Ah yes, the face of meringue regret.
Tonight the role of Danny Jones shall be played by a hive of bees in a skin suit.
In a slight change from last year’s format, they’ve dropped the short round in which everyone had to try and guess the names of fruit, cheeses, German speciality wines or herbs – which I was a bit sad to lose because it did give me my drag king name, Alfonso Magoo after Joe Swash’s valiant attempts at identifying tropical fruits
Instead the four remaining celebs are launched straight into the blind recipe challenge which this week was for them to create Oeuf a la Neige, or Floating Islands which are poached meringues floating in Creme Anglaise – it’s the sort of nonsense dish that I will only ever believe was dragged into existence when a pastry chef, three glasses of sherry over the limit, realised he had to make a dessert dedicated to whichever opera star was the It Girl of 1858
I would simply quit opera in shame knowing my legacy was forever tied to this dish.
It wasn’t much of a surprise that none of them really knew what Oeuf a la Neige was, none more so than Faye who was clearly having tragic memories of French oral exams flash before her eyes
but once they had kind of explained it, she was rather delighted at the prospect of living out her long held dream for making meringues after her tragic meringueless childhood, I’m just sorry for her that it was *these* meringues
she actually did surprisingly well, it helped that she’d obviously made custard before and was getting a fair bit of help from John and Gregg, the latter of which was ready to dub Faye the next Herbert Sachse for clawing her way through a Floating Island and baking a big cookie – the lofty highs of Patisserie Stardom.
While Faye managed to stay relatively composed throughout her ordeal, Danny was a ruined man and spent the first few seconds of the challenge just gritting his teeth at the ingredients before just launching right into it with the energy and enthusiasm of a misbehaving schoolboy in chemistry class dropping increasingly large chunks of lithium into water (why were we allowed to do that?)
he was mostly thrilled to discover that egg yolks do in fact turn things yellow – Colour Theory with Danny Jones coming to a CBBC Channel near you!
With enough unsubtle hints from Gregg and John, Danny did eventually got there, at least in concept because his meringue was floating in a frothing custard which was all a little bit too primordial
as it turns out the centre of his meringue was basically uncooked and his custard was merely just Nancy’s Custard Of A Type 2: Salmonella Boogaloo
and it honestly surprised me that John Torode had not one but two mouthfuls of the stuff, the things he’ll do to save the Bantersaurus of the series.
Danny truly never recovered from this ordeal, having become completely and utterly possessed by The Bantz and would spend the rest of the episode sporadically bursting into fits of laughter like a parrot that just learned how to a laugh – which was fairly endearing up until this point
Kae seemed to have the hardest time with the challenge but also definitely got the fewest leading hints from John and Gregg, like they could have at least told him that he didn’t have to pick individual seeds out of a vanilla pod like some sort of divine punishment from Greek mythology, John Torode playing the role of Poseidon, The God of The Sea and Being Incredibly Petty – loving every second of Kae agonising over those tiny little seeds
but this was only the beginning of Kae’s woes as he didn’t make his meringue correctly, adding the sugar to the egg whites before beating them which meant he was just ladelling liquid meringue into his poaching liquid
and then bringing forth from the simmering milk a lump of slippery sodden meringue like the body of a failed Mew clone
and while he contended with that moral dilemma, his custard was turning into sugary scrambled eggs and his caramel had burnt beyond saving and he had just given up and just dowsed the barely floating island with pyrolyzed caramel like an unhinged weatherman giving a unique illustration of the heatwave’s effect on the UK
and I for one applaud him for using his platform to speak out on the climate emergency.
Lastly there was Paul Chuckle whose attempt at making the dessert just seemed completely normal after the previous three attempts – sure he mostly just chucked everything into pots and hoped for the best, but something you just have to keep it simple and he got away relatively unscathed
and had probably the most edible dessert of the lot and as a treat got to go luxuriate on the couch
it’s what he deserves.
An Oeuf a la Neige Ranking
- Paul Chuckle’s Totally Normal Island
- Faye Winter’s Childhood Dream Comes True
- Danny’s 2 States of Raw Egg
- Kae’s Diorama of The UK
Restaurants and Relaxation
Rather regrettably they haven’t dropped the Shameless Plug For a Chef’s Restaurant Challenge, with this round being a challenge for the celebs to recreate the dishes of Chantelle Nicholson who is a New Zealand chef famous for coming to prominence on an Ambiguous Popular New Zealand Cookery Competition that not even her Wikipedia bio lists but she’s VERY POPULAR IN NEW ZEALAND, TRUST US.
Faye found herself thrown in the deep end once again, having to both fillet a fish and shuck oysters for the first time in her life, which was as much a lesson in basic marine biology as it was cookery
and much like her approach to carving a poussin being to just replicate her mother carving turkey on a smaller scale, she was hoping to translate her beauty skills to the challenge
and when she wasn’t turning Gregg and Chantelle’s stomachs, she was having a crisis of confidence while shucking oysters because as it turns out nothing you can do with a Mac branded tapered fluffy brush really translates to tearing open an oyster
and so the crimes against shellfish begin for this series – will anyone top Megan McKenna’s reign of lobster terror?
And given that a lot of this dish was a first for Faye, she did very well
of course everyone was obligated to rave about the dishes and offer absolutely no critiques because this was just 20 minutes of saying “Chantelle is smart, Chantelle is kind, Chantelle is important” to camera over and over again – it’s a very redundant feeling challenge.
Kae’s dish was a courgette flower which he was having to stuff with homemade ricotta, which he wasn’t greatly enjoying because as it turns out cheese “doesn’t agree with him” and you could see the exact moment that Chantelle began to regret this experience
he was also struggling to come to terms with accepting that a courgette flower wasn’t a sentient being
and to be fair, what he served did look a bit like a Lilligant had been involved in a hit and run
he had a bit an issue with the deep fat fryer, potentially mostly because he got a little distracted with his decision to practice one of the 5 moves you see in every TikTok dance when he should have been watching the frying flowers
I love that this gif makes it look like I’ve edited his face onto someone else’s body.
At least the batter was crispy, even if most of Gregg’s portion was stuck to the bottom of the fryer’s basket – poor Gregg, he’s always shortchanged, he’s the Michelle Williams of MasterChef’s Destiny’s Child.
Danny, very much being the teacher’s pet, was given some extra curricular Japanese cuisine homework with his dish being a mushroom dumpling in a miso broth. They had mercifully not charged him with the task of making and cutting out the dumpling dough though, having apparently learned their lesson from MasterChef: The Professionals, but even still, his dumplings were very well made and he didn’t have any issues with them bursting or opening up like an unsupervised courgette flower
and of course because he had followed the recipe to the letter, they tasted great and everyone got to celebrate Chantelle through the medium of Danny’s work – but they also praised Danny for his *check’s notes* “very well cut radish” – it’s the small things.
I think you could easily argue that Paul had the hardest job on his hands with his duck dish, mostly because duck has never been a friend of Celebrity MasterChef and is prone to bleeding all over the place, and even though he started cooking the duck a little late because he had to restart his sauce, he still had enough time to rest it correctly
it could have used a bit of greenery if I’m honest, because it’s a bit of a brown coagulation and I don’t think Paul is to blame for that.
The final challenge before someone was eliminated ahead of the first of our quarterfinals was for the celebs to create a dish that made vegetables the hero ingredient, and this did mean that aubergines were back on the menu, this time under the supervision of Danny “An Unironic Banter Warrior” Jones
given the career trajectory of the McFly members, we’ll have an entire trilogy of children’s books about Mr. Aubergine and his ~zany~ adventures by Christmas time.
Danny was of course once again delving into the flavours of Japan by glazing his aubergine in miso and serving it alongside sugarsnap peas that had been cooked in oyster sauce, which does sound like a really nice dish actually and he’s certainly getting a lot of use out of this black plate
John and Gregg were very happy with the dish, my only complaint is that I think he could have done something a little extra just to up the difficulty level a little, but it’s certainly accomplished in as far as putting together a decent sounding dish goes.
Kae needed to catch up the most ground, having been thrown to the meringue wolves in the first round, and was putting all of his hopes in a mushroom stroganoff
I’m not sure staking it all on a stew is ever going to end particularly well for anyone, it’s just very easy for the judges to be a little dismissive of a pool of generic beige, and Kae had unfortunately not managed to pack the flavour into the dish but, and it’s a BIG AMERICAN-SIZED BUT, Mushroom Stroganoff and Rice is at least a complete dish, whereas piling very dry risotto on top of grilled cauliflower is absolutely not
Paul Chuckle, EXPLAIN YOURSELF. As much as I admire the advocation of risotto as an accompaniment, either make the constantly disappointing Cauliflower Steak or the Risotto. My best guess is that he was initially going to make just the risotto, but then panicked because he overthought whether the rice in a risotto was the star, and Google very forthrightly tells you that NO, rice is not a vegetable, you fool, why did you Google this?
and thus the Cauliflower Steak topped with Risotto was born and John and Gregg just let it slide, just swiftly moving on from the fact the risotto had completely dried out, despite Gregg very obviously telling him this
WHERE WAS KAE’S SUPERVISION?
And seeing us out with her third dessert of the competition was Faye with her Rhubarb and Custard Pasties, which she first tried in Cornwall so we can’t get the European Commission involved. She was a little nervous about making them because she doesn’t ordinarily make the pastry, her mum does it for her and she was rather hoping that the shortcrust pastry gene would kick in
unfortunately it turns out that pastry making is not genetic and her first attempt at pastry was something of a miracle in its wrongness as she stood there, repulsed by the slowly curdling monstrosity in her hands
and promptly it was banished to the bin never to be spoken of ever again, like the evil twin that lives in the attic and only eats fish heads.
She did only just have enough time to make a second quick batch of pastry which still wasn’t quite up to scratch so her pasties sat in the oven, slowly falling apart like a pair of miserable trilobites as Faye begged them to keep as much of their basic form as possible
but she had a plan to overcome the aesthetic shortcomings of her pasties, which luckily wasn’t to pour bacon fat all over them, instead she had a stencil and icing sugar
the pastry might not have been exactly as she would have liked but the judges liked them well enough and adding the extra stewed rhubarb and jug of custard on the side was a good idea on her part.
A Vegetable Dish Ranking
- Danny Jones’s Tour of Japan
- Faye Winter’s Pastry Genes
- At Least Stroganoff Is A Dish
- Paul Chuckle’s Nonsense Risotto
I really did think that after the risotto incident that it should have probably been curtains for Paul Chuckle’s MasterChef journey but unfortunately for Kae, John and Gregg felt more short changed by the lack of paprika in his stroganoff and was thus eliminated, therefore terminating his friendship with John and Gregg
Ah, the cruel powermove of removing someone from your top 12 on Bebo in 2006, sending every 14 year old into an emotional guilt spiral.
And so, we’re done another celeb
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