MasterChef 2022, Episode 15: Premature Pureeing

Not sure I love the sound of Steven Wallis’ debut erotic novel.

It’s the last of the Quarterfinals and FINALLY, we have an octopus on the menu.

A Two Course Race

I’m still not entirely convinced that we can call these “Quarterfinals” considering we’re now on our fifth one, but I also only just scraped through my GCSE Maths exam so who am I to judge?

but my vendetta against Pythagoras aside, for our last and impossible quarterfinal the contestants will be cooking for Owner of Wahaca and proponent of Feta cheese as a Mexican garnish, Thomasina Miers

Steven Wallis in another statement scarf

and Kenny Tutt who has no discernible aesthetic qualities but we like him nonethless

truly the King of the Nice Bland White Man Era of MasterChef.

It’s a pretty good lineup to cook for for and while Hannah was losing her damn mind over the prospect of feeding Thomasina Miers

Farokh was poised like a Persian cat that just smelled someone opening the Dreamies

it’s the most threatening we’ve ever seen him look.

Kicking off the proceedings was Mark who was starting with a starter of Monkfish Fritters and Star Fruit – which after YEARS of gaslighting us into thinking that fish and fruit went together Gregg Wallace has some *interesting* news for everybody

the only real issue with Mark’s starter was the fact he used fresh star fruit, because all of the previous MasterChef champions were pretty happy with the Pickled Star Fruit

and because of his seasoning of the monkfish they were fully prepared to forgive that it was marginally overcooked – managing to not overcook small chunks of fish while deep-frying it is quite difficult.

For his main course Mark was getting a little more personal with it, basing the dish around the Lapland trip he and his husband went on, during which they got engaged – and apparently on said trip they mostly ate Elk – sadly the BBC couldn’t source a logistically available haunch of elk, so Mark was instead cooking venison – or just slightly warming venison, the venison and the pan were but passing ships in the night

John and Gregg had more of an issue with the cooking of the venison than the three returning champions did, who pretty much wolfed it all down and only really complained about the sauce being a little but thin, which it was and somewhat spoiled the stylishness of the dish – which featured the very intriguing “Crown-prince squash” because you know, the royal family really wanted a gourd to their name? But I thought it looked a rather divine plate of food – something about those colours is just very appetising to me

and I’m sure they all very much wanted to know the story about quite what happened to Mark’s apron because nobody has managed to soil an apron so thoroughly in a mere 75 minutes since Gabriel on Junior Bake Off

obviously they were not privy to Mark’s unfortunate premature pureeing

it happens to everyone Mark, nothing to be embarrassed by.

Radha was following Mark and had decided that she’d had enough of making desserts so she too was making a starter and a main course – her starter being Aloo Tikki (a vegetable croquette popular as a street food in India) which she was serving with a Tamarind Drizzle, a yoghurt dip and a Mint and Coriander Chutney as well as finishing it off with a dusting of Deggi Mirch, a mild chilli powder made from Kashmiri Chillies which is what makes it so bright red. And after WEEKS of begging contestants for more spice, more heat, MORE FIRE! John had the audacity to warn her about it

Radha is a stronger person that I because I might have been tempted to look him dead in the eyes and add an extra sprinkling just to his plate, but she showed restraint – I shall choose not to see the slates, I cannot perceive them. Slates? What slates?

and the dish goes down incredibly well, and was possibly the most well received dish of the episode with everyone marvelling at the exceptional balancing of spices and flavours. And you know it was particularly good because Gregg Wallace, clearly fresh off the Masterchef: The Professional series in which everyone made fun of him for just describing everything as “delightful”, wracked his brain for a different word and landed on “adorable”

which was a choice but we appreciate the effort.

For her Main Course, Radha was keeping things relatively simple and yet going quite risky because she was making a Dahl, which is somehow less aesthetically accomplished than a bowl of risotto – and rather than try to make it look pretty, Radha was just leaning into it as she poured the dahl over The MasterChef Rice Boob

and then capped it all off with a batch of okra fries alongside a flatbread and a raita

so, while I don’t like the word, I can’t really blame Gregg for describing it as “a mound of food” because it kind of is – and it’s a dish that gets away with being so and for all of its aesthetic shortcomings, it sounded pretty damn delicious and I loved that Steven Wallis had the exact same reaction to tasting it as Anton Ego in Ratatouille after tasting the titular Ratatouille

and once he had emerged from whichever childhood memory he had been sent back to, he could not praise the dahl more – and was also very impressed that the okra fries were crispy and not slimy. If this series has accomplished anything, it’s been a wonderful PR stunt for okra.

Following Radha was Hannah, who was the only person doing a dessert (or at least in her mind she was doing a dessert, others way disagree). Her main Course was a piece of tuna which she was rubbing in harissa and searing – she wasn’t happy with the cooking of her tuna, but I think there was still enough pinkness in the middle pieces at least

but it was unfortunate that Thomasina seemed to get the most overcooked piece

there goes your Wahaca gift card, Hannah.

Alongside the tuna she was making a Red Pepper Baba Ganoush, Crispy Kale, Preserved Lemon Salsa Verde and what might be the first Hasselback Carrot of the franchise

the novelty of The Hasselback Carrot of Notre Dame can’t quite overcome the slight disappointment in the lack of the flavour throughout the dish though.

Stegosaurus Carrots wasn’t the most inventive that Hannah was going because for dessert she was throwing her hat into the fraught ring that is Making Beetroot a Dessert – although rather than going the route of most people and just hiding pieces of beetroot in a brownie, she was making a Beetroot Tarte Tatin – which puts beetroot front and centre so there was absolutely no room to hide

it’s certainly a brave dish, and Hannah pretty much had to cross her fingers and hope they’d like it or at least understand what she was going for – unfortunately, judging by Kenny’s face, they did not

if Radha’s dahl sent Steven Wallis on a blissful trip down memory lane, this beetroot tarte tatin had Kenny Tutt reliving that time he thought a picture of the Boscastle Floods was a picture of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in a geography lesson and everyone laughed at him, which still keeps him up at night but nobody else remembers.

The dessert was a bit of a dud but I applaud Hannah for taking a gamble despite her boyfriend very much being a guinea pig and telling her he did not like the dessert – proving that sometimes, men are correct.

Lastly it was Farokh who was at his most Farokh with a pair of dishes that both came baring titles of their own – I am SO excited for him and Pookie to meet in the semi-finals, it is going to be a glorious implosion of high concepts. His starter was called “Mushroom Forest” and featured mushrooms being done two ways – dried mushrooms rehydrated in beer and then roasted and a Pan-fried King Oyster Mushroom, which I’m assuming Farokh made look as slug-like as possible on purpose

and you would think the slug-like mushroom might be the most visually divisive aspect of the dish, and then he accidentally broke the confit egg yolk which sort of melted into his mushroom ketchup

a sight Gregg was very much not enjoying

but you do at least have to appreciate Farokh’s attempts to pretty up the plate with his leaf-shaped crisp breads

I love that they look like the leaves you see drawn in the background of The Flintstones or The Land Before Time – it’s strange mix of very sophisticated adult food and slightly child-like playfulness and I think that’s pretty much Farokh in a nutshell – it’s fun! And if “Farokh in a Nutshell” isn’t one of his dishes at some point in the competition, I will eat a hat.

The Mushroom Forest is a little divisive, John and Gregg both decide that beer soaked mushrooms are not for them, whereas the previous champions all loved them – and Thomasina is apparently in for a sleepless night

I will now be writing the script for Lemon Cream: The Citrus Scare

coming to whichever streaming service is desperate enough. I really missed the Quibi boat didn’t I?

As for his main course… Well, in the couple of years that I’ve been recapping this show, I have described *many* a dish as looking like an Eldritch nightmare

and it was only a matter of time before before somebody did it on purpose

I have been bested at my own game, Farokh took my power from me – it’s a culinary coup. I cannot joke about the fact Farokh essentially served a plateful of Hadar BECAUSE HE DID IT ON PURPOSE

I begrudgingly tip my hat to the man, how dare he.

My new forming grudge aside, I do love it whenever somebody cooks octopus, it’s a food I have a fondness for because I ate it at university A LOT because nobody ever bought it from the Fishmonger so it was always super cheap and eventually I’m pretty sure he was just buying it for me. Needless to say, my flatmates were not always enthused by walking in on me with my hands full of an ink sac.
Octopus is one of the riskier things you can cook on MasterChef, especially given they only had 75 minutes and the pressure cooker is a favourite holiday spot for the MasterChef Poltergeist but Farokh did pretty well – the thicker ends of the tentacles were maybe a little chewy, but I think given the circumstances you have to expect that – and at least the end bits had that perfect crozzle to them. And the black lentils were a nice accompaniment – so once again, it was a dish that had a great aesthetic quality to it, and still held its own in the flavour department.

A Quarterfinal Dish Ranking

  1. Radha’s Adorable Aloo Tikki
  2. Radha’s Mound o’ Dahl
  3. Farokh’s Metagame Eldritch Nightmare
  4. Mark’s Venison in the Eyes of the Veterans
  5. Lemon Cream: The Citrus Scare
  6. Mark’s ~Fancy~ Goujons
  7. Mark’s Venison in The Eyes of Gregg and John
  8. The Hasselback Carrot of Notre Dame
  9. Hannah’s Experiments in Beetroot

It was a very exciting Quarterfinal to go into, it really could have gone any way – I was gutted for Hannah in that both of her dishes weren’t particularly well received, esp[cially considering she’s pretty much been in the top two or three every round so far, and I admire her for what she tried to achieve with the Beetroot Tarte Tatin, and I hope she continues to tweek at it, because I think there’s a very good dish in that concept somewhere, and if you want to follow her and keep up with that quest to prove her boyfriend wrong, you can on Instagram at ChefLapin, but she was unfortunately the first to be eliminated this round

and then things got divisive because the Veterans pretty much loved everything that Mark, Radha and Farokh made but sadly John and Gregg weren’t on the same page and because Mark had undercooked his venison and dared to combine fruit and fish which is suddenly very bad, he too is eliminated

and if you want to follow him, he’s at Mark.Ferasol on Instagram.

Which does mean that Radha and Farokh are the last additions to our semi-final line-up and in true Farokh fashion, he was briefly possessed by Casper the Friendly Ghost when he was told this

and if you want to follow them on Instagram, Farokh is (unsurprisingly) ICookWeirdThings and Radha is TheSpicyFlexitarian.

and so our Semi-final line up looks like this:

it’s a very eclectic mix and I think it’s one of the most interesting group of contestants we’ve had so it’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out.

If you’ve enjoyed this recap of MasterChef 2022’s fourth and somehow not final Quarterfinal and would like to support the blog you can donate to my Ko-fi account HERE!

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