MasterChef 2022, Episode 7: Daddy Dimetrodon

Brave is the woman that cooks in fluted sleeves.

It’s the third week of heats and JOhn Torode is still adamantly insisting that he can handle anything hotter than smoked paprika. Do your worst lads.

A third week means that the Army of Deliveroo Riders grows ever stronger

it has got to the point where I don’t know if they were provided with these cool bags by production or if everyone, at such short notice, just had to frantically buy whichever ones came with next day delivery on Amazon.

The first contestant to plate up for John and Gregg was Darryll who, if nothing else, at wins The Sartorial Apron Awards

I do also love how freely everyone admits they bought their aprons when they got cast because it is a complete myth that anyone uses an apron outside of a professional kitchen – cooking a korma with the risk of permanently staining my blouse with turmeric is my idea of an extreme sport. I will be putting my proposal forward to the Paris Olympics.

Darryll was making a fish pie, but it wasn’t just any fish pie, it was an M&S Luxury Fish Pie a Fish Pie with Lobster in it which he was serving with samphire, a generous amount of hedge trimmings and a panko prawn erected like a mainsail as though it was about to plunder the seven seas

there’s a lot to like about the dish, and as someone who made it their mission at one point in life to sample every fish pie the pubs of Britain had to offer, Darryll’s has my full and undivided attention because John and Gregg love it – he was generous with the fish, it was all very well cooked, I’m sure someone somewhere has complained that lobster deserves better than a fish pie and they WRONG. The panko prawns didn’t go down quite as well with one side of them being much more cooked than the other, but it was a nice attempt to elevate the humble pie.

Also going for a classic was Johnny and you knew he was in hot water the moment John read that he was doing a bacon-wrapped chicken breast with a mushroom and white wine sauce and said “It sounds like something from the 1980s!” and then it showed up looking like it had been temporally displaced from Fanny Craddock’s own kitchen

the chicken and the asparagus are perfectly good but the sauce is… well, pushing the definition of “sauce” because I’m not sure we can call something that’s holding its shape “a sauce” and Gregg is, very bluntly not a fan

not even the truffle oil on the potatoes could buy him out of this one!

Ioan was also going for the bacon-wrapped approach with his Pork Saltimbocca and Literally-Anything-Else-He-Could-Think-Of and I would expect nothing less from someone that within seconds of entering the competition seemed to be eyeing up the other contestants like it was The Hunger Games and he was wondering who his next kill could be – his intensity is nothing but a joy to behold

the Career Tribute energy is STRONG – and yes, I am sorry for making Hunger Games references in the year of our Lord 2022. Who do I think I am? Chad Michaels?

as for what Ioan’s Literally-Anything-Else-He-Could-Think-Of was, he had the now obligatory Hasselback Potatoes, a salsa verde, the entire Tesco Express supply of novelty tomatoes, onion puree and a Parmesan Partition Wall that is hiding the aforementioned novelty tomatoes

truly it is the Daddy Dimetrodon to Lisa’s Baby Dimetrodon

I personally love the comically large parmesan tuile and Ioan’s attempts to brand it as a “leaf”, the judges however are not and, much like Tyra Banks in 2006, take issue with the proportions. But they cannot fault his techniques and the fact he seems like a culinary Swiss Army knife – where he’s hiding the toothpick, we’ll have to wait and find out.

I think what was most impressive about Ioan’s dish was the fact he made it all while also having to field Michaela’s hard-hitting questions

Michaela’s inability to identify the third most important food crop in the world from a mere 20 paces both had me worried and did give me an idea for a gameshow, nobody can steal “Which Vegetable Is It Anyway?” in which a group of players have to identify vegetables from varying distances. Danny Dyer to host.

Due to her potato-blindness, Michaela was not cooking with potatoes, instead she was going with tortellini which she was filling with a prawn mixture and serving with basil oil, a tomato broth and salmon roe because the BBC is paying

it is some of the most well made tortellini to have ever graced MasterChef – it’s very elegant, they’re perfectly uniform, the pasta is as thin as Gregg’s hair and I think she should be VERY proud of pulling it all off. John’s only issue is that he wished the tomato broth was a little more robust in its flavour, but really he should just be grateful that Michaela managed to serve any of it in the bowl

and Gregg rather bafflingly has decided that prawns, tomato and basil are not meant to go together despite the fact Prawn and Tomato pasta seasoned with basil being a staple on every Fauxtalian restaurant menu and I appreciated that Michaela was as perplexed by him saying this as I was

what I will say though is it’s not a dish that has a lot of character to it and I was a little disappointed that after talking so much about being very proudly Jewish, she didn’t cook something that showcased that – but it is also unfair to expect someone to cook exclusively within their heritage, but I hope we get to see that side of Michaela because we don’t often (if ever) get authentic Jewish food on MasterChef.

Michaela did have a Pasta Rival in Jan-Paul, who happens to be this week’s Hirsutal Delight and boy did someone in the editing department know it because he gets his own slow motion glamour shot

*David Attenborough voice* Magestic.

Fortunately Jan-Paul wasn’t challenging Michaela to her title as Leader of House Pasta, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Tortellini, Protector of Basil, the Mother of Broths, the Khaleesi of the Zizzi’s Pasta Menu. Instead he was going for Ravioli and I am thrilled that Gregg Wallace seems to have finally learned that Ravioli is already plural. More specifically, Jan-Paul was making Ginataang Hipon which is a type of seafood soup made with coconut – the word “Ginataang” basically translating to “done with coconut milk” as Jan-Paul explained. The ravioli side of it, is completely his own invention and not traditional to the dish and he was just wanting to flex by showing he can make pasta, WHICH HE SURE CAN

there were potentially better ways to plate it up, but given that the last time someone made ravioli they crucified it on a plate

I think we’re heading in the right direction of finally nailing the aesthetics of ravioli.

The flavours of his dish are incredibly well managed – it would be easy to make a dish containing both butternut and coconut much too sweet, but he perfectly balanced it out with his spicing and seasoning – it’s an accomplished dish so long live the Tortellini Queen and Ravioli King as they rule over their Pastamocracy.

There’s been a big focus on heritage in this series of MasterChef which I really appreciate because it’s meant that we’re finally seeing dishes and ingredients that we’ve never seen before from cuisines that aren’t particularly well represented in the British food television scene – I mean, the word “gastrogrub” has not been uttered by a single white man this series! And that’s what we call growth.

The biggest shift has been the amount of African food we’ve seen with Olayemi keeping the trend going with her Jollof Rice – a tomato and pepper rice dish that I think is probably everyone’s first introduction to West African food. I was naturally worried because John and Gregg critiquing food from Africa is never without weirdness (“It’s like a satay sauce!” still echoes in my ears and I am surprised the Malian government haven’t released a statement condemning John Torode’s stance on the Chicken Domada) but they did also keep a lingering shot of Olayemi stirring butter into her rice

and we know how that turned out for Has’s Pilaf… (I am still not over that by the way.)

John and Gregg however had no complaints about Olayemi’s Jollof, except they wanted a little more heat from it

I personally can’t blame her for Caucasianing it up a bit, and given how often John has said that he wants things spicier, I do hope next year’s contestants take it as bait to go the Full Merciless Peppers of Quetzlzacatenango

You asked for it Torode. You made them do it.

Much like Jan-Paul combining his Filipino heritage with some western elements, Ibz was also giving us a globetrotting dish as he mixed Guyanese, Jamaican and Pakistani dishes to make a truly incredible meal. The focal point of the dish was a Chicken Salan, a Pakistani chilli and peanut based curry that apparently gave John all of the chilli heat he could withstand without coating his tongue in wax

The Salan was accompanied by Shine Rice, which comes from Guyana and is made using coconut milk and often has dried shrimp or saltfish added to it and then very innovatively he had put a twist on his raita by swapping out the cucumber for a Jamaican fruit called a Chocho

which apparently does taste nearly identical to a cucumber and it was certainly something new to John!

But as good as Ibz’s food was (and it was outstanding), it’s his presence that really excited me

I’ve never seen someone just so instantaneously natural on television, the way he talked to cameras and knew exactly where they were at all times was masterful – he has all the potential to be the next big thing in TV food programming, he’s the same sort of lightning in a bottle charm as Nadiya Hussain from Bake Off. Give him a show just for making the awkward audition process side-banter not seem awkward – there were no potato interrogations from him!

Ibz wasn’t alone in making a Pakistani curry, as Nazya was making a Shikampur Kofta Curry, which I found to be a really interesting dish because I’ve never seen anywhere currying koftas, they’re usually served quite dry or in a flatbread of some sort so I was intrigued. The thing with koftas and their meatball kin is that they’re always quite process intensive and even more so when you have to stuff them and I think that and the pressure of the MasterChef kitchen may have got to Nazya ever so slightly because the koftas were beginning to dry out and the egg she had intended to serve it with wasn’t hard enough, which we kind of all saw coming when they cut to it boiling away while being only half submerged?

but you know, she made a perfect breakfast egg!

which you can’t be too disappointed about, but she did stress how necessary the egg was because it gave the dish some “oomph”

…more like, some… oeuf. I’M SORRY, DID YOU COME HERE FOR GOOD JOKES?

Despite the AWOL egg, her dish certainly showed her potential to bring interesting food to the competition

but it was a touch too oily and John was mortally offended by the fact her extremely good Cumin Rice was hidden beneath a salad that did look a bit like it had been shucked at the plate from 6 feet away. And given how the judging went, I can’t blame her for literally running out of the room

Usain Bolt could NEVER.

And lastly we have Sonu who is an absolute gift because she is serving reaction memes at an 11

Aside from serving endlessly memeable faces, Sonu was certainly going big with her dish consisting of a Fried Potato stuffed with Vegetable Kofta, which yes, did mean she was making a potato telescope

and you would think the hench Hula Hoop was going to be the oddest thing on her dish and then amongst the vegetable kofta and the malai gravy (a curry sauce thickened with cashew nuts) she had added an arancini spiced with paprika

which I fully understand the thought process behind – it’s not a long walk from a side of rice to deep-fried rice balls but it certainly seemed out of place, but very well made at the same time. There were also some issues with the potato being too hard, but the malai gravy goes down a storm.

An Audition Dish Ranking

  1. Around The World in 80 Ibz
  2. Jan-Paul, Ravioli King
  3. The Olayemi, Justice for Jollof Fund
  4. Ioan’s Everything And The Kitchen Sink
  5. Michaela, Tortellini Queen
  6. Darryll’s Fish Pie Sailboat
  7. Sonu’s Potato Telescope
  8. Johnny’s Fanny Craddock Timewarp
  9. Nazya’s AWOL Egg

With only three aprons on offer, Ibz and Jan-Paul were dead-certs for them and sure enough they got them, which is great but you soon realise that this means Ibz wont be in the rest of the episode

as for the final apron, personally I would have given it to Olayemi, but I might be biased because anyone that serves a jug of extra sauce on the side is speaking to my soul and I’m curious to know if Ioan’s dessert was as much of a Tudor feast as his Pork Saltimbocca, but ultimately he gets the apron, which was fair given how much work he put in.

Just Desserts

Having all cooked savoury dishes in the first round, they were once again having to redeem themselves through the power of desserts. Coming in to this round, Nazya probably had the most to prove considering she served an incomplete dish with the most technical errors, so you would think she might play it relatively simply – serve Gregg a well made crumble and custard and you’re pretty much golden. However, Nazya was going bold with a Chilli and Cardamom Chocolate Tart served with Chantilly Cream and an Ancient Druidic Ritual of Raspberries

chilli and chocolate very rarely works out for anyone in MasterChef, it’s either always overpowering or completely lost but I think the addition of the cardamom serves as a sort of bridge between the two flavours which made the whole thing that much more successful. And beyond the tart tasting great, she’d also made perfect pastry which John couldn’t praise any higher than he did.

Nazya wasn’t the only one playing with chilli as Olayemi was using it in a ginger syrup which got as much of a reaction out of Gregg as Holly’s Untouchable Broth did last week

but it worked extremely well with the rest of her dish, which was inspired by a Pina Colada and they really are going to have to ban Pina Colada themed desserts at some point because I’m not sure the rum industry can cope.

Aside from the fiery syrup, she had made an Impossible Pie, which are those desserts where everything is mixed into one batter and then during the baking process it separates into a custard and a cake layer – they’re great fun! But she wasn’t stopping there, she was also doing some caramelised pineapple, cinnamon ice cream and making ginger biscuits – the result being a dessert I can only describe as being Ioanic

she mostly just didn’t need the ginger biscuits considering she already had the ginger syrup and I think it would’ve neatened the plate up tenfold, but at the same time, who am I to look a gift ginger biscuit in the mouth? And if you’re wondering how she got so much done: she, much like myself, is a proficient and dextrous pot stirrer

Despite the cacophony of components, the cinnamon ice cream rather steals the show and John would have been happy with just that, the pineapple and however much of the syrup his newly chilli-tolerant tongue could take.

Darryll was keeping things in the realms of the tropics with his take on a Rice Pudding – the twist being that he was serving it with mango, passion fruit and for really no good reason a salted caramel sauce on the side

Even the Gregg’s Sweet Tooth cheat code has a limit and unfortunately Darryll had pushed it that little bit too far but they do love the way it was cooked and I enjoyed that it looked like his fish pie in disguise

Agent Double Sago 7.

It wouldn’t be a dessert round in MasterChef without at least one person making a panna cotta and this time it was Johnny who was on Wobble Duty with his Vanilla Panna Cotta with the obligatory berry accompaniment – it just lacked an extra element and with it being so simplistic it was giving me Paomon vibes

although, find me a panna cotta that doesn’t look like a baby Digimon.

He did at least get a good wobble on it, almost too good a wobble

that was one extra nudge away from yeeting itself off the plate! The issue for the judges however is the lack of flavour, which they blame on him not using a vanilla pod, a fact they really ran home by constantly zooming right in on everyone else’s vanilla laden ice creams. But they do at least appreciate the berry and brandy sauce as well as his attempt at sugar work. It could have used a biscuit or something though, maybe just nick one of Olayemi’s? I wont tell anyone.

While Johnny freely admitted to not being particularly comfortable with desserts and alluding to the fact that a panna cotta might be the only one in his arsenal, Sonu was very comfortable with them and much like Nazya, she was also making a tart. Sonu’s tart was filled with frangipane and topped with apples in the shape of a rose, which really came out rather stunningly

but as beautiful as the apple rose is, nothing is quite as stunning as her Honey and Amaretto Butter Sauce with its slightly salty marzipan flavour which I quite frankly want to bathe in

she smashed this round, I would travel the earth for this dessert, it sounds phenomenal.

Lastly we have Michaela who was taking on another dessert titan: The Mille-Feuille which is a tough ask even outside of the MasterChef kitchen and like many of the Mille-Feuille attempts before hers, it has flashes of brilliance but ultimately they came away from it a little disappointed

orange and chocolate are both big flavours and she had really gone all out on both of them and the whole thing just needed a slightly more neutral component to calm it all down – but the fact she got it all standing in only 80 minutes is pretty damn impressive, the anxious fridge hovering certainly paid off

and certainly averted a chocolate ganache disaster.

A Dessert Redemption Dish Ranking

  1. Sonu’s Buttery Apple Rose
  2. Nazya’s Fortune Changing Tart
  3. The 500th Pina Colada Dessert Celebration
  4. Michaela’s Meh-Feuille
  5. Darryll’s Thankless Side of Caramel Sauce
  6. Johnny on Wobble Duty

Once again, two of the contestants would have to be eliminated, the first of them being Johnny who can at least go home safe in the knowledge that he is the first MasterChef contestant to have a quiff so high, it repeatedly went out of frame, which did tickle me

The Royal Institute of British Architects will be sending you an award.

And then the final choice came down to either Darryll or Michaela with the decision ultimately being to eliminate Darryll

to be fair, it would have been cruel to make him wear any other apron than his specially bought Dachshund one.

This means Olayemi, Sonu, Michaela and Nazya all join Ioan, Jan-Paul and Ibz in the next round.

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

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