It was a mistake to let Hannibal Lecter on the show.
The following recap contains stomach churning egg content, reader discretion is advised.
Poussin on a Blitz
For his Skills Test, Marcus wanted Mathilde and Nic to serve a whole poussin on the bone with braised chicory and a pear and hazelnut salad. As to how they butchered the bird, it was completely up to them, they just had to know not to try and roast it whole in 20 minutes because it would never cook. As it turned out, even if these two spatchcocked the thing they still couldn’t cook it in time.
Up first was Mathilde, who put me in a real dilemma because she was an absolute delight and I wanted to support her wholeheartedly but… that Avocuddle wall art is quite frankly unforgivable
the judges had a different dilemma given the fact they gravitate towards a French-born chef like moths to a flame, but at the same time Mathilde was trying to fry a very well spatchcocked, I’ll give her, poussin in a completely dry pan
rather unsurprisingly this resulted in the poor thing being partially cremated on one side
and in her shame and embarrassment, Mathilde just decided to put it on a completely cold roasting tray and shove it in a barely heated oven where it forlornly sat not cooking at all
I did not add that slow zoom, that’s all on an incredibly shady camera operator and I hope they got a raise for it.
When she eventually had to acknowledge the existence of this Tell-Tale Salmonella Risk Beneath The Floorboards, she discovered that rather unsurprisingly a raw bird put into an oven that barely reached 50 degrees doesn’t cook very much
and thus, to another very dry pan, which had the very life essence of Marcus leaving his body
But don’t worry, Marcus was at least able to somewhat psychically influence her to relieve the bird with some butter, a rather paltry amount of butter that very much angered Monica’s inner dairy demon
and despite her best efforts to fully incinerate this bird, the legs were on the brink of bleeding out
but the breast meat was only just cooked enough, or at least for Monica, there is NO footage of Marcus or Gregg putting that meat anywhere near their mouths but they do go on to praise her salad with the same energy and enthusiasm as Aretha Franklin complimenting Taylor Swift on her great gowns, beautiful gowns.
And then we have Nic, who describes himself like a university student desperately trying to hit an essay’s word count
that’s a lot of words for saying “I’m a chef in London.” – does he realise that “using fire as a catalyst” is just… cooking? Like that’s just a thing we all do? As for his cooking style, he described it as “Imaginative, creative and primitive.” – as for what came to pass, it was like someone had created a TV Chef by feeding an algorithm all the most chaotic elements of Saturday Kitchen and Sunday Brunch: John Torode’s tea towel catching fire, Matt Tebbutt cutting himself, Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer’s incompetent banter, Richard Blackwood trying to zest the flesh of a lemon, Naga Manchetty getting tipsy at 10am in the morning – Nic is the child of all of that.
He was also using the apparently new and secret technique of cooking meat in completely dry pans
are these chefs ok? Was the butter hidden from them like a secret key in a Taskmaster challenge?
He was at least trying to tenderise it by mercilessly jabbing it with his tongs
The Royal Poultry Society is going to demand a state funeral for these very much re-deadened birds.
Much like Mathilde, he too ended up with a very raw poussin by the time it came to serve it – he did describe his cooking style as “primitive” though, didn’t he?
and so he just scrounged together the few bits of it that were cooked and put them on a plate, but don’t worry for some reason he had decided to cook the pears in his pear salad
which obviously didn’t quite meet the challenge brief as the very raw poussin legs sat on the counter in their gelatinous shame, slowly bleeding out
and he doesn’t even get praised for his salad, instead they just have to thank him for making some great television and giving Twitter something to unite in annoyance over.
Out of The Panisse and Into the Fire
And now for a slightly more relaxing Skills Test, mostly because the most butchery it involves is having to cut a pre-roasted aubergine in half as Monica’s test called for the chefs to make a batch of Panisse with an aubergine dip
ok, this one was particularly egregious because he literally ate them in the first week.
The first chef, Liam, who is also a strong contender for Honorary Series Boyfriend
also didn’t really know what panisse were but he did know them by their plebeian name: chickpea chips, which he did know how to make them, or at least was able to kind of deduce how one would go about making them and given that he got a whole emotionally swelling music cue as he deep-fried a few chips, I think it’s safe to say that Liam is probably a dead certainty for the final.
Liam’s direct competitor, Ollie, wasn’t far behind in terms of success – he did have a slight advantage in that he, according to himself, makes panisse all the time – his family are sick of them, someone please save them. Loudly proclaiming this fact to the judges did somewhat set him up for failure because even the slightest mistake would seem like an issue. It was mostly his dip that got him dinged, the judges not being fans of him keeping it chunky or anointing it in enough olive oil to bankrupt the Coptic Church. I had more of an issue with the fact he only served them 4 chips
at least Liam, who had only done 5, chose a plate small enough to make it look like a somewhat generous helping
but after not being able to eat much more than a scrap of breast meat and a salad in the previous round, anything edible would have seemed like a feast.
With her signature menu, Mathilde wanted to showcase her classic French training as well as her love and appreciation for British cuisine and the London food scene; starting with a main course of Pan-fried Stone Bass, Olive Oil Mashed Potato, Potato Crisps and A Lot of Fennel, Just So Much Fennel
her cooking of the stone bass was at least better than her poussin, which earns her a great amount of praise – as does the Red Mullet Jus. The accompaniments, with the exception of the olive oil mash that Gregg could happily drown himself in, don’t get very good reviews – the fennel doesn’t balance out very well and the potato crisps are much too salty.
Her pudding was a bigger error in judgement, as is to be expected by an attempt to gastronomically improve an apple crumble. Her ill-advised foray into the ever growing disastrous artform being to essentially make an apple tart and cover it in an ominously described “crumble mousse” like a gelatinous blob from outer space that will not be happy until it has consumed all life within its path
I for one welcome our new stodgy overlord.
The thing is, she probably would have been fine if she hadn’t served quite so much of the mousse that rather overpowers the whole dish because they love the actual tart she made.
Ollie had a similar turn out to Mathilde in that they absolutely raved about his Turbot main course and it really needed to be good considering his treatment of the kitchen’s utensils
Ollie, they payed £70 for that fish – that broken mallet is coming out of your own pocket!
His destruction of the utensils aside, his dish did look fantastic
it’s just a very appetising, welcoming plate of food. But yes, it could use some chips. The judges though have nothing bad to say about it, he cooked the fish perfectly and his Grenobloise Sauce was, by all accounts, a triumph and his roasted cauliflower puree a complete revelation.
It did all come a bit undone with his dessert of a Choux Bun filled with cherry compote and a Hazelnut Creme Diplomat, which from the outside looked perfect
sure, I would have put the cherry compote in a jug on the side so that it looked a little less like it was sitting in a pool of blood. The filling however is a different story because for some reason he hadn’t bothered to bring in a recipe for it and thus ended up with a kind of gritty, not entirely pleasant texture. A decision which did have him on the MasterChef therapy chaise
Don’t worry mate, it wasn’t the worst dessert of the evening.
Ollie really needn’t have worried at all, especially considering that after the Skills Test he was significantly ahead of The Poussin Pair. As was Liam, who was kicking off his menu with a loin of roasted venison and accompaniments all finished off with a beetroot syrup and displayed in the style of a homicide
it’s been a while since we saw a full-on slasher movie of a plate, I’ve kind of missed the genre.
It mostly goes down well, Gregg did mention that the venison is bordering on rare, but considering the fact Nic served them up a still bleating goat moments before this, they weren’t going to send it back. Monica had more of an issue with his beetroot syrup, not so much because it looked like Michael Myers had been at the plate, but because the syrup had dared to touch her girolles – I guess mushrooms and beetroot isn’t the new chocolate and peanut butter then.
For dessert, Liam had made a Set Lime Curd, Raspberry Coulis and Meringue art installation
his best decision was to not mention that this dish is kind of just a deconstructed lemon meringue pie – that’s the sign of a man that’s watched this show before. He also must have been pretty confident with the dish considering that it’s the one he made in his introductory VT
or are all of his desserts just going to be sugary LEGO bricks?
And then we have Nic, poor, incredibly misguided Nic. It didn’t start too badly, his main course sounded almost normal! He was going for a Rack of Goat with a Goat Faggot, a Jalapeno Sauce, Asparagus and Crispy Shallots. I would order that on a menu! Unfortunately for him it never quite came together with his final minutes of the challenge being a mad dash because somehow NOTHING was cooked, least of all his goat
and despite the fact he got it back in the oven, which had been pre-heated, it was still served up kicking and screaming
I have to somewhat admire the audacity to even serve it up.
Somehow he hadn’t even managed to cook his asparagus and yet…
OK, calm down Flame Boy.
So with the asparagus either raw or cremated and his goat still on the brink of consciousness, his hopes mostly lay in his faggots
You know what? I can hardly blame that poor ball of offal for seeking a more dignified death.
I do have to wonder what he spent the 90 minutes doing considering his pudding failed to materialise in its completed form, which honestly might have been a blessing BECAUSE OH MY GOD THIS DESSERT. In what I can only imagine was a fevered cheese dream, he decided that for dessert he was going to serve up Egg Three Ways, two of which were just different meringues which feels a little bit like cheating if we’re honest. But the third egg-way? An egg yolk cured in a whiskey syrup. A Concept that had pretty much everyone ready to prematurely call in sick for tomorrow
luckily for them, and unfortunately for the rest of us, Nic only managed to plate up one of his cursed egg yolk desserts
it’s like an illustration of a medical condition that’s only been recorded three times in human history.
Due to the fact there’s only one of them, the Honour of being Sacrificial Yolk Sampler falls upon Gregg’s shoulders, who takes a single prong tip of the stuff
it has to be one of the most iconic MasterChef disasters, he came in swinging with the most pretentious monologues we’ve ever been subjected to – shrouding himself in the wild mysticism of fire and then promptly going to absolute Hell in a handcart the moment he had to do ANYTHING AT ALL. Nic, you were awful but I’ll never forget you, you big, beautiful lunk.
A Signature Menu Dish Ranking
- Ollie’s Mallet Breaking Turbot
- Liam’s Not-a-Deconstructed-Lemon-Meringue-pie *wink*
- Liam’s Crime Scene Venison
- Mathilde’s Stone Bass Redemption Arc
- Ollie’s Sinisterly Filled Choux Pastry
- Our New Stodgy Overlord
- Literally Anything Else
- Honestly, Please ANYTHING ELSE
- Nic’s Yeeted Faggot
- Nic’s Bleating Goat
- Anything From a Place With a 1 Star Rating on Deliveroo
- Those Pineapple and Coconut Mince Pies Sainsbury’s Sold Last Year
- What’s Wrong Babe? You haven’t touched Your Third of a Cured Egg Yolk Dessert?
Rather unsurprisingly, Nic isn’t even momentarily considered for advancement while Liam is pretty much put straight through once Gregg finished licking his dessert plate
and so they had to weigh up the sins of Ollie and Mathilde with the scales tipping in Ollie’s favour
the poussin chaos was really quite unforgivable.
And if you’ve enjoyed this recap of the MasterChef: The Professionals and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi HERE.