MasterChef 2022, Episode 6: The Parmesan Authorities

Gregg Wallace’s pirate impression leaves something to be desired.

It’s the second of our quarterfinals and there’s Parmesan flavoured discourse to be had!

The quarterfinal means another set of returning contestants are back to judge with this week being something of a reunion as the 2021 Final Gang are all back

and Tom’s return certainly poured the pressure on Ally because the main course he was making was a sort of Chicken and Sweetcorn soup reboot involving popcorn, which was one of Tom’s more memorable dish

and Tom was indeed preparing for an ensuing legal battle

it is entirely possible that two chefs suing one another over chicken soup is already in one of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games.

Ally was changing it up and certainly wasn’t featuring the Japanese flavours that Tom had, instead adding some extra charred sweetcorn and turning the popcorn into a crumb coating

I think having to juggle making two dishes at the same time somewhat overwhelmed Ally because as tasty as the whole thing was, there’s some technical issues in the chicken being slightly overcooked and the sweetcorn puree being a little loose and at some point Gregg just started calling it a Sweetcorn Sauce. Alexina also wished that the sweetcorn was a little bit more charred, but we do know that Alexina has a penchant for setting things on fire

sometimes you just have to be thankful someone makes it through the MasterChef process with their eyebrows intact.

Ally’s dessert also suffered some timing issues with the tatin going in slightly too late – but the anxiety of whether or not it would be cooked did mean that he got to practice his Oven Watching Stance

he has great potential for Bake Off.

His dessert also suffered from the weight of expectation that comes when a contestant utters the words “Pina Colada” as Ally promised that the caramel of his Pina Colada Tatin would be packed with rum and it just wasn’t the near lethal dose that John Torode would’ve like

if you aren’t going cross-eyed with every mouthful, it’s not enough rum.

But they did like the dish, it’s hard not love a tarte tatin but the star of the dish, and nearly the entire episode, was his Coconut Sorbet which had the most divine looking texture

yes please and thank you.

The cocktail trend continued into Holly’s starter of TexMex Oysters and a Frozen Margarita, which at first I thought was going to be a little bit gimmicky but it was a very well thought out dish with the Margarita bringing the necessary acidity to the oysters, which are never going to be the prettiest looking things in the world and Holly’s Jalapeno and Chilli TexMex sauce was doing NOTHING to help the fact

but sometimes aesthetics have to be sacrificed for good flavour and the taste of them goes down phenomenally with everyone being pleasantly surprised that the fresh taste of the oysters, that Holly had shucked herself with the ferocity of a turn of the century fisherwoman, managing to come through it all. The chilli wasn’t what had everyone concerned though, because Holly had told Gregg that she was putting Parmesan in the sauce (as a garnish) which did mean Gregg was hovering around her like some sort of Parmesan Enforcement Officer


I had more concerns about her main course, entirely because she was having to use the dreaded pressure cooker which the MasterChef Poltergeist is known to use as a holiday home every now and again

and trying to cook ox cheek in a mere 75 minutes is a task worthy of Hercules himself, but luckily they weren’t the main component of her dish, with them being made into a supporting actor bonbon to her front billing’d fillet

and of course Mike was very excited about this dish because if last year’s competition taught us one thing it’s that Mike LOVES bit of a red meat – and he was very pleased with Holly’s cooking of the fillet. The whole dish garnered her high praise and deservedly so, it’s a very well conceptualised dish and savvily put together – I’m always surprised more people don’t go for mash over roast potatoes or chips in this competition, it’s much easier to get the timing right on! And it goes with everything, don’t argue with me on that.

Sarah was hoping to show off her technical arsenal with a starter consisting of Beetroot prepared three ways and I was very intrigued by this because John began listing the ways she was preparing it – roasted, pickled and “in a pot”

but it turns out John was just bored of saying “boiled” and as someone that has to find up to 9 different ways to describe something as “crunchy” every time I write one of these recaps, I can respect that. He was also having to find more creative ways of asking people about how it feels to be away from their families

a solid 6/10 – it’s a little clinical.

The fun thing about beetroot (and trust me, there are fun things about beetroot) is that it does allow you to be quite creative with the way you plate it all up, and while Sarah had opted for several different varieties of beetroot to maximise the colour of her dish, it did all look a bit like a very sparse collection of LEGO

I’ll blame the lack of beetroot on Holly making them buy her fillet steak and oysters.

The dish tastes great though and the use of elderflower in the dish is at least new to me. She also got the necessary aeration into the goat’s cheese, it was just a shame that the dish was gone in 3 John-mouthfuls, or Half a Gregg-mouthful.

For her main course, because unsurprisingly the six (6) pieces of beetroot were a starter, Sarah was going with Cod – pan-frying a fillet and also serving it with a Tempura Cod Cheek, which does mean I have to go on Cod Cheek Omelette Tangent

I think about Jordan, the poor guy who made it, just about every day – truly the Patron Saint of MasterChef Disasters and the reason I can simply not fathom cod cheeks outside of the world’s most cursed omelette. But Sarah’s tempura cod cheek was certainly helping remedy that

and we know Sarah can cook fish after the previous episode in which her lemon sole managed to keep its dignity while watching its… solemate (ba dum tish) suffer at the hands of Tigi. The dish as a whole is very good, I might not have done the peas and opted for a slightly more interesting green vegetable but I understand that she needed to bring a little freshness and sweetness to her chorizo fricassee, née Ragu.

Tigi was also doing fish and out to redeem his Lemon Sole Incident from the previous episode with a piece of Sea Bass that he was cooking in a jerk seasoning and accompanying with Broccoli, a Parsnip and Sweet Potato Stack a Marcus Wareing sized puddle of Sage Butter

Gregg however does not quite appreciate the wealth of butter that Tigi blessed them with, but Tigi certainly redeemed himself in the eyes of the Ichthyoid Kingdom with his perfectly cooked and wonderfully seasoned Sea Bass. It’s unfortunate that the accompaniments didn’t quite reach the same lofty high with the broccoli being butterlogged and the stack not being quite cooked enough and the decision to include Parmesan in the layers being questionable at best. I can’t believe the Parmesan Authorities concentrated on Holly’s Oysters only to let Tigi’s stack slip through the cracks – it is a flawed justice system indeed.

Closing out Tigi’s menu was his Key Lime Pie, of which one person was getting a little short changed

I’m always happy to see a Key Lime Pie, they don’t get the recognition they deserve as Elite Desserts and Tigi certainly made it look smart enough for a MasterChef quarterfinal

I really like the starkness of it all against the black plate, I think it looks very elegant. The flavour of it goes down well with everyone, the only issues being that the scattering of coconut could have been toasted to add an extra dimension to the plate and his coconut cream could have used a little more whipping, but it was certainly a successful dessert.

A Quarterfinal Dish Ranking

  1. Holly’s Oyster Bar
  2. Sarah’s Reclamation of Cod Cheeks
  3. Holly’s Cast of Beef
  4. Tigi’s Key Lime Spotlight
  5. Sarah’s Beetroot Bits
  6. Ally’s Virgin Pina Colada
  7. Tigi’s Sage Butter with a Side of Sea Bass
  8. Ally Shall Be Hearing From Tom’s Lawyers

Holly played a bit of a blinder with her menu and was easily through the semi-finals which upon hearing did give me one of the best gifs I shall ever make

It’s like a full 3 act play in a mere 3 seconds – I love her food but I might just want her to win the whole thing because upon doing so she might give us a whole Rogers and Hammerstein performance.

Joining Holly in the semi-finals was Sarah, with her only offense being her beetroot rationing

I’m very happy with this decision, as much as I’ve (for the most part) really admired both Tigi and Ally’s food, I think Sarah has a lot of potential that I look forward to seeing develop in the tougher semi-final challenges.

And if you want to see what this lot are all up to nowadays, here’s a link to their Instagram accounts:

Holly: HollyParnell
Sarah: SarahRankinCooks
Ally: AdiMiddleton

Tigi has a private Instagram account and I can’t find one specifically dedicated to his food, so we shall stan from a distance.

And if you’ve enjoyed this recap of MasterChef 2022’s second Quarterfinal and would like to support the blog you can donate to my Ko-fi account HERE!

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