I know it was a double bill episode, but it wasn’t *that* good.
Pies! Burgers! Emotions! This episode had it all.
For their place in Final’s Week the celebrities were having to cook their ultimate comfort food dishes, this particular brief having been set by Grace Dent and Grace Dent’s love of mashed potato. Despite the fact the challenge was ostensibly “You know that thing you make at home when you feel like crap? Make that.”, Grace wasted no time in making it incredibly unrelatable
I get that she’s a food critic but there’s something a little gauche about it considering… *gestures at everything*.
Given that it was a comfort food challenge, some of the celebrities immediately leapt upon pies, with Danny and Kitty finding themselves in this particular showdown. Danny was going for a shepherd’s pie inspired by the one he and his wife have at their favourite pub and into which he was adding his super secret ingredient
which is a bit like your dad saying the secret ingredient in his bolognese is celery salt. Father, much like track 3 on Leonard Cohen’s 1988 album “I’m Your Man”: Everybody Knows
it at least looks like a shepherd’s pie and he hadn’t tried to ~restaurant it up~ too much beyond throwing toasted almonds at some green beans, it’s the tried and tested Lisa Snowdon Method.
It was a bit of a pie of two halves – they loved the mashed potato topping and how smooth it was, but the inside of the pie was absolutely bone dry
which did send Danny into a bit of a depressive cycle as he had to come to terms with the fact that maybe the pub he loves is perhaps not as good as he thought
but at least the MasterChef Therapy Couch was available for all his emotional needs
but he will have vacate it in a few minutes because Gregg Wallace is about to discover emotions for the first time.
Kitty’s pie offering was Chicken and Broccoli, inspired by the terrible one her mother used to make her as a kid, but you know, she may have been given terrible pies but at least she got ace jumpers
and it did mean that it was only up from there for her pie
Gregg and Grace both really enjoyed it while John was a little disappointed with the fact that he hadn’t got a lot of chicken, which is probably because Kitty insisted on (badly) cutting things up with scissors while they cooked
but at least there was enough gravy in the pie.
Lisa and Mel both found themselves battling it out over burgers, and who could wear the nicest pyjamas
I’m gonna call it a draw – Faye was also in PJs, I think? Grace said they were pyjamas, but they don’t look dissimilar to 90% of the things she’s worn every other episode
which does suggest there’s a super secret girls group chat going on that Kitty was not invited into because she turned up dressed as Pollyanna
but back to the burgers at hand – both of them were very much going for comedically absurd burgers, in two different ways – Lisa was going for size, producing a pretty hefty Fried Chicken Burger with loaded potato skins which was unanimously loved by all
and Mel was just filling her burger with brilliant nonsense, the beef patties very much playing second fiddle to a Macaroni and Cheese Patty, the concept of which just completely melted Grace’s mind
clearly Red’s True Barbecue in 2018 was not one of her ~fancy~ restaurants.
While Lisa had gone fairly gourmet with her burger accompaniments, coconut yoghurt slaw, kimchi, fresh salad. Mel was sticking true to burger culture and whacked a great big load of American Government Cheese and a pickle into her burger as well as a “Bacon Lattice” – a phrase I haven’t heard since Epic Meal Time were relevant (you think 2022 Food TikTok is insane? 2011 Food YouTube was A NIGHTMARE)
her burger is a beautiful sight to behold, and naturally the dilemma was “How does one eat a burger on national television without losing their dignity”. Well, John Torode went for a timid and sensible approach, opting for a small chunky of burger
Grace Dent had no such restraint and just went face-to-burger like she was a hyena making the most of an abandoned antelope carcass
which did remind me of the viral TikTok video that I cannot find in which a woman with a full face of makeup eats a plate of ribs without so much as slightly smudging her lipstick and it’s a feat that puts Hercules and Theseus to shame.
And I did love that for both burgers the judges really tried to give very serious critiques – it has the same energy as art collectors who specialise in paintings painted by zoo animals, ascribing great meaning to a few abstract squiggles an elephant smeared across the page that look a little bit like a flower if you squint.
Cliff and Faye were seeing us out with desserts, the latter of the two going for a Sticky Toffee Pudding which she was serving with an orange Ice Cream, but the two had obviously had a falling out and divided the plate into two halves under a threat of death if either crossed the chocolate sauce threshold
it wasn’t Faye’s finest dessert, the ice cream was good but her Sticky Toffee Pudding was neither sticky or particularly toffee-y so it was kind of just… a bran muffin
I’m sure it would have comforted someone in the rationing era.
Cliff’s dessert was a Bakewell Tart which was inspired by the ones his grandfather used to bake and he was putting himself under A LOT of pressure to get it right, so it’s no wonder that get to the end of the challenge and looked utterly traumatised when he stepped back to see that he had created a Bakewell Murder Scene
and he wasn’t even sure that it was properly cooked all the way through. Thankfully it turned out to be fully cooked and apologies to the alternate timelines where it wasn’t cooked and thus didn’t get to witness just how happy Cliff was
and he wasn’t the only one having A Moment™, as Gregg took one bite and was yeeted back into his own childhood like Anton Ego taking a bite of ratatouille
and Gregg got genuinely choked up and it was very sweet to see a side of him that we don’t often get to see and he was very confused by it
OFF THE COUCH DANNY! Gregg has to confront his internalised toxic masculinity!
A Comfort Food Dish Ranking
- Mel Blatt’s Nonsense Burger
- Cliff Parisi’s Nostalgia Tart
- Lisa Snowdon’s Gourmet Nonsense Burger
- Kitty Scott-Claus’s Broccoli and Chicken-If-You’re-Lucky Pie
- Danny Jones’s New Found Hatred For His Local Pub
- Faye Winter’s Dessert Divorce
Faye and Danny were the ones finding themselves in the danger seats and given that John and Gregg just love to mention ambiguously Asian Flavours every episode, Danny was taken along to Finals Week and sadly Faye was eliminated
I’ve really enjoyed her on the show, she’s cooked some great stuff and just seems like a really sweet and lovely person and I very much hope to see her in a Christmas special some time.
And so, we have our Top 5 for Finals Week
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