MasterChef: The Professionals 2022, Episode 4: Affiliated Caboose

Darren! The auditions for Four In A Bed were next door!

Pour one out for the trout, lads.

Ravioli, Ravioli Give Me The Formuoli

For his Skills Test, Marcus was having Chris and Zarka make a batch of Cheese and Nduja Ravioli with an Oregano Emulsion, “Emulsion” seemingly being the name of the hitman responsible for having killed Chris’s entire family, that Chris thought had been brought to justice

Emulsion starring Liam Neeson, in cinemas July 2023.

Having completely been thrown by the concept of an emulsion, Chris got off to a concerning start as within 2 seconds of the challenge starting he had suplexed the entire square of nduja into the pan, much to Marcus and Anna’s horror

I can see the logic behind wanting to get rid of some of the moisture from the meat though, especially if you’re pairing it with a soft cheese like Mascarpone in a ravioli, and at least his making of the actual ravioli was very good – none of them popped or split during their cooking

but the Oregano Emulsion had got the better of him because it wasn’t really an emulsion so much as it was just melted butter, with Anna reading the slowly congealing liquid like the Cumean Sibyl

the outcome looks cloudy.

Zarka had her own problems with the ravioli filling, deciding not to mix it together and instead just layering alternating spoonfuls of Nduja and Mascarpone into her pasta

she’d also made the mistake of rolling out her pasta first and rolled it that bit too thin so it was both a little dried out and delicate and unfortunately one brave raviolo lost its life along the way

RIP, little guy, you’re with the Lasagne Angels now. The Lasagnels?

But she still managed to get three on a plate but much like Chris, she hadn’t really made an emulsion so much as she had just split chicken stock with melted butter

but hey, split sauces are so in right now, who needs an emulsion?

No Chris, calm down, he’s not in the room, have a nap.

Trout Trouble

Anna’s skills test was a fishmongering challenge, the unfortunate victims of it being Darren and Gabriella, the latter of which doomed herself to this fate the moment she uttered that a fish-based skills test would make her the most nervous, and she was certainly very nervous, bless her – it’s not easy to fillet a fish at the best of times, let alone while you’re hands of shaking like you’re doing a community theatre production of All That Jazz and can just about hear Marcus Wareing gasping in the pantry (my least favourite novel by Ben M. Baglio)

and feel Anna’s eye boring into you like an owl preparing to snatch up an unsuspecting vole on Autumnwatch

but despite her nerves, she’s very natural on camera and engaged well with Anna and Gregg, which is a generally unspoken part of these Skills Tests – and she still managed to get up a pretty good plate of food even if the puree was a little more Kiwi Burst 5 than Anna’s desired Willow Creek 1 on the Dulux Paint Wall Chart of Puree Colours

we just won’t look at the trout massacre she committed on the workbench

Gabriella is already MY Champion – it’s like she was created by an algorithm specifically for these recaps, and I am formally adding her to The Hun Hall of Fame as Dame Gabby, Slayer of Trout, Scourge of the Scottish Lochs.

Darren also had trouble filleting the trout, much to Marcus’s surprise

the editors having A LOT of fun with the editing this year and I loved that for them, Anna was having less fun watching Darren cooking the trout

it was a little overcooked, saved only by the fact it’s an oily fish so it at least wasn’t dry

and he had made a very nice Pea and Garlic Puree, which I imagine he’ll serve all the time at his Michelin Star Caravan Park that I am very invested in manifesting for him.

Signature Menus

It was all about fish in the Signature Menu challenge, with Gabriella and Zarka finding themselves in a Cod Loin Showdown, a battle I think we can safely say Gabriella pretty firmly won with her Cod Loin and Clam dish

the judges really couldn’t get enough of it and she had thoroughly redeemed herself of her Crimes Against Trout

she’s actually three rainbow trout in a trench coat.

Zarka wasn’t quite so lucky with her Cod Loins, which she was trying to cook in a tepid water bath with only six minutes of the challenge left while Marcus Wareing watched her with a look that would have cooked the cod faster than that water bath

he did eventually have to step in and tell her to just pan-fry the cod while just about holding her at gunpoint

and because all of this was happening with 6 minutes left on the clock, by the time Gregg had called the challenge to a close, Zarka was looking at mostly empty plates

and as mortifyingly funny as it would have been to make her serve three dots of Yellow Courgette Puree (which got the most praise of the entire dish) and one entirely empty plate, I was glad that they did let her finish up as much of her dish as she could

not making it to the plate being a pickled gel that was imaginably still pickling and the caviar in the sauce, which I at the very least hope she pocketed for her troubles.

Zarka did manage to recover some reputation with her Strawberries and Cream dessert

given the events, the simplicity of it really benefited her, and she had at least added a little twist to what could have been a very predictable dish with her use of pink peppercorns, that Marcus was particularly keen on.

It still wasn’t quite enough to catch up with Gabriella though, who kept the momentum going with her Rose and Pistachio dessert that was like she had put baklava on steroids

this is basically my perfect dessert and I’m glad everyone unanimously decided to not penalise her for the fact her Yoghurt Sorbet hadn’t set

Yoghurt Sorbet? I don’t know her.

Darren was also seeking to redeem himself of the suffering he inflicted upon that poor trout, his fish of choice being Turbot that he had managed to cook perfectly

it was a very busy dish – Marcus wasn’t sure on the Pickled Rhubarb, which Anna didn’t mind but was having her brain melted by the spicy shrimp topping his halibut

and yet it still wasn’t the busiest dish on offer as Chris couldn’t decide what he wanted to make so had basically made his go-to Tapas order, the centrepiece being a piece of Halibut surrounded by Saffron Potatoes, courgettes, Crispy Squid and a Chorizo Stew

fair play to him, there wasn’t a single part of it that the judges could knock or pick a hole in, and Anna desperately wanted to be able to say there was too much saffron on the potatoes because they did look a bit like glow in the dark Wotsits

but alas, they were perfectly flavoured.

Darren’s Dessert was just as divisive as his main course, choosing to make a Peanut and Strawberry Millefeuille while basically screaming “PEANUT BUTTER AND JAM SANDWICHES ARE DELICIOUS!” at the sky

Gregg and Anna both loved it but Marcus is apparently on the Anti-Peanuts and Fruit Advisory Board with Prue Leith, what I will grant him is that perhaps Darren should maybe have chopped the peanuts up a little more

but I would still order the PB+J Millefeuille in a heartbeat.

Chris’s dessert was a refinement of a school dinner classic, Chocolate Pudding and Pink Custard, which he was topping with booze-soaked cherries and candied pistachios that did make it look a bit like a fertility symbol which I don’t quite remember being a routine part of school dinners

Chocolate Fondants are always a little risky – both because they can go wrong very easily but also because they’re a little played out at the point and maybe we give them a miss for one year? But Marcus and Anna were very pleased the flavours and gooiness of them

Gregg however thought his was a little too gooey, I’m as shocked as you are to learn that Gregg wouldn’t jump for joy at the thought of being able to drink a chocolate pudding through a straw.

A Signature Menu Dish Ranking
1. Gabriella’s Heavyweight Baklava
2. Chris’s Entire Tapas Menu
3. Gabriella’s Fishy Redemption Arc
4. Chris’s Cerise Fertility Altar
5. Zarka’s Fully Plated Dessert
6. Darren’s Everything And The Pickled Rhubarb Sink
7. Darren’s PB+J Millefeuille
8. Zarka’s Pocketful of Caviar

It was a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for Zarka in the kitchen which did mean it was a bit of a no brainer that she’d be going home and with Darren’s dishes being quite divisive, he was also sent packing meaning our first two quarterfinalists for this week are Chris and Gabriella

all aboard the Gabriella Hype Train, Chris can ride in the affiliated caboose.

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2 thoughts on “MasterChef: The Professionals 2022, Episode 4: Affiliated Caboose

  1. Pam

    I was getting ‘raviolis’ fatigue by the time the skills test was over! I assume this is some kind of cheffy affectation, as with the frequent repetition of ‘nduja’ (still no idea how to pronounce).

    (My pedantic objection to ‘raviolis’ is that ravioli is a plural in Italian, so if they wanted to pluralise it in English, it would be ‘ravioli’ + s, ie, ‘raviolos’.)

  2. Brizzolia

    Every episode, I’m startled at the stark contrast between Anna’s cute German Fraulein hairstyle and her oftentimes ruthlessly incisive comments/questions to the contestants – love it!!
    💚 btw, Anna’s skill test dish was stunning, soooo instagrammable 💚

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