Anti-Shellfish Terror.

Getting the task of cooking the main course was Megan who had a tough job ahead of her considering she was taking on the Tom Kerridge’s most famed menu item – Triple Cooked Chips – him and every other male MasterChef contestant over the age of 35. After 15 years of this show, I’m pretty sure the nation could cook triple cooked chips while blindfolded. As well as the monolithic triple cooked chips, Megan was having to also perfectly fry a fillet steak and stuff an onion with Portobello mushroom as well as deep-fry a pickle and create a green peppercorn sauce that I could quite happily have gone my entire life without seeing

luridly green sauces and anaemic pickles aside, the dish is phenomenally well cooked, just look at the steaks

Everyone does very politely excuse the fact her pickle looks in desperate need of an IV drip and simply spend most of their time marvelling at the chips while Megan sits in the kitchen chowing down on the excess pickles and chips

Ah, the unbearable weight of being perceived. It is the most relatable thing to have ever happened on MasterChef ever.

This of course means it’s Joe Swash closing us out with dessert and Tom had given him (and supervising Head Chef Nick) quite a lot of work to do with his Banana Soufflé and Chocolate Rum Sauce. Joe of course veering off recipe within seconds as he added all of the sauce ingredients to the saucepan at the same time

it’s worth noting that Nick seemed to be there as Joe’s personal chaperone only, everyone else seemed to get on just fine.
The second sauce batch nearly came to ruin too as the induction hobs struck again but apparently it wasn’t burnt, it was just “a little caught on the bottom”

given that no critiques of the sauce were offered, I have doubts. But I could quite happily swim in a pool of a well made batch of the rum chocolate sauce, it’s the stuff of dreams.
Given Joe’s general trend of chaos, the likelihood of these soufflés living to tell the tale was slim to none and even though they rose in the oven

there was no guaranteeing that they’d stay as such given his tendency to take things out of the oven by just yeeting them across the counter

luckily for Tom Kerridge’s reputation Joe manages to restrain himself and the soufflés are served risen and intact

and despite the fact they’re banana soufflés everyone does love them and Gregg devours everything including the quite-obviously-burnt-but-I-promise-I-wont-saying-anything Chocolate Sauce

It’s just Gregg doing Gregg things.

This One’s For You!

For their final bid for The Actual Final the celebrities have to cook a dish that’s dedicated to someone they admire or are inspired by, which means I am obligated once again to bring up the contestant who once used this round to make a dish inspired by Hannibal Lecter and it looked exactly how you’d imagine

Steve from South London, I love you and I hope you’re well.

This lot were significantly less unhinged and all opted for the usual and expected sources of inspiration. Joe, obviously dedicating his dish to Stacey Solomon and sadly not recreating her Croquembouche from The Great British Celebrity Charity Bake Off Special

Instead he was inspired by her love of a roast chicken and cooking a guineafowl, 2+2=5 in the world of Joe Swash. His chosen cooking method was pot-roasting and a significant amount of his time was eaten up by trying to fit the damn bird in a pot that was clearly at least a litre to small

and alongside his claustrophically cooked bird he was making several accompinments including the 2014 favourite: Guineafowl Lollipops, some Dolphin Noise Dauphinoise Potatoes and some honey glazed carrots. With so much to do Joe did A LOT of running and insisted on flashing his sweaty pit stains to all and sundry and I shall spare you that sight, but know that even Gregg Wallace was disgusted

and it does take a lot to upset Gregg Wallace.

Due to his decision to pull a Kadeena and do The Most he quite clearly didn’t have the time to consider presentation and sort of just presented everything as individual little piles

and can we just talk about the fact it distinctly looks like Joe cut that one carrot by just taking a bite out of it

I suppose, we’re probably better off not letting Joe Swash handle knives.
Both John and Gregg very politely ignore the fact the dish is a visual offense and lavish praises on him for “reaching for the stars”, never really saying outright whether or not he reached those lofty heights but he had cooked his lollipops very well. His sauce, which he insisted John slather over the entire plate, was in fact bitter and burnt. OH, SO NOW IT’S OK TO ACKNOWELDGE THAT? I see.

Both Kadeena and Dion also opted to cook poultry, although they both went for chicken. Kadeena choosing to sous-vide hers which had everyone a little bit concerned – quite why they still keep the damn water bath in the kitchen is beyond me. GET RID OF IT IMMEDIATELY. It would save so many issues.
As well as her waterbathed chicken, Kadeena was making a spinach, ricotta and parmesan dumpling that was wrapped in a cabbage leaf as well as a cauliflower fricassee and a chorizo sauce

and let it be known, that chorizo sauce looked DIVINE

the dish does sound a little dubious, I had my own concerns about pairing the dumpling with the chorizo sauce but in Kadeena we should trust as the whole thing goes down incredibly well with not a single complaint from anyone. I’d maybe have requested an extra dumpling and who amongst us wouldn’t?
And then just for good measure, Kadeena obviously served it with a mojito on the side

You know, for Coach Brian.

Dion’s chicken dish was Calypso Chicken as an ode to his mother, Rose. Calypso Chicken being chicken marinated in allspice and then cooked in a red wine and cashew nut sauce, which looked simply mouthwatering while it cooked

I would drink that sauce by the gallon.
To accompany his Calypso Chicken he was making Rice and Peas and you could tell there was an issue with it while he furiously stirred a pot of quite clearly rather mushy rice

and sure enough his rice had indeed stuck together to form one rather solid mass which, as it’s the finals week semi-final didn’t get the embarrassing bludgeon treatment. His rice didn’t draw as much ire his burnt flatbreads did as we continue the celebrity vs flatbreads feud

it’s a real pity because the dish does sound really quite gorgeous and the chicken does get the praises it deserves but was let down by the subpar carbs. Such is life.

Megan, who greatly amused me by wearing an apron over a leather jacket

It’s called fashion sweaty, look it up.

She opted for a fish dish, sparing any poor lobsters in Billingsgate and instead opting for cod which she was going to lightly curry and serve alongside some cumin and ginger cauliflower puree, pan-fried cauliflower, an onion bhaji and topping it all off with some very controversial mango salsa

the controversy being that John and Gregg both fear that white fish and mango should under no circumstances be mixed and yet when Duncan James accidentally served mango in a smoked haddock curry it was praised. Don’t get me wrong, I am firmly on the side that mango and fish should never meet on the same plate but SOME CONSISTENCY PLEASE.
My biggest issue with the plate is the puddle that the cod is sitting in which we’re never really explained what it is but just looks a bit like her cod has sprung a leak.
In the end, John doesn’t hate the cod and mango, but he does hate the cauliflower and the mango together which is maybe even more baffling considering the amount of times a fried cauliflower steak has been served with a mango salsa on this show BUT OK. Gregg meanwhile is still side-eyeing the white fish and mango but does laud her for the absolutely perfect cooking of her cod

as someone who recently got food poisoning from badly cooked cod, no I’m definitely not bitter.

An Inspirational Dish Ranking

  1. Kadeena’s Chicken and Cocktail Bribe
  2. Megan’s Oh My Cod
  3. Joe’s Melange of Things on a Plate
  4. Dion’s Good Chicken and Subpar Sides

This was a rough decision and I really don’t think they made the right one but I’m also apparently a biased Essex basher according to someone with a Union Jack flag for a profile picture on Twitter. I was very much on Team We Can Get Rid of Joe Swash, You’ve Got All Your Trailer Fodder Shots Now but alas, Dion, a late stage fan favourite, was undone by his rice

considering the man started the competition by serving up some gently warmed goat’s cheese and calling it a plate of food, he has come leaps and bounds in a very short space of time.

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