Eddie McMasterChef has arrived at the Met Gala.
It’s the penultimate episode and both food and looks are being served.
Twisted Final Starter
In order to decide the final three and who will be mercifully spared having to contend with Gordon Ramsay’s ego, the remaining four contestants all had to create a dish that put a twist on a classic – and John and Gregg are very much in full gatekeeping mode as to what constitutes a classic and what a good or bad twist is.
Seeing as it was a last hurrah ahead of the final, Pookie and Eddie had both got dressed up for the occasion
and Radha and Sarah were not in on the memo because it’s now apparently Heat One vs The World. I just hope that Eddie knows that he is now contractually obligated to choose one of the following options:
A. Open a vintage ice cream parlour.
B. Fight Rose from Pottery Throwdown for Bowtie Supremacy.
C. Become the next Doctor on Doctor Who.
The reason for Eddie’s bowtie was because, seeing as he was having to take on a classic dish he was going to do some classic Keith Floyd cosplay – but apparently wasn’t going to go full method acting and drink a whole bottle of wine as he made his take on Lamb Rogan Josh – but that didn’t stop him from doing an impression of Gregg that sounded more like Alan Sugar when he’s struggling to tell a joke that someone wrote for him. He did also threaten Mr. Bean cosplay so I have high hopes for the final.
But enough about Eddie’s dressing up box, for his twist on the Lamb Rogan Josh he was presenting it in a style that was much classical French in appearance and accompanying it with Pommes Anna
John and Gregg both love the dish and once again enthuse over how well he manages to balance his spices to give his food that rich depth of flavour with the smoky Rogan Josh sauce and the piquant pickled pumpkin.
Eddie wasn’t the only person doing lamb as Sarah was using a cannon of lamb as part of her take on Haggis, Neeps and Tatties which was part of her attempt to take the Burns Night staple to loftier, fine dining heights. Although John was doing her no favours by calling her haggis stuffed feuille de brick pastry tube “a deep-fried sausage roll”. But perhaps it was just revenge for making him relive his own personal ‘Nam during their short Ballymaloe holiday, after which Sarah did feel like she had a little bit to prove.
As well as the New Money Sausage Roll, Sarah was making a turnip puree, Potato Scones and a Dun Duh-dun Dun Daaaah! Potato Fondant
I think she certainly managed to achieve the goal of smartening the dish up – it isn’t my personal favourite style of presentation and there are shades of her Smatterings of Beetroot about it, but that seems to just be the fine dining playbook these days.
As for the quality of the dish, it’s a bit of a mixed bag and she manages to pull off the dreaded potato fondant perfectly, but we were sadly overdue a raw lamb incident and unfortunate, for Gregg at least, the lamb was underdone
and you knew Gregg wasn’t going to be happy because we had been treated to Chekhov’s Grimace when Sarah first began slicing it
John however proceeded to wolf it down without any obvious signs of food poisoning later on so that gamble worked out for him. John wasn’t quite so happy with the cooking of her potato scones which had caught on the bottom and were rather burnt
but I believe in Michelin Star circles, we call that Charred.
But I think Sarah was just happy to get through the whole service without breaking the plates of an Irish culinary legend
The last of the savoury dishes came from Pookie who was doing a take on the rather enigmatic Snow Fish, which seems to be a name given to Black Cod to make it sound more mysterious, like some sort of Himalayan marine cryptid, although if anyone was going to make it into an actual Himalayan cryptid, Pookie is probably the woman to go to
I think they realised it the moment you served them prawns mashed into the shape of a starfish.
Black “Snow Fish” Cod is often steamed and served with a simple medley of soy sauce, ginger and spring onions – or at least that’s what I learnt after falling down a 40 minute rabbit hole of small cookery channels on YouTube. Which was the basis of Pookie’s dish, except she’s Pookie so naturally she was dyeing the rice a colour nobody has ever thought rice should be
it’s amazing how if anyone else spent the time dyeing rice the colour of LEGO pieces I would roll my eyes so far back into my head they would never return, and yet when Pookie does it I just clap along like a monkey with a cymbal having a great time. I think A LOT of chefs could learn something from her and her attitude to food and this certainly isn’t an allusion of things to come…
As well as dyeing her rice a colour that Dulux assures me is Kiwi Burst 1, she was also creating a yuzu and ginger foam as well as tiny spheres of white soy and cream (deep breath Radha, you can’t *own* spheres)
it’s definitely Pookie’s most well composed dish, everything else thus far has always been a touch gimmicky [complimentary] so it was nice to see a dish that genuinely feels like it came straight out of a restaurant and wasn’t designed to look like the time she had a life changing epiphany when she saw an albatross in flight and was stunned by its elegant majesty.
And John and Gregg don’t have a single negative thing to say about the dish, and after spending a single episode on the I Hate Foams Train, Gregg is apparently completely over that *brief* phase – they grow up so fast!
Radha had put herself on dessert duty and was walking a very dangerous path by deciding to deconstruct a Black Forest Gateau
the good thing about a Black Forest Gateau though is it does provide you a perfect gateway to serve a very strong cocktail on the side of it
Radha’s penchant for a cocktail apparently comes from the fact that during lockdown she, her dad and most of the rest of the nation spent their lack of time having to drive learning to mix increasingly lethal amounts of liqueurs and spirits together. No commute to work? I guess that means Bloody Marys are now a Tuesday breakfast staple. On Wednesdays we drink Cosmos.
As for the parts of Radha’s dessert that didn’t have the floormanager carding her at every step of the process, she had made a Cherry and Yoghurt Ice Cream – with the perfect quenelle sadly still alluding her
and for the main body of the dessert she had reduced to the Black Forest Gateau to Cherry Jam, Chocolate Soil, Kirsch Mascarpone Cream, a Popping Candy Chocolate Shard and a Chocolate Brownie that she was using to broaden her geometric horizons
John and Gregg aren’t wild about her presentation and take particular umbridge with the fact she didn’t take the time to make her chocolate shard into the shape of a leaf at which point Radha just completely disassociated like she was John whenever someone mentions there’ll be a 2 minute wait
but as ever, the flavours were all good – or at least it all tasted of chocolate and cherry which is about all you could ask for from a Black Forest Gateau before the the UN storms in to fine you for transgressing the PGI regulations.
It was going to be rough regardless of who got eliminated because all four of them have had very strong showings and to narrowly miss out on The Final Actual would naturally be very disappointed, but at least they had Eddie on hand to soften the blow by conducting a therapy session while John and Gregg deliberated
if he doesn’t win the show, he’ll at least win Miss Congeniality.
It was pretty obviously a decision between Sarah and Radha, which was difficult because I think Sarah had the better concept, and Radha had the better cooking and ultimately that was deemed the more important factor and Sarah finishes in a solid fourth place
as with anyone that reaches this point in the competition, I’m sure Sarah will go on to do something incredible and make something of a name for herself within the Scottish culinary pantheon, and if you’re interested in seeing what she does next, you can follow her at SarahRankinCooks on Instagram.
And Now, An Advert For Gordon Ramsay’s Restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Full word of warning, everything I wrote from this point onwards is slightly gin infused. Blame my mother.
The last stop before their 3 course finale, was to go and cook under the guidance of Gordon Ramsay and his head chef Matt Abé – which is obviously a big deal given that Gordon has had three Michelin Stars for 21 years, but the contestants aren’t the only ones getting something out of this exercise in high end fine dining because it does mean that Gordon Ramsay finally gets to be part of a show that people are actually watching
I may have the utmost respect for the man as a restaurateur but as a TV personality, the man is Box Office Poison and I can only imagine the BBC keeps giving him TV shows to host because they’ve made a deal that if he gets 5 hosting gigs, he has to do Strictly Come Dancing.
Much like the Ballyhoo at Ballymaloe each of them would be in charge of a different course, making 7 plates, 4 for the only people still in Gordon Ramsay’s social circle, 2 for John and Gregg and 1 for
the little boy who lived down the lane the camera operator to film and snaffle while nobody’s looking. However, they were not going to be designing the dishes themselves.
Pookie was on the starter, Eddie was being destroyed through the medium of a roast chicken on mains and Radha was going toe to toe with quenelles in dessert.
For her starter Pookie was making Ravioli filled with Lobster and Salmon Mousse – and Gordon Ramsay was very keen that we all knew there was £25 worth of lobster in each raviolo, except he said ravioli because apparently we’re ignoring Italian grammar again. We had come so far last year, why must we go backwards?
The biggest challenge Pookie faced was the preparation of the pasta, mostly because she had to get it extremely thin and work fast enough to not let it dry out in the heat of the restaurant, but also Matt Abé had a habit of sneaking up behind her terrifying her in the middle of very fiddly operations
I suppose it at least keeps everyone in a catlike state of attention and nervousness.
Filling the ravioli was also a difficult affair because after all you did have to make sure everyone go that 2 and half hours of minimum wage labour worth of lobster – look, he didn’t *have* to mention the price, it’s a little gauche. And after a false start in which Pookie tried to seal a raviolo without an egg wash and serving the first lot of them slightly underboiled and cold the middle, she got there in the end with some perfectly respectable looking ravioli
and she really had worked the pasta beautifully – it was wafer thin and hadn’t burst at all and her salmon mousse was the perfect texture and correct ratio to the 2000 Skittles worth of lobster. You better appreciate that one, I had to do maths through a gin induced fugue state. And now I just really want a bag of Skittles.
Eddie’s main course was roast chicken that had been stuffed with a Chicken and Bacon mousse – and unfortunately Eddie had made the mistake of smiling while in the general vicinity of Gordon Ramsay and in this moment he decided that Eddie must be destroyed
and also Eddie hadn’t really had a misstep in the competition so far so they needed him to have some sort of a character flaw because him being worse at impersonations than Derrick Barry doesn’t really affect the stakes of the competition.
Eddie did also have a very tough job because he did have to debone a whole chicken without piercing the skin, which I honestly didn’t even know was possible and while Eddie tried his best to perform that surgical mystery, Matt Abé stood behind him looking like someone standing behind a 70 year old woman paying for her groceries in pennies
and the big theme of the main course was that Eddie was just being too slow because he, much like Natalie Portman in Black Swan, just wanted to be perfect and you knew this was bad, actually because Gordon Ramsay burst onto the scene accompanied by some extremely bootleg Darth Vader music – one day Gordon Ramsay will accept that he is bona fide unintentional camp that Susan Sontag would be proud of, and on that day he will manage to host a successful show.
The most infuriating part of the whole thing was when Eddie had to slice the chicken because he was, under no circumstances, allowed to even slightly tear the skin of the chicken which, allegedly, didn’t go to well the first time and the first chicken breast was unservable
perhaps it was worse in person? Because on camera it looked fine? With every cooking show putting such an emphasis on minimising food waste, it just seemed a touch weird to then decide that this perhaps lightly torn piece of chicken wasn’t worth serving, it just seemed very out of touch. I’m sure it got eaten by a member of staff or used to make stock – I did however appreciate that by this point Gordon had stopped mentioning what his food was worth, because even he is a little self aware.
Luckily Eddie did manage to correctly slice the next chicken and plate it all up to Gordon’s exacting standards
and as well received as the chicken is, it’s his accompanying consomme that garners him the biggest compliments from Pierre Koffmann
I imagine that went straight on the CV.
And playing out the service was Radha who had apparently taken pastry tips from Sarah and made life very difficult for herself by making the pastry incredibly thin and fragile, which did mean that the majority of her tart cases for the fruit and custard tart she was making couldn’t actually be used so they had to pull a Blue Peter and let her use some that Matt had made earlier – which did make the fact everyone who ate the tart spent most of time talking about how good the pastry was a bit confusing because you didn’t know if it was Radha Case or a Matt Case.
But the biggest cause for concern was that Radha had to face quenelling all over again and Gordon was not simply going to shrug and hand her an ice cream scoop, no he was going to look over her while she tried her best to quenelle a scoop of spiced mascarpone and after a few that skewed a little large she seemed to get a hang of it
and I now hope that every dish in her finale menu features a quenelle of something, just to prove that she can do it! It would be kind of an iconic flex.
I’m looking forward to seeing how their experience of Michelin Star food preparation affects their own food and presentation – it’s always the biggest leap forward and I’m a little sad that it’s coming to an end to be honest, it’s been such a good series!
And so, our top 3 go on to the finale
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