For her main course, Hannah will be serving a plate of existentialism.
Unlucky Episode 13, so cross your fingers and Cinnamon Cinnamon. Those that know, know. Apparently?
The Final Audition
It’s the last week of heats and while everyone was mostly happy to muddle around and make awkward conversation, Amedeo was giving us Grade A shifty eyes because he *wanted* one of the last aprons
and while Amedeo looked like he had just got away with one hell of a bank heist, Farokh was giving us inverted metaphors
I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point he serves up “Upside-down Duck” given how proudly he told us all that he once cooked chocolate with a hairdryer – I am sorry though, but Marc from last year cooked chicken skin with a hairdryer
ball is firmly in your hair drying court, Farokh.
Farokh’s whole thing is that he loves to delight in the weird and wonderful and was hoping to showcase this with his Monkfish and Cauliflower that he was serving with a Walnut Curry Sauce
the judges love the unusualness of it all, but unfortunately his monkfish was a little bit raw, so he was right to fear the blood feud that he and vacuum packers have going between the two of them
but Gregg was particularly taken by the yoghurt that he had flavoured with dried mango powder – and I think it was a good thing that Gregg and John were confined to the Tastefully Decorated Tasting Room considering the plating method
I am very excited to see how many different ways Farokh can misuse kitchen utensils.
Farokh wasn’t the only one going for unusual presentation, as Angela had raided her local garden centre and come away with not only a terrarium but also a bit of firewood and a slate to serve her Nettle Gnocchi and Sea Bass on
as well as locking herself in a battle of the unusual aesthetics with Farokh, the two of them were also involved in their own private dance-off
the cupboard doors that Sophie Ellis Bextor has opened.
Aside from the egregious use of a slate that I am afraid we will have to cancel Angela for (#AngelaIsOverParty), I think the terrarium certainly helped her gnocchi which at one point did look a bit like she was further endangering the swallowtail population of Norfolk
it is only a matter of time before we do get pan-fried caterpillars.
It’s not the most cohesive dish – nor is it one that is particularly easy to eat, you know.. considering the general lack of a plate, and she could have probably just made the gnocchi and Gregg and John would’ve been just as impressed but at least The-Fish-That-Did-Not-Belong was well cooked, if a little ripped.
Also doing fish was Hannah, who has the wonderful ability to make everything she says sound like an amazing one liner – she’s like Victoria Wood and Milton Jones had a child, honestly put her on Live at the Apollo and just have her read a Nigella cookbook to the crowd.
As for her dish, she was making her take on Kedgeree, which she thankfully had the guile to not dub “deconstructed”. The unfortunate thing was that somewhere in her conceptualisation process she had decided to completely omit the rice as though this was MasterChef: The Professionals where carbs are cooked at a £30 fine per 100 grams. So instead her Kedgeree was Poached Haddock and a Deep-fried Poached Egg which were served on a pea puree, confit onions, pea shoots and a Curry Veloute
the egg was obviously the biggest risk and with Hannah threatening to yeet herself off the planet if the eggs weren’t good, the stakes were high but at least ONE was good
and Gregg wibbling the flabby white of his egg shall be going into the Cursed Egg Gif Archive immediately and I shall start preparing the Hannah-sized catapult immediately
as for the rest of it – it certainly shows that Hannah can cook and that she had good ideas but the dish was all leaning a little too sweet and could’ve done with something to neutralise it all. *cough* rice *cough*.
The last of our fish dishes came from the shifty-eyed Amedeo who was an absolute gift this episode, not least of all because while everyone continued the trend of Awkward Side Seat Banter, Amedeo was ready to give full MasterChef Australia Energy
which definitely mirrored his cooking style, which I can only describe as being Distinctly Sunday Brunch and if Channel 4 ever want to replace Simon Rimmer or Tim Lovejoy with The Nouveau Salt Bae, I for one will not stop them
he would fit right in!
As a nod to his Italian heritage, he was making a Risotto which he was serving with a Lobster Carpaccio and a Parsley and Basil Puree
on the positive side, he hadn’t brought shame up his family and his risotto was perfectly cooked, it was however a bit salty and when John said that I genuinely thought Amedeo was about to burn down the Tastefully Decorated Tasting Room
so it was then VERY brave of John and Gregg to further tell him that serving the large chunks of cold raw lobster was a very peculiar decision – and oddly that evening, John and Gregg found the tyres of their cars slashed
We’ll never know who did it.
John also took issue with the saltiness of Martin’s Jamaican Gravy, however I believe Martin would describe that as “the boom boom sensation”
it’s giving me Gia Gunn
sadly he wasn’t cooking fresh tilapia, and was instead serving his Jamaican Gravy as an accompaniment to Brown Stewed Chicken and Rice
it is an amazing sounding dish and the fact John and Gregg couldn’t stop eating it as he left is a testament to his cooking abilities – as was Gregg dubbing it “one of the best bits of chicken I have ever tasted” and I like to believe that Gregg has a wallchart at home that maps all of the places he has eaten his favourite bits of chicken at.
There were a couple of vegetarian dishes this episode – the first being from Radha, who despite her proficiency in the Cheese Toastie was not making one for John and Gregg
I’m still waiting for someone to make John and Gregg a toastie so good that it reduces Gregg to tears and before anyone says “a cheese toastie is too simple for MasterChef!” – Marcus Wareing made three professional chefs make him a grilled chicken sandwich on MasterChef: The Professionals and not a single one of them made an adequate sarnie.
Instead, Radha was furthering the MasterChef Meatball Oeuvre with a batch of Phaldari Koftas, which are vegetable koftas so their inclusion in the MasterChef Meatball Oeuvre might be controversial. She did very nearly have a disaster when she forgot to put the potato in her koftas – and the way she guiltily lowers herself behind the counter is one of my favourite moments of the series so far
she could probably have done with having Chief Potato Observer Michaela on the scene
but luckily she had enough time to regroup and add the potato so her koftas were complete
also shout out to her for being generous, we’ve had several dishes with a single meatball in sauce which is distinctly weird, even as a starter.
This is very much one of those dishes that I want to try – the filling of paneer, cheddar and cranberries sounds really interesting, as does the accompanying Makhani Sauce – it’s like 50% butter and cream, how could you not resist? She almost didn’t need the rice and roti, but you might as well show off that you can make a roti and rice that isn’t capable of causing blunt force trauma.
Zizi was the second of our vegetarian options, with hers being a nod to her Mauritian heritage – centering her dish around her Rougaille, which is a Mauritian tomato-based sauce that can feature any number of ingredients and spices. As well as the Rougaille, she was pan-frying some celeriac not-steaks and making a batch of Chilli Bites, which are a popular street food from Mauritius which I believe are called Gateaux Piments, but it was generous of her to not make John Torode fight the French language again
The dish doesn’t get rave reviews – or at least the celeriac doesn’t and she probably would’ve been better off just serving the chilli bites with a couple of dipping sauces – rougaille-esque or not. But I appreciate her for bringing something new to the MasterChef kitchen, and for giving us the inevitable steamed up glasses moment
we thank her for her services.
And now we return to the Meat Shores with Dean who was pan-roasting some venison that he proudly declared his son’s favourite dish – shout out to the gloriously bougie children who group up on venison as their parents furiously practice for MasterChef. His venison was being accompanied by the dreaded potato fondant, which now come with their own dramatic music sting thanks to Gregg
and while the potato fondant track record hasn’t been great thus far, Dean pulled them off spectacularly, so if any of the contestants for MasterChef 2023 want some advice, I think you’ve found your fondant sensei
As well as the perfectly cooked fondants, the rest of the dish also receives rave reviews, except for the sauce which had been reduced to a consistency that could potentially trap and fossilise a dinosaur
but it tastes good, so at least the stegosaurus would have a delicious death.
And our last dish comes from Mark who was following on from the legacy that Jan-Paul started by showcasing Filipino food with his Adobo Sauce, not to be confused with Mexican Adobo Sauce. The Filipino Adobo sauce is made largely using soy sauce, garlic and vinegar. Mark was however changing it up a bit and swapping the vinegar for Sake. Ordinarily Adobo Sauce would be used with chicken or pork belly, but Mark was also swapping that out in favour of a Peppered Steak which he cooked BEAUTIFULLY
this is perfectly cooked for me, but I can understand why he then finished it all off again for a more medium-rare finish, and the dish still looked and sounded phenomenal
I’m really interested in the addition of the figs – the whole thing is a truly inspired dish and certainly makes Mark a strong contender for the final.
A Final Dish Ranking
- Mark’s Figging Good Steak
- Dean, Fondant Potato Sensei
- Radha’s Nearly Potatoless Koftas
- Martin’s Best Chicken in the World 
- Zizi’s Chilli Bites
- Angela’s Gnocchi Fish Tank
- Hannah’s Riceless Kedgeree
- Farokh’s Misuse of Kitchen Utensils
- Track 7 from Katy Perry’s One of the Boys album Risotto
- The Rest of Zizi’s Plate
Mark and Dean were pretty much the runaway stars of the round so they easily secured themselves a pair of aprons. Then it came down to a decision between Radha and Martin and really they probably should have given them both an apron because their dishes were pretty equally matched, however they eventually decided on giving it to Martin and so Radha got Jan’D
Having all cooked savoury dishes in the first round, everybody was on dessert duty for their second attempts at securing an apron – and we were hitting quite a few squares on the MasterChef Dessert Bingo Card with pineapples, ample amounts of rum and a panna cotta all on show.
Radha was kicking off the proceedings by sending the fear of God into everyone by owning up to the fact she’s never cooked a full blown dessert from scratch before
and at first I thought she must be lying just a little bit and then she promptly asked how the egg beaters worked
luckily she managed to overcome her inexperience with baking equipment (imaginably by doing the opposite of whatever Farokh told her to do with them) and she produced a lovely Pineapple Upside-down Cake – which was of course being accompanied by a rum caramel and rum soaked pineapple with a lack of coconut being the only thing preventing it from being dubbed our one millionth Pina Colada dessert. She had also made her own ice cream which she was going to putting inside a Ginger Tuile Basket…
luckily she didn’t have to join Clive in a tuile induced villain origin story because it held perfectly
and for the amount of work she put in and for how good it all tasted, she is promptly dubbed “a superstar” – which is thoroughly deserved.
Zizi was also hoping to win rum addled bonus points with John and Gregg for her use of rum because her Bread and Butter Pudding wasn’t exactly going to be the showcase of skill that she probably needed, no matter how much mango and lime she laced it with
it was well made at least, with a perfectly crunchy outside and a nice moist, ever so slightly gooey inside but… it is kind of the thing you can whip up in minutes at home when you realise you forgot to make a pudding for Sunday lunch. And sadly she hadn’t quite calculated just how big John and Gregg’s rum intake was and it was sadly lacking, although I’ll champion her for a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for inventing Rum-flavoured Sugar Cubes
you may take all of my money, Zizi.
They weren’t the only ones going boozey though, as Hannah announced she was going to be doing a Poached Pear and just as I was about to start tapping the meme
she announced that she was actually poaching it in whiskey and was going to be serving it in a frangipane tart – so I think we can forgive this case of pear poaching because it is at least more than a fruit salad with economic status and it came out looking great, even if the whole pear sitting in the tart did remind me A LOT of Hedonism Bot from Futurama
Gregg is pretty delighted by the whole thing, which doesn’t surprise me because he and Hannah seem to have somehow start speaking their own secret language
I’m now slightly convinced she and Gregg are actually part of some underground criminal league and “Cinnamon Cinnamon” is a codeword for *something* nefarious and definitely not to go and slip a little extra gelatine in Amedeo’s panna cotta…
Yes, Amedeo was on Panna Cotta duty, really he had no choice. And he was serving it with the usual berry coulis and crushed biscuits, as well as attempting to ripple white chocolate with some of the coulis, which did not work and was promptly relegated to sit in a sorry sodden mess in the kitchen sink
which might be the most upsetting picture this series, although that honour could also go to the very rude close-up of Amedeo fighting back tears when John told him that his panna cotta wasn’t wobbly enough
it was such a shame because Amedeo was a really fun energy in the kitchen – look how excited he was to be there!
Nobody else ever gives the microwave a belly rub! I say that, but I thoroughly believe that Farokh probably treats all of his kitchen appliances to regular scritches and often calls them “good boys”.
Speaking of Farokh, momentarily I did think he was slightly falling short of his promise to never make anything ordinary or expected when he announced he was making “Iranian ice cream flavours” like Gregg had pulled a gun on him
if Farokh excels at anything, it is phenomenal reaction face – if I hadn’t been told he was a drama lecturer, I think I might have been able to guess based purely on his ability to dilate his pupils at will.
Iranian Ice Cream Flavours didn’t mean he was making Iranian Ice Cream though, in fact he wasn’t making ice cream at all. Instead he was using Saffron, Rose, Cardamom and Pistachio to make a sponge cake that quite literally looked like a sponge, complete with suds, foam and a plate of grime
it is pretty cool, even if the grey cardamom and sugar dust is mildly off-putting but I think what Farokh needs to be commended on is the fact that his food is beyond just a gimmick because the flavours stand up for themselves, which I think is what a lot of people who do make these high concept dishes often forget – we even see it happening A LOT with the professionals on Great British Menu.
Lastly we have Angela who was also staying true to herself and continue to showcase her love of foraging – for some reason in my notes I wrote “Angela steals from the rich” and I cannot remember why I did, but I do choose to believe that Angela is some sort of Robin Hood-esque heroine. For her dessert she was basically making a Lemon Meringue Pie and serving with a variety of foraged oddities including a Raspberry and Hogweed Coulis, Candied Rosehips, Baobab Seeds (which I can only assume she didn’t find in Yorkshire) and a Blooming Tea on tea on the side, which is not exactly a Rum Bribe but it’ll do
it’s a striking dish, and something about it is giving me Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)
and there’s certainly worse things for your dessert to look like than a very aesthetic folk horror film about a Scandinavian death cult. Her dessert is however a little hit and miss – the tart is almost a complete write-off with the pastry being too thick and the meringue still being really quite raw. But the gubbins around the outside all goes down very well – as does the tea, so there was still quite a lot going for Angela.
A Dessert Redemption Ranking
- Radha’s First Time Desserting
- Farokh’s Would Have Been First but I Don’t Like Grey
- Hannah’s Whisky Bribery
- Angela’s Foraged Gubbins
- Zizi’s Rum-soaked Sugar Lumps
- Angela’s Lemon Meringue Tart
- Zizi’s Bread and Butter Pudding
- Amedeo’s Panna NOTta
With his Panna Cotta being all a little bit too solid and his risotto not being much to remember, we did have to lose the blazing ball of energy that was Amedeo
but in more positive news, Radha gets her apron so I no longer have to roam the streets of London seeking vengeance
as does Ferokh, who gives a reaction to rival the Dramatic Chipmunk
they have distinctly the same evergy
and with Hannah joining them in be-apron’d glory
it comes down to a decision between either Zizi or Angela, with both having a niche they could easily fill – Zizi’s Mauritian food doesn’t often get seen on the show and Angela was bringing in some really unique and interesting ingredients – and ultimately they plug for the latter
which means that Zizi can go home and work on that Rum-soaked Sugar Lump business that I and I alone am interesting in investing in
I enjoyed Zizi on the show and I hope she had a good time too.
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