Celebrity MasterChef 2021, Episode 1: Aubergine Boiler

Nothing has changed since her turn on Strictly 11 years ago then.

Welcome to Faye Winter’s Spicy Nightmare!

It’s back! And with a whole new contingent of celebrities for people to suddenly declare “not celebrities” despite Paul Chuckle being an icon of children’s TV for like 2 decades and Danny Off Of McFly being part of a band that had like 15 consecutive top 10 singles – the chokehold McFly had over highschool girls in the lates 2000s cannot be overstated. And sure, if you don’t watch Love Island you won’t know who Faye Winter is but she has 1.2 million followers on Instagram and I’m sure at least a few of them are going to find her cooking her way through the entire Red’s True Barbecue menu very inspirational.

A Touch of Cloche

We once again start the series with the lifting of the MasterChef Cloches to reveal wildly disparate ingredients, Paul Chuckle and Nancy Dell’olio getting away relatively unscathed with mushrooms and cooking apples respectively, Kae Kurd meanwhile had to battle with his fragile masculinity as he refused to make eye contact with a pair of aubergines

and then being thrown in the deep end were Danny McMcFly and Faye Winter-Off-Of-Love-Island who were having to butcher and prepare a miscellaneous fish and a poussin – Danny beheading his fish with all the grace and swiftness of Mary, Queen of Scots’ botched execution

the things a man will do to promote his upcoming album within the first minute of the show

but for someone who had (clearly) never prepared a fish, he got there in the end with a perfectly respectable, if slightly confused dish of pan-fried fish, coriander rice, roasted tomatoes, asparagus and the obligatory crispy chorizo – a Celebrity MasterChef staple

AND the rice was actually cooked and hadn’t congealed into the form of a weapon capable of severe blunt force trauma,

Faye struggled a little more with her poussin, going for the Su Pollard approach of just shoving as many lemon wedges into it as possible before putting it in the oven because, as they say, out of sight, out of mind

and as much as I would have loved to see her just serve a whole trussed up poussin to John and Gregg, she did have to butcher it and she had a plan

visions of Faye desperately trying to carve the chicken with a butter knife flashed through my mind but sadly became unrealised as she did manage to successfully remove the breasts

John and Gregg were mostly impressed that she didn’t panic when she first cut into the bird and found out that it wasn’t cooked, but they also mostly liked the dish, her skin hadn’t crisped up but they liked her valiant attempt at a satay sauce despite the fact she usually barely ever ventures beyond the realms of mixed herbs at home.

Paul and Kae both had similar approaches in that they were just going to boil their ingredient and hope for the best, which works when your plan is to make mushroom soup, it’s much less successful when you’re just boiling aubergines and potatoes in some watered down tomato puree

which went about as well as you could expect when John Torode dangled the saddest, most sodden disc of aubergine you’ll see until Nancy cooks some in about 45 minutes time

and while Kae may have failed to cook his aubergine successfully, he did at least invent the term “Aubergine Boiler” as a sort of male counterpart to a “Bunny Boiler” and there’s worse things to be than the Glenn Close of MasterChef.

Paul Chuckle’s efforts in boiling vegetables went much better, which is a surprise considering his attempt to make toast

apparently the MasterChef kitchen does not have a toaster. But he did eventually make some garlic toast that John Torode described as “ferociously garlicky” despite the fact they looked plainer than communion wafers – no butter, not nothing

but his mushrooms soup… well, the issue with mushroom soup is that it will always be the colour of a slightly anaemic elephant

and so Paul decided to try to jazz it up, and his solution for this? To just spoon the dregs of his bacon pan all over it

which I’m not sure was quite the aesthetic revelation he wanted as he pushed a bowl of Krusty Brand Imitation Gruel across the table to John and Gregg

“It looks great!” they both lied through clenched teeth, and letting out loud “mmm”s as they both took mouthfuls of slightly burnt bacon fat and cream.

And lastly we have Nancy Dell’Olio who was having to contend with cooking apples and very much coming to the realisation that she was being forced to make a dessert, and you really knew you were in for something special when she basically just walked away from the table of extra ingredients with a single bottle of honey

and while the obvious thing to do when you’re given 3 great big cooking apples is to make a crumble, or if you’re feeling fancy risk it all on a tarte tatin, and if you’re feeling particularly lazy, just cover them in butter and bake them. Nancy however had other plans and made baby food which she tried to disguise by topping it with a pair of dried apricots

but because this is Celebrity MasterChef and there are egos to be mindful of, Gregg had to eat it and gurgle away like a very happy little toothless baby with his only gripe being that there was “no texture” and I fully believe that Nancy thought that roasting a pair of dried apricots was texture

but she had also made a jug of the world’s most ominous custard

it turns out she had just mixed milk, eggs and sugar together so what she had actually made was just a pourable sweetened omelette.

An Under The Cloche Dish Ranking

  1. Danny’s Freshly Filleted Album Plug
  2. Faye’s Smaller Turkey
  3. Paul Chuckle’s Prison Dinner
  4. Kae Curd, Aubergine Boiler
  5. First Time FUCK DIES

Playing Chicken

Rather regrettably they did not take notice of the 100s of letters I sent them and the Street Food Challenge persists as the second round of the heats, with this year’s first iteration being Korean Fried Chicken served with Brined Cabbage Kimchi Slaw

which I can’t complain about too much because I am by this point at least 80% Korean Fried Chicken, my heart bleeds gochujang paste. Less keen was Faye Winter who was having the most miserable time trying to identify ingredients through the power of sight, smell and ESP

and it was not going well, apparently her brain was clouded by the horrors of Kae’s boiled aubergine

but she wasn’t the only struggling as Nancy was coming off second best to the chicken, and shout out to the editors for this deliciously shady smash cut

and you would think that the deep-fried chicken wings would maybe be what everyone struggled with and yet like a Rube Goldberg Machine of brassican wrongness, the vast majority of them all over thought and over complicated their Brined Cabbage Kimchi Slaw – none more so than Nancy and Paul who, possessed by an entity beyond description, decided that the correct method to make coleslaw was to pan-fry it

John and Gregg did try to course correct the two of them, Paul very much accepting the telling off John had given him for flash frying coleslaw, Nancy however persisted with her efforts much to the concern of Gregg who looked like me watching Nancy and Anton fighting a feather boa and calling it a waltz

and very much just served up some Miscellaneously Asian Stewed Vegetables instead of a coleslaw

but those that correctly identified that coleslaw doesn’t in fact need to be sauteed, weren’t immune to committing crimes against cabbage because the Brined Cabbage got the better of them – Paul Chuckle thought it was just a variety of cabbage and didn’t actually do anything to it, which was a relief to John because everyone else correctly brined their cabbage but they didn’t then rinse the cabbage and so John Torode was served roughly 400 grams of salt by the end of the day and was slowly but surely succumbing to the effects of hypernatremia

which delighted Faye no end as she got her revenge for being forced to smell something spicier than a Pumpkin Spice Latte

and for someone that hadn’t actually managed to bring themself to eat much of the dish she did very well

it’s the first time she’s cooked something that Nando’s wouldn’t describe as Plain(ish), I think she should give herself a bit of a pat on a back, maybe buy herself something from BooHoo as a treat.

Danny also did quite well but in true Child Who Is Far Too Invested In The Parasocial Relationship Between Them and Their Teacher fashion, he agonised over the fact that instead of the gochujang paste, he had instead lumped in the chipotle paste

so he did what anyone with an unhealthy view of perfectionism would do and went and bought some high quality fillet steak as an apology.

The star of the round though was Kae whose dish was practically faultless

and I will admit, my heart did grow three sizes when he was talking about how proud of himself he was for managing to cook the dish

the things you can do when you’re not blindsided by a pair of throbbing aubergines

Dinner Parties and Diatribes

Ahead of the first elimination the celebs had one last chance to impress John and Gregg with their go-to dinner party dish which Danny was absolutely just using as a flex with his Wagyu Steak dish inspired by a meal he had in a restaurant while touring with McFly in Japan, the dish however was more of an Argentinian affair as he was serving it with a Chimichurri Sauce, Crushed Potatoes and my personal MasterChef nemesis, the Charred Cabbage

the sooner we as a society decide that lightly burning whole wedges of cabbage is an unacceptable practice the better, but that’s apparently a long way off as John and Gregg both praise the dish as a whole, falling just short of pinning a little gold star to Danny’s shirt.

Kae was also doing steak, although he wasn’t going for the full Wagyu experience and was opting for a regular ribeye steak and serving it with Macaroni Cheese, a Barbecue Sauce AND ABSOLUTELY NO VEGETABLES, AS GOD INTENDED (unless of course you count the entire bushel of thyme he had thatched his beef with)

he’s my MasterChef Champion purely for advocating for Mac’n’Cheese as a side dish, which John and Gregg both liked however they had a few issues with steak and how rare it was

I personally see no problems, there is no such thing as “too rare” when it comes to steak, there is only weak teeth.

Paul Chuckle was doing the most complex dish with his Salmon Wellington, which is just Salmon en Croute by any other name

it’s a very impressive plate of food, especially considering he gleefully dropped the fact he hates fish about halfway through wrapping the salmon in pastry and given the amount of times we’ve seen people trying (and failing) to wellington any and every cut of meat or vegetable, I think this is one of the most successful attempts at it.

The last of our main dishes came from Nancy who was making an Aubergine Parmigiana which is a great dinner party dish because all you have to do layer everything in a dish and roast it for as long as possible while you all get wine-drunk in the next room. So God knows what she she did with the rest of the time because she literally served it with nothing else except for three (3) all important basil leaves – there wasn’t even a new species of custard on offer

apparently she had deep-fried the aubergine beforehand which is an interesting approach and despite her twice-cooked aubergine, John and Gregg were still finding slightly raw chunks of it swimming in her fairly watery tomato sauce but they assure her that they liked the taste of it all.

And seeing us out with an American diner chain dessert was Faye and her New York City Cookies, and you know they’re American-style cookies because she had rolled them into balls the size of tennis balls before baking them

and unfortunately when baking them she had forgotten to turn on the timer so she was on oven watching duty which reminds me that Bake Off must be starting soon and I shall be buried beneath recaps

and I’ve just realised she was cooking while wearing pleather trousers which must have been as uncomfortable as Nancy tottering around the kitchen in a pair of 5 inch heels, trying to peer into the oven like Godzilla’s glamorous mother

5 inches is a Versace flat.

Alongside her Big Cookies™, Faye was serving a Clotted Cream Ice Cream and a smear of what I imagine is probably just plain clotted cream to fill some space

John found it all a little bit too sweet, which obviously means that Gregg devoured it in about 2 bites – it would have been one but these are Big American Cookies™ filled with freedom, dreams of economic prowess and overly complicated government structures that I will never understand.

A Dinner Party Dish Ranking

  1. Salmon en Croute By Any Other Name Would Taste As Fishy
  2. Danny’s McFlex
  3. Kae’s Anti-veg Stance
  4. The Frankie and Benny’s Dessert Menu
  5. Nancy Dell’Olio’s 20 Minutes Of Work

Well I was VERY disappointed with the result of this episode because sure enough Nancy Dell’Olio, subjected to the judges’ opinions and unaided by a slightly malicious public vote, was the first boot of the series

even Gemma Collins managed to scrape through the first episode despite cooking a Cointreau Curry before just about being voted off of the MasterChef Island by the rest of the her competitors the very next episode. I am bereft that we’re not going to see Nancy having to put on a hairnet and mass cater for the staff of Chester Zoo, MAY SHE HAUNT JOHN AND GREGG FROM HER GLITTERY COFFIN

when I die, bury me with a bedazzled champagne flute.

And so, we’re down 1 celebrity already, and BEHOLD! The mammoth elimination wall!

And if you’ve enjoyed this recap of Celebrity MasterChef’s 2022 return and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi HERE.

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