MasterChef: The Professionals 2022, Episode 16: Non-elephantine Cherries

Intense Embarrassing Parents Energy.

Stuffing a carrot is the first sign of madness.

Just Something Nice, I Guess?

Sadly they’ve run out of ideas for silly high-concept challenges so in order to decide which four of the chefs got to cook for the Chef’s Table Challenge, they just had to cook something really nice. This did also mean that two chefs would be eliminated after this challenge, thankfully *some people* made the decision quite easy – although only just missing the crosshairs of Marcus’s gaze was James with his Pork dish

the only real complaint was the fact that the whole thing was a little bit sweet because as well as the quite sweet carrots, he’d marinated the Pork Cheeks in a Marmite and Maple Glaze – which I suppose makes it a (Miss) Marple Glaze, he’d even given them a Geraldine McEwan wig

but the additional honey sauce was maybe gilding the already saccharine lily.

Sagar was as ever giving himself far too much to do, proudly declaring he was about to cook two whole chickens and serve every single last piece of them – the breasts as a curry, the legs in a biryani, tandooriying the wings and making an offal kebab – and just as Anna looked as though she was about to reach across and take the chicken guts away from him

he declared he was also making chapatis and a dessert inspired by a mango lassi, but to his credit he did manage to get everything in the time

it was however a rare slip in quality from Sagar with everything just being that little bit dry – I do however very much enjoy that whenever someone says “Offal Kebab” they sound like a southern debutante from Depression Era Georgia saying “Awful Kebab”. While the chicken elements weren’t living up to the usual standards expected from Sagar at this point, his mango lassi inspired dessert earned him a lot of praise from Anna. We cut now to Chris, eliminated for a mango lassi


Sagar wasn’t the only one taking risks this episode, because Charlie decided that he was going to implement The Late Stage Ceviche Gamble, except he was jazzing it up slightly by smoking his scallop and also adding cherries to the mix

as most ceviches do, it looks a bit like a terrarium full of poisonous plants but it is quite pretty # but then he added the Cherry and Sea Vegetable Consommé which was a distressing shade of watery blood

which reminded me far too much of Aaron in MasterChef 2021 serving up tepid blood straight out of a water bath as a sauce

I will never forget you, you odd little man.

Marcus praised the “fruity-esque” flavour of the consommé but called the cherries “the elephant in the room” before talking about how well they work with the dish which I suppose makes them non-elephantine cherries in the room then. I was mostly just on board with the cherries because it forced everyone to keep saying “Charlie’s Cherries”

and as it turns out, Charlie’s Cherries earned him the first chef’s kiss of the series

it’s still not a good enough reason to have made everyone talk about Charlie’s cherries so much though.

Nikita was sticking with her usual bag and using her travels as inspiration, this time dipping into Thai cuisine with her cod and crispy shrimp served with a Tom Yum Consommé

it was easily the stand out dish of the episode with the judges struggling to find a single fault with the dish, and Marcus even having to admit that the coconut cream stuffed mussels were a genius touch, although I’m not sure I can get on with them because they look like this

there’s a million things I want to say but all of them have to be redacted.

Owen wasn’t having quite such a fun time in the kitchen and spoke a little bit about how he was feeling out of sorts and not on the top of his game, like some sort of Eldritch monstrosity was feeding off of his energy, siphoning the very life of him, beckoning him towards The End…

which unfortunately culminated in him giving his sea bass a third degree burn

and it was a shame because the rest of his dish was mostly really good and the fish would have been been alright had he removed the skin before serving it because the actual meat was still perfect.

On the other end of the Still Kicking to Scattering The Ashes Spectrum was Wilson, who the Curse of the Lamb was finally catching up to as he gingerly lay a distinctly looking raw piece of lamb onto his plate like it was being laid to rest at a funeral

but that wasn’t his only problem because his Sweetbread and Bone Marrow Pastry was also raw and definitely one of the most visually upsetting thing to have been served up this series

and the other contestants all seemed to think so too

BUT! And it’s a very small but, Anna did like his smoked aubergine puree – which was the only thing on the plate anyone could safely eat.

A Very Good Dish Ranking
1. Nikita Putting The Yum Into Tom Yum.
2. Charlie’s Cherries
3. James’s Miss Marple Pork
4. Sagar’s Conference Room Buffet
5. Owen’s Incineration of a Sea Bass
6. Baaaaaa

It wasn’t exactly a hard decision as to who was going home after this because as strong as Owen and Wilson have been, their dishes were undoubtedly the weakest ones in this episode, and were thus sent home

it may not have worked out for Owen this time, but at least he got to be the Salt Bae for one episode

and that’s what truly matters.

Chef’s Table

As their reward for not burning anything or nearly giving Marcus Wareing severe food poisoning, the remaining chefs were being tasked with putting on a dinner for some of the biggest chefs in the British restaurant scene, including Monica Galetti looking like she’s been cast in an Ocean’s 11 sequel

and this little known member of the royal family

it’s now my new objective in life to open a Michelin Star restaurant and call it Intergalactic Empress.

Kicking off the meal was Nikita who was making a starter based off of the God Tier Japanese street food, Takoyaki – I will order it any time I see it on a menu so I did not appreciate being made to crave octopus balls at 8pm on a Tuesday night. She of course couldn’t just serve a box of takoyaki (I mean she could have, I would not have complained) so instead she was sort of deconstructing it by serving a glazed tentacle topped with Bonito Flakes and an Octopus Head Doughnut tossed in Furikake Sugar

“Octopus Head Doughnut” also being Marcus Wareing’s nickname for Gregg Wallace.
It was a blinder of a dish, with the whole room lavishing it with praise, the highest of which came from Jun Tanaka who said it reminded him of his childhood in Japan

and it’s safe to say he blew Nikita’s mind

the fact some of them could see her going absolutely bananas through the glass doors <3

James was following her with the fish course, which was a sort of play on Fish and Chips, serving pan-fried Pollock with his take on scraps, Marcus being eager to remind him of the sophistication expected of the occasion

which James had thought about, playing his tempura’d get out of jail free card

speaking of the tempura oysters, while James busied himself with frying pollock and artfully arranging single pieces of broccoli on the plate, Charlie was put in charge of tempuraing the oysters….

SABOTAGE! He wouldn’t have dared try to pull something like that on Nikita’s Octopus Doughnuts – she had at least 4 extra tentacles to whip him into shape with. But, back to James’s fish course before this becomes too Kinoe no Komatsu…

it was a touch divisive, with everyone loving the main components of the dish but much like the sauce in the previous challenge, his Cider sauce was too sweet

BUT! Jason Atherton was more than happy with it

Sir, be careful what you say, the BBC will be sending you the bill, and bare in mind that’s 20 people’s worth of oysters, octopi and rose veal.

Speaking of Rose Veal, for his main course, Charlie was all about celebrating veal and carrots, lots and lots of carrots

it’s been a big week for carrots actually

including, and this can only be the work of a madman, stuffing roasted carrots with Carrot Top (not the prop comedian) Pesto

at a certain point you do have to step back and ask yourself “What on earth am I doing and why?” but he did have to make that carrot special in some way because it was kind of the centrepiece of his dish

the diners really loved the presentation, I think it’s a little messy and the chunks of veal orbiting the central carrot monolith feel like a bit of an afterthought.

This did mean that Sagar was ending the meal with a dessert, and in true Sagar fashion it was a Homeric epic of a dessert that would put The Odyssey to shame – featuring no less than 8 components: A Rum Baba, Yogurt Mousse Cannelloni, Mango Jelly, Coconut Tuile, Poached Meringue, Coconut Kulfi, Bitter Lime Caramel and a Chilli and Rum infused Syrup. Needless to say, Marcus and Anna were having another near meltdown as he read them off all 1250 pages of his War and Peace of desserts

but as this series has established, Sagar is at least 3 very talented chefs in a trench coat and did manage to get the whole dish plated to perfection

however, it was a rough journey getting there because he did have to remake his meringue three times which was pushing Anna ever closer to her mental breaking point

and you know, it’s a lot of eggs just to make 20 portions of meringue – Sagar ended up using 60 people’s worth of eggs – Jason Atherton isn’t made of money, Sagar!
Speaking of Jason, he was a big fan of Sagar’s dessert


A Chefs’ Table Dish Ranking
1. Tens! Tens! Tentacles Across The Board!
2. The Tolstoy of Desserts
3. Carrots and a Side of Veal
4. The Sweet Life

And so, we’ll see which 3 of the remaining chefs makes it to The Grand Final whenever the BBC decide to air the next episode

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