And thus ends Kitty’s reading of I Malavoglia for Drag Queen Story Hour.
How many Mel Blatts does it take to cater for 70 people?
A Pain In The Mass Catering
At last! After a 2 year hiatus because of *gestures at the world* the Mass Catering Challenge makes a triumphant return as the celebs had to cater for 70 paramedics and air ambulance crew members from the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance service
and for the challenge the celebs were split into two teams:
Green Team: Lesley Joseph, Danny Jones Off Of McFly, Kitty Scott-Clause and about 5 Mel Blatts.
Red Team: Lisa Snowdon, Lisa Snowdon’s Tension Headache, Cliff Parisi, Jimmy Bullard, Jimmy Bullard’s Rubber Gloves and Faye Winter.
From there they had to choose a team leader who would be in charge of deciding what they’d serve for their Fish Main, Non-Fish-Meat Main, Vegetarian Main and their Dessert – a role that Lisa Snowdon was at first very happy to play but by the time Cliff Parisi had set a tea towel on fire she was ready to call Jo Frost in for assistance
meanwhile the green team dithered about, Kitty very much taking a backseat during the deliberations because she was hating every second of having to do daytime drag outside of Pride Month
sadly not everyone can be Shangela
none of them really wanted to be team leader and so eventually someone had to just throw Lesley Joseph under the leadership bus, and really her role of leader was in title only given she mostly just shrugged and busied herself making 5 tarte tatins while leaving the others to decide amongst themselves as to who was going to have to bite the bullet and fillet the cod
their eventual menu was a Thai Green Curry for their Fish Main because Danny had already made one before, Miscellaneous Spanish Chicken for their (for lack of a better word) Regular Main, A Vegetable Lasagne for the Vegetarian Main (or Juliet, to give it her Christian name) and Lesley was finishing off with the aforementioned five (5) Tarte Tatins because she had made one before and she clearly hasn’t watched the show or she’d have know it is bad luck to not make an apple crumble for the mass catering challenge.
The menu decisions for the Red Team went a little more smoothly, although to be fair they were sign posted to a Steak and Kidney Pie by just having steak and kidneys on the table and Faye settled on a Tiramisu because what else are you going to do with Lady’s Fingers and some strategically placed Kahlua?
Lisa then decided that their salmon dish was going to be spiced salmon on lentils and their vegetarian dish started life out as an Aubergine Parmigiana before someone clearly informed Lisa that Parmesan has animal rennet in it and is therefore not vegetarian and she couldn’t swap it for a different Cheese because ALL OF IT was being used for Juliet
not that she didn’t slyly float the idea of just making it with non-vegetarian cheese anyway… they’ll never notice, right guys?
and I think the moment Lisa well and truly lost patience with the whole the process was when Faye suggested they make a Nut Roast instead
so from there it devolved into a Miscellaneous Traybake the likes of which I haven’t seen since university when I used to make one every Thursday night (this is not a compliment, Thursday night was Sad Night)
and thus began Lisa Snowdon’s spiral into stress induced existentialism with her only champion being this one solitary man who very much enjoyed his *check’s notes* Lightly Spiced Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas, Steamed Kale and Butterbean Dip
you sir are a hero.
You would have hoped that the fact Lisa put the vegetarian dish quite literally on the backburner that her Salmon course would be something special and yet it was just a salmon steak on vegetable lentils
and if you were lucky you got both a side dish of Lisa frantically telling you how much of a hero you are and if you weren’t lucky you got an entire graveyard of bones
Danny’s fish dish was a lot more successful and less boney despite the fact this was only the second time he had filleted a fish, the beheading hadn’t got much easier though
although it was significantly less disturbing than Mel Blatt seemingly trying to turn a whole chicken inside out
and I did love the slight absurdity of Danny baking like 12 portions of cod with just a single halved lime
I’m sure it made all the difference and is entirely why everyone enjoyed the dish so much, none more so than this woman whose fanfic about her and Danny Jones she wrote in year 8 had somehow become reality
there’s still hope for me and X-Factor’s Aiden Grimshaw after all!
I never promised I was a paragon of taste but the nervous man in a straightjacket sitting on a throne of chains awoke something in me all those years ago.
As for the Green Team’s vegetarian course, Juliet diLasagne, was in the hands of Kitty… kind of, she was mostly stewing vegetables while asking Mel if she’d make the pasta when her hands weren’t busy making a Jamie Oliver style cultural hate crime, and if you’re wondering how Mel managed to make pasta, give 10 chickens a hot oil massage, teach Danny how to cook rice like a normal person and stop Lesley from dissolving into tears, she had apparently made a deal with the devil that lives inside the oven
The lasagne wasn’t only causing Mel extra stress as John anxiously watched the time like the White Rabbit
but if he did have a heart attack, the ambulance crew were on hand and had been practicing all morning on a Suspiciously Torodian Mannequin
luckily they didn’t have to be called in and despite the odds, Kitty did manage to birth forth Juliet in her full Lasagne-ish glory (I’m sure that sentence wont make anyone mad)
it is absolutely mostly cheese and therefore intrinsically a great lasagne, I have no notes.
While Mel did basically have a hand in everyone else’s course, she was solely responsible for her… *sigh* Chicken Olé… so she shall also be solely responsible for penning an apology letter to the Spanish Embassy. And if you’re wondering what made her Chicken a Chicken Olé, she was rubbing Chicken Crowns in paprika and oil which looked like a practical effect for Chicken Run 2: Freddy’s Revenge
and then cooking unseasoned chicken legs with great big hulking mouthfuls of chorizo for some ~Spanish flare~
but you know, who amongst us doesn’t love a slightly burnt Out of Sight, Out of Mind chicken traybake
it’s the lifeblood of a despairing parent’s weekly meal planning, and if the diners weren’t enjoying the taste, they sure were enjoying saying “OLÉ!” a lot which was giving me some “she’s so crazzzzzzy” energy
they could probably have done with a few bags of frozen chips to be honest.
The desserts were pretty inconsequential, Lesley had just forsaken her team while she busied herself making her 5 Tarte Tatins which does strike me as an odd thing to be making in advance
I did also love John panicking that Lesley had only made 1 Tarte Tatin in the first hour as though she hadn’t had to chop and peel like 50 apples all by herself (likely with assistance from Mel, obviously). Meanwhile all Faye had to do was lightly whip some mascarpone, soak the ladyfingers and put together the Tiramisu that the tub of Mascarpone was telling her to make
but to be fair, Faye did also help Cliff make his steak and kidney pie and stopping to deliver the occasional weapons-grade reaction jpeg face – it’s very me waking up to the phrase “Prime Minister Truss”
rivalled only by Lisa Snowdon’s raised eyebrow when Faye announced that the pastry she had so lovingly made needed some more time to cook
every time I see that gif I lose 5 minutes of my life watching it, I’m like a cat watching a lava lamp.
For their next challenge the celebrities were having to create a dish using only the leftovers from the previous challenge – so there was some fresh fruit, whatever chicken hadn’t been roped into helping Mel offend the entirety of Catalonia, a whole load of Parmesan and some nuts for the unrealised potential of a nut roast.
Once again Lisa could not be swayed into making a nut roast and was instead seeking to redeem herself within the eyes of the salmon community by cooking a vaguely East Asian inspired dish featuring a supposedly lethal Ginger and Grated Onion sauce
the lethalness of it in heavy dispute due to the lack of footage of John Torode bent over double, gasping for a jug of milk and instead most of his critique is that Lisa had overcooked her salmon, thus only further angering the Salmon Gods
REPENT LISA, REPENT.
Mel was also going East Asian and was the only person making a Vegetarian main course, and given that Lisa was preoccupied with grovelling to some salmon, someone had to make it up to the vegetarians. It did sound like Mel was making a dish that she often makes at home – first of all she just pulled handmade noodles out of her noggin with no prep or recipe but then she realised that (rather unsurprisingly) nobody had brought in any sake to help feed the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Service and thus the Sake Mushroom component of her Not-A-Buddha-Bowl Buddha Bowl became Sherry Mushrooms which were sitting alongside Tahini Spinach, Miso Tofu and Sesame Oil Noodles
it’s certainly a lot going on and she deserved all the praise she got for making her own noodles but the dish was missing a more significant amount of moisture from a broth, and Gregg didn’t fully appreciate Mel’s continued championing of Burnt Bits as the superior part of a meal – she certainly wasn’t being afforded the “chicory bitterness” line of defence.
Despite the fact Mel seemed to have cooked the entire cast of Chicken Run for her Chicken Olé, there was still enough left over for Danny, Lesley and Cliff to all use it for their dishes. Danny opting to make a Chicken Katsu Curry which was probably the dish of the day, not that there was a lot of stiff competition
his biggest rival for the title was Cliff who was using the last mentally memorised recipe he had up his to make a Chicken Dansak, famous for Dan Walker claiming his local take away had named it after him. He wasn’t stopping at just the curry though as he had made a naan bread, an onion bhaji AND a Pineapple doily
although he seemed to have realised that was an absurd thing to do and relegated it to being a slightly perplexing accompaniment amid what was a really great dish
and I think the success of Cliff’s curry was really the nail in the coffin for the curry Lesley served up that somehow looked more like leftovers after she had cooked it it than it did before
the issue she had run into was that she was trying to cook on the bone chicken thighs in a saucepan which was going to take quite a long time, so she had attempted to shred the meat off the bone and quite why she stopped halfway through it like someone had frightened a fox that had got into the bin, I don’t know
It wasn’t a complete disaster though, they did actually think her cinnamon heavy curry sauce was very nice!
The last of the main courses came from Jimmy who had latched onto the steak and was thus obligated to cook triple cooked chips and in his excitement to use the deep fat fryer was also making a deep fried mushroom – and when I say that Jimmy Bullard’s Chip and Mushroom Crown is the funniest thing anyone has ever made on this show, I mean it with my whole chest
it’s like he deep-fried a war bonnet and just the footage of him desperately trying to arrange the chips so that they’d stand up like he was a panicked florist 2 minutes before the bride arrives fills me with joy
THAT’s why I love this show, give me brain farts or give me death.
As for the rest of Jimmy’s dish, despite the steak being perfectly cooked, it was ultimately playing second fiddle tothe King of Wetherspoon’s crown and mange tout fan
he had also made a Mushroom and Red Wine sauce, and I do have to wonder when you have to concede a loss and accept that what you have made is not a sauce because it was just a jug of well glazed mushrooms
“I think Jimmy’s just putting mushrooms and red wine in a pan and hoping for the best” feared John throughout the cooking process fully aware that that was exactly Jimmy’s plan of action
caught red( wine) handed!
Faye and Kitty found themselves in a dessert showdown and with Faye unfortunately not having a recipe suggestion on a tub of mascarpone to guide he was having to delve into her Mind Palace to reverse engineer a lemon drizzle cake, which she rather impressively also served alongside a raspberry sorbet and filled with a White Chocolate Buttercream and Lemon Curd
which did rather put the fact Kitty’s dessert amounted to some overbaked chocolate cake with a teaspoon of rapidly vanishing vanilla buttercream and one (1) blackberry to shame
but she had made her own jam which greatly impressed John Torode
but God if I don’t just love the whole relationship dynamic between John and Kitty – Kitty’s face when Gregg made the joke about John having previously married a Celebrity MasterChef champion is my new favourite gif
and the cut to John hiding behind the shelving unit was sublime
top notch editing, superb performances from both Kitty and John, I am extremely invested in this little teleplay and hope it continues for as long as Kitty can claw her way through the competition on good will and a need for someone to be funny alone.
A Leftover Dish Ranking
- Danny McMcFly’s Chicken Katsu
- Cliff’s Pineapple Scented Dansak
- Faye’s Sherlock’d Lemon Sponge
- BURNT BITS!
- The King of Wetherspoon’s Crown and Steak
- Lisa Snowdon vs The Salmon Gods
- A Lightly Pawed Chicken Curry
- Kitty Scott-Cause-For-Concern
I really did think Kitty was a goner because I thought the fact Lesley had made 5 tarte tatins would have scrounged at least a by for one more episode but sadly apparently that Herculean feat of pastry counted for NOTHING
at least she atoned for her Come Dine With Me sins.
And so, 7 remain
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