MasterChef 2022, Episode 9: Conquistador of Chicken Feet

Someone has clearly never been served a Bludgeon of Rice.

It’s the third of our quarterfinal and things are getting *bloody*.

A Two Course Race

This week’s set of returning champions are Ping Coombes (whomst we stan), Simon Wood (whomst Ioan stans) and Shelina Permalloo (whomst’s wardrobe we stan)

my favourite thing about having contestants return from further back than 2016 is that it reminds us that at some point MasterChef was lit like they were filming it in a submarine’s kitchen

at any moment Suranne Jones could burst through those doors telling nobody to touch the tins of grapefruit so God bless the Lighting Gods, I guess we had to sacrifice the semblance of a regular episode schedule. Is MasterChef on at 8pm on Wednesday? I don’t know! And whichever blindfolded employee threw the dart at the dartboard sure doesn’t either!

The first to face the judges was Jan-Paul who was certainly not playing it safe by having a large jar of Pig’s Blood sitting on his bench which was delightfully True Blood

the pig’s blood was being used in his starter in order to create a Blood Stew parfait – blood stew being quite a common dish found throughout the the world really, but especially in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe where just about every country has a variation of the dish. Of course Jan-Paul was basing his on the Filipino blood stew and was using Chicken Feet, which I’m probably in the minority of MasterChef UK viewers and actually quite like but I do find the sight of a pot of chicken feet to both be mildly amusing and ever so slightly very sinister – why are severed chicken feet *so* humanoid?

Gregg does declare that “We’ve never seen chicken feet on here before!” and I do have to be That Person, because we have and I do have a boneless_chicken_foot.jpeg from the 2020 series on file to prove it, so as much I would love to declare Jan-Paul the Conquistador of Chicken Feet, I cannot in good faith do that

I keep receipts like a YouTube Drama Channel apparently – I am the D’Angelo Wallace of MasterChef.

He wasn’t just making a straightforward Blood Stew though, he was turning it into a paté which was going to be served alongside 3 different Rice Cakes but unfortunately he ran out of time so they only 2 Rice Cakes making it to the judges and the crispy one being sacrificed to the temporal Gods

with Jan-Paul sticking to his simple plating style, it was a dish that was going to live and die but its technical success and unfortunately the paté is too grainy and as tasty as the pair of surviving rice cakes were, they were kind of just the Spiderman Meme of rice cakes

a fact made all the more glaring because Shelina being a Muslim couldn’t eat the parfait so had to be content with the rice cakes. Having the crispy one may have helped make the slight differences a little more apparent though.

It’s a real shame how this dish turned out because it’s food that I would really love to try but it’s very hard to find it on menus in the UK and I’m much too cowardly to make it myself because I’m not entirely sure I would get beyond the decanting of the slightly clotted pig’s blood

so I appreciate what Jan-Paul was doing with this idea and I really wish it had turned out as he wanted, but with 75 minutes on the clock and 2 dishes to make, it’s a tough ask.

He continued his championing of food from the Philippines with his main course being a Tapsilog, a sort of all-day breakfast which automatically means it is a God Tier food. A Tapsilog is usually thin slices of cured meat served with fried rice and an egg, which Jan-Paul was mostly staying true to but serving up his meat done two ways: one very rare and the other very much bordering on beef jerky (or that’s how Gregg Wallace described it, Jan-Paul just said “well done”.)
He was also fancying up the egg by confiting a duck egg, which sent the fear of God into me after suffering through a series of MasterChef: The Professionals in which everyone seemed hellbent on doing THE WORST THINGS THEY COULD POSSIBLY DO TO EGGS

I will truly never recover from the Brandy Confit Egg Disaster of 2021.

Jan-Paul was thankfully much more sympathetic to his egg and it was cooked absolutely perfectly

and did turn out to kind of be the star of the dish because I can’t say if his beef cooking was off or if everyone just misunderstood his intentions behind the two different kinds of beef because they did complain about it being underdone and overdone

I’m glad that his melting jelly broth at least worked and they seemed to appreciate that, as well as the fact his Chilli Foam managed to hold itself together better than I did when I began to see the writing on the wall for My Boy™.

Michaela was also cooking beef for her main course, going for Fillet Steak which she was serving with Parsnip Puree, Parsnip Crisps and a Tarragon, Basil and Mint what-she-called-sauce

despite the steak’s best efforts to be self-saucing, the dish did suffer from a lack of moisture and Shelina did point out that a jus wouldn’t have gone amiss. But all of the veterans were very happy with the cooking of their steaks, Gregg however was not and insisted on forking at the slightly too rare middle like a fussy house cat that killed a mouse and doesn’t quite know what to do with it

*whispers* I probably would’ve still eaten it.

Continuing on from her slightly predictable main course, she was throwing her hat into the Chocolate Fondant Ring and it was all looking a little up in the air as she insisted they needed another minute in the oven – and I have to admire her for making that call because OH BOY WAS THERE A LEON APPROVED GOOEY MIDDLE

that is my happy place.

The fondants are everything you could hope them to be: rich, chocolaty, gooey… But it was once again her accompaniments that let her down with the fondants being served with a raspberry sauce and the entire world’s supply of pistachio nuts

and what everyone wanted to counteract the sheer indulgence of the chocolate was some sort of a neutral cream, but it’s certainly still a dessert that Michaela should be very proud of.

Ioan was playing a risky game by taking on The Lamb Curse that has hovered over the franchise since Day 1 – although he wasn’t going for the frequently offending rack of lamb and was instead going for rump. He did have the added pressure of being from Wales and cooking Welsh Lamb and it did look a bit like he wasn’t going to welcome over the border again when he first took it out and it was slightly too raw

but thankfully he had enough time on hand to whack it in the oven for another few minutes and get it done right. Alongside his lamb he was serving balsamic onions, one (1) leek, butternut puree, an anchovy dressing, a Haggis Bonbon and sadly he hadn’t decided to erect another Parmesan Partition Wall

and if you’re wondering how Ioan got so much done in the time, it’s the frenetic energy that really helps

It’s like Rimsky Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee is playing in his head at all times

that video was for me and me only.

The dish rightfully goes down an absolute treat – the lamb is some of the best cooked lamb we’ve seen and everything just goes very well together and is very balanced – there’s literally no faults to be had with any of it except maybe a potato would’ve been nice? But I’ll take a Haggis Bonbon where I can get one.

His lamb dish was his main course and as a starter he had decided to go with Sea Bream which he was simply pan-frying and serving with an abundance of wetnesses including a Cannellini Bean Puree, Parlsey Oil and a Romesco Sauce with the Singular Chorizo Crumb there to add some texture

and of course there was a side of buttering-ing up

meanwhile below Simon Wood’s desk:

luckily for Ioan the “never meet your heroes” saying doesn’t hold true and Simon is very complimentary of his sea bream and the way he cooked it – as is everyone else who praise his seasoning and handling of some very vibrant flavours.

Lastly we have Olayemi who for her main course was sticking with her Nigerian cuisine and making Efo Riro, which is a type of Spinach Stew with “Efo Riro” being made up of the Yoruba words for “Spinach” and “to stir”. Besides the spinach the dish is often flavoured with various kinds of fish, Olayemi opted for Salmon, Smoked Mackerel and Sea Bass, over the usual crayfish. Efo Riro is usually served as an accompaniment to Rice, Plantain or Fufu but Olayemi was using it as an accompaniment to a piece of salmon as well as some Coconut Saffron Rice, Egusi (another West African vegetable soup thickened with melon seeds) and a pot of Tomato and Chilli Pickle – and in order to curb her tendency to over-plate she had used smaller plates

I’m glad she wasn’t then tempted to take the Vegas Vacation approach to plating up

Ah, the art of the buffet – a practice lost to the ravages of the pandemic.

The last time we saw Egusi on the show was during the celebrity series when Nabil served it alongside smoked barracuda which didn’t go down phenomenally well. Thankfully it was a much more successful outcome for Olayemi, with her choice of fish being much more popular, particularly the skin-on mackerel which added a good depth to the Efo Riro. But even with the two great sauces and the perfectly cooked salmon, it was her pickle that caught Ping’s attention

I’m still waiting on the MasterChef brand of sauces because we’ve now had several dubbed “worthy of being in stores”.

Olayemi was finishing off her menu with the obligatory Panna Cotta, but at least it wasn’t vanilla! Instead she was flavouring it with Coconut and Lemongrass and serving it topped with pineapple – but there wasn’t any rum so she wasn’t allowed to call it a Pina Colada, instead the pineapple had been seasoned with just a touch of Scotch Bonnet

it’s a crowd pleasing dessert – if the pina colada has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t go wrong with pineapples and coconuts. Much like the chilli ginger syrup she served with her Pina Colada Impossible Pie, the scotch bonnet on the pineapple is perfectly handled and adds a fun zing to the whole thing. She had also made a Citrus Sauce for the panna cotta but nobody mentions it and it sit neglected on the side

Alexa, play “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who.

A Quarterfinal Dish Ranking

  1. Ioan vs The Lamb Curse
  2. Olayemi’s Small Surface Area Efo Riro
  3. Ioan’s Not-So-Wet Fish
  4. Olayemi’s Virgin Pinna-cotta
  5. Michaela’s Pile of Pistachios and a Chocolate Fondant
  6. Michaela’s Fillet Steak Was Fine, Gregg
  7. Jan-Paul Taps Out on a Tapsilog
  8. Jan-Paul Has a Bloody Nightmare

I think it was a pretty easy decision this week, Olayemi and Ioan had two very good dishes each and made no mistakes between the two of them. I think Jan-Paul certainly knew his time on MasterChef was coming to an end based entirely on how relaxed he looked in The Shame Chimney

No thoughts, just vibes.
I really love Jan-Paul’s approach to food and he hasn’t made a single thing that I wouldn’t be very eager to at least try, and if you want to follow him on Instagram, you can at TwoHungryGaysians.

Michaela had a stronger episode than Jan-Paul but her main course had a few technical errors and Gregg Wallace is simply incapable of forgiving a lack of cream with a dessert and she too has to leave the competition

I’ve enjoyed Michaela as a contestant – there’s something very old-school MasterChef about the things she cooked, which I like because it felt more relatable (we rarely get a lasagne and we should treasure them when we do) and if you want to follow her on Instagram, you can at XOXO_GreedyGirl, and I VERY much appreciate that Gossip Girl reference.

So that means our latest set of semi-finalists are Ioan, Ioan’s biceps (oh, we’ve noticed) and Olayemi

I’m thrilled for them – if they’re able to go into Professional kitchens this year I’ll be very interested to see Ioan in that environment and if anyone is going to absolutely boss a mass catering challenge, it’s Olayemi and her inability to make less than 17 portions of rice at any given time.

And if you want to follow them on Instagram:
Ioan: IoansCookBook
Olayemi: OlayemiAdelekan

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

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