Tonight, we’re getting existential!
Surprise! It was on Wednesday this week! Where in the timestream will it appear next, find out on Doctor Who: Flux this sunday!
Eggs Oh, Eggs Oh
We start, as any day should, with breakfast as Monica’s Skills Test was an Eggs Benedict with a sriracha Hollandaise and given that she nearly killed Gregg with her hollandaise, I’m kind of shocked at how little heat-based chaos there was.
That isn’t to say that the made Hollandaises were good though, and there were three of them because Wesley’s first one split due to the fact he accidentally cured his egg yolk with his spice mix
and so began a Supermarket Sweep style race against the clock as he tried his best to make a Hollandaise Sauce in only 90 seconds, a process that Monica watched with ever-increasing anxiety
because yes, what they ended up with was more of a breakfast ruined by the fact Wesley had drizzled raw egg over an Egg McMuffin
the annoying thing is that he could have rectified his first Hollandaise had he just added an ice cube to it, which he apparently did know but it slipped his mind under the weight of the pressure and Monica’s deeply furrowing brow.
Fellow Eggs Benedict tackler, Trung, didn’t have a much better time with things, although he started very well and pleased Marcus with his attention to detail. However, he’s clearly quite a methodical chef and while that’ll serve him well in terms of getting a dish made, it does tend to hinder you against a time limit, which is evidenced by the fact he got towards the end of the challenge and had only left himself a minute to poach an egg.
Sensing that this egg was very much a salmonella risk, he had no choice but to hide it beneath copious amounts of his Hollandaise
he just wouldn’t stop ladeling it on, which I mean, who complains about excess Hollandaise? Every brunch should come with a vat of the stuff, and then just to lean in to his excessive trash heap of a breakfast he flung a load of cured meat onto the plate with no regard for aesthetics
that is the plate of a man that has a deep hatred of breakfast, I’m honestly fascinated. What’s the beef Trung? Tell me EVERYTHING!
His egg was very much the undercooked horror that everyone expected it to be
this blog is now apparently just an archive of stomach churning egg gifs, sorry about that.
While Trung’s Hollandaise was a little too runny for Marcus, his flavours were all correct and he gets far too much praise for successfully toasting a muffin. Where was this praise for Wesley?
Continuing the egg risks, Marcus was having his pair of chefs cook a dessert consisting of strawberries, Italian Meringue and a Strawberry Ripple Cream, the latter component Gregg had to pretend to not know how to make. It’s honestly almost heart-breaking that they make him do this after 16 years of this show but my God he plays the stooge with aplomb
it’s just thickened strawberry puree folded through cream, we’ve seen it several hundred times.
The exacting timings and temperatures of the Italian meringue did get the better of Aaron who got his sugar temperature off by 5 degrees, resulting in a bit of a grainy meringue. Personally I had more of an issue with the fact he smeared it across the plate like it was a puree
let’s all agree to not do this to meringues in the future, yeah?
Rumour has it that Aaron is Richard Branson’s private chef, which if true gave us a fascinating insight into the Branson household as Aaron speficifed that he cooks for “the man of the house” and a team of chefs cook for “the Madame and the kids” so now in my head Richard Branson is out there dining on racks of lambs and carefully balanced scallops
while his wife and kids get a Mindful Chef box made up for them. That’s my Branson Family head canon.
Beyond the slight error of his meringues, his dish is mostly successful if a little overly sweetened in regards to his macerated strawberries. Monica was very pleased with the ripple in his cream, which looked too much like a creature from the Dark Souls series for me to consider dessert-ready
but he wisely hid it beneath a barricade of strawberries in his plating
that’s the sign of a chef that came into this competition with a strategy. HIDE ALL OF YOUR SINS.
Elena didn’t do too badly despite the fact she hates working in pastry, she knew the correct temperature for her sugar syrup and made the wise decision not to smear the meringue across the plate
her rippled cream was a little disappointing, mostly because it was just very runny as she hadn’t added the clotted cream, meaning it didn’t have much body to it but they loved what she did with the strawberries – combining basil and orange liqueur to offset the sweetness slightly.
Having been released from his blood-feud with breakfast, Trung was hoping to showcase his dumpling making skills and Vietnamese-style cooking with a dim sum main course consisting of Prawn and Squid Dumplings and Sake Glazed Squid Skewers accompanied by a Wood Ear Mushroom and Goji Berry Salad. The whole thing looked quite impressive when laid out
unfortunately for Trung none of it quite lived up to expectations of someone who runs two dim sum restaurants, except for the salad – that salad got some of the best reviews of the entire night which is particularly damning of those poor dumplings which were a little under-seasoned. As for the skewers, everyone thinks they taste and feel like they’ve not been cooked which is quite impressive considering the amount of footage there is of him grilling the things.
He had quite a lot of clawing back to do with his dessert, which is a risky retake on the classic Ile Flottante, the twist being that instead of a meringue floating on custard, he was filling a meringue with sake custard, and to apologise for the horrifying egg gif earlier, please enjoy the satisfying plop of Trung demoulding his meringue
I’m not quite sure he learned all of his lessons from The Hollandaise Dogpile because his presentation was a little heavy handed
attempting the looping swirls with a whipped crème fraiche instead of a white chocolate was maybe a bit of a mistake but the judges don’t complain, they rather love his ingenuity and the only complaint is the fact he was a little ungenerous with his sake custard. Monica yearning for larger amounts of booze was a bit of a trend considering Aaron got the same feedback for his dessert inspired by a Painkiller Cocktail
and if you’re going to base a dessert on a cocktail and go as far as adding a delightfully camp cocktail umbrella, you better go all out on the rum. But the rest of it gets highly praised, including the unusual combination of coconut and nutmeg in the panna cotta.
For his main course Aaron had gone for veal, cooking both a fillet and a sweetbread along with an abundance of peas and a complete rejection of any sort of carbohydrate but don’t worry, there are edible flowers for your worries
it’s very pretty, if maybe a little clinical looking but that seems to be en vogue at the moment – I almost yearn for the days of a Jackson Pollock style unhinged sauce splatter.
The judges rave about it, and in terms of their enthusiasm, it’s the dish of the series so far – there isn’t a single complaint about any of it so it’s veal for Mr. Branson then.
Elena was also serving up a dish of disappointingly small portions and absent taters
anyone serving up two pieces of lamb and half a tiny posh onion would be roasted alive on Civilian MasterChef.
They do like Elena’s dish, or the idea of it, sadly her lamb cookery was a little divisive with Gregg being more than happy to tuck into a piece of meat that both Marcus and Monica erred on the side of caution about, but they did appreciate the fact she realised her fat was unrendered and made an effort to render it instead of ploughing on ahead regardless, EDDIE.
For dessert Elena had drawn inspiration from that depthless well of inspiration: a toddler. Having witnessed her nephew going ham on some popcorn and popping candy she created a Caramel Popcorn Parfait with… you guessed it Popping Candy
Help, we’ve fallen back into 2011 and we can’t get out.
It’s an incredibly smart looking dish, I might have wondered where the other half of my parfait went but apparently fine dining is now about being served as little of a dish as you possibly can be. The judges love it, Monica mostly just wishes that she had a cinema bucket amount of popcorn to go with it and nobody really gives an opinion on the sweetcorn shoots that she topped it all with so I’m guessing that’s not a thing that’s catching on.
Lastly we have Wesley who was attempting to cook the very much never successful chicken ballotine and I think we all knew where this was going the moment Marcus said “You don’t want to boil the mousse because it’ll split” and we cut to a rapidly boiling chicken mousse sausage
and sure enough the mousse was split, which only added to the general distressing horror of a dish he had created
it might have been a mercy to be served a fine dining amount of this.
There aren’t even many redeeming qualities as Monica describes the Jerusalem Artichokes as “unloved” and even Gregg finds the combination of a madeira sauce and chestnut puree to be cloying – and just the thought of a sweet chicken mousse sausage is enough to clog of my mental functionality.
By this point Wesley would have known he was a goner but there was still a pudding to try and his Basil and Chocolate Cheesecake was at least a winner in Gregg’s eyes
Marcus mainly points out that the cheesecake mixture is split and grainy – I wonder if he boiled it? And Monica longed for some sharpness but admired him for the combination of basil and chocolate digestive biscuits.
A Signature Menu Dish Ranking
- Aaron’s Tiny Veal Offerings
- Elena’s Half a Parfait (A Halfait?)
- Trung’s Inside Out Islands
- Aaron, Where Has All The Rum Gone?
- Elena’s Tiny Lamb Offerings
- Trung’s Salad Eclipsed Squid
- Wesley’s Cheesecake Split
- Wesley’s Horrible Chicken Sausage
It was another pretty easy judging decision because as ingenius and good as Trung’s dessert was, Elena and Aaron both had much more successful menus as a whole and so they advance to the second quarterfinal
I’m gutted for Trung because I think he could have brought something really interesting to the competition but nerves and pressure get to you and by all accounts his dumplings restaurants (My Neighbours, The Dumplings) are very good!
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