MasterChef 2023, Episode 9: One Thing and a Flatbread

Cher’s original draft wasn’t quite as catchy.

Hi, it’s me. I’m the problem, it’s me.

A Two Course Race

Helping John and Gregg with this week’s Quarterfinal were Irini Tzortzoglou, Nisha Parmar and the winner of the first series I recapped, Tom Rhodes

it turns out I had just mentally rewritten history because had you asked me who won the 2020 series I would have told you Alexina did – so there goes my plans to apply to Mastermind with MasterChef as my specialist subject.

This particular quarterfinal felt like it really could have gone any which way because everyone has been a little up and down, well, everyone except Linda who has received positive critiques for everything she’s cooked, and she wasn’t slowing down! It was nice to see her cooking something a little riskier as she waved an octopus around

her menu starting with a dish of Octopus and Clams on Linguine that she had made herself

as the only Greek in the room, Irini had declared herself the premier Octopus Connoisseur and gave it her seal of approval given that Linda had somehow made it pleasantly soft without having to resort to using the occasionally cursed pressure cooker.

For her dessert we returned to what feels like Linda’s wheelhouse with her Apple and Fig pudding in a Butterscotch sauce, which she was struggling to get out of the moulds so some looked like they had been partially eaten

but others looked absolutely fine

despite everyone’s expectations of them being quite heavy, the actual sponge was lighter than an anticipated, however the combination of a fruit pudding and butterscotch sauce did prove to be too sweet and everyone was having to dose up each individual bite with half a jug of cream at any one time

but Gregg wasn’t exactly complaining about it either.

Miles was out to continue his inventive style of cooking, taking the quarterfinal as an opportunity to declare war on France

Could you not have waited until AFTER Eurovision? The French general public gave us 2 whole points last year, we were finally on their good side!

Opening up his assault on France was a dish of Torched Mackerel with a Sauce Vierge – his distinctly Miles-ian twist on it being to take the tomato out of the sauce vierge and swap it for Pear, a change that John decided to do some WILD historical revisionism about as he dared to look confused about the concept of Mackerel with fruit

for years you have let people put Mackerel and Apples on a plate together and you said NOTHING, and what is a pear but an apple with a little more confidence?

the pear went down incredibly well, as was expected. The whole dish proved to be very popular with the judges, as did the plating which managed to look contemporary without feeling like a piece in the Tate Modern that you’re not sure if it’s making fun of you or not.

For his second wave in the war against France. Miles was making Clafoutis – this time the twist being to swap out the usual cherries in place of Raspberries and Dates

it wasn’t quite as successful as his main course (which was secretly a starter) the best thing the returning contestants had to say was that they liked the twist he was putting on the classics, but the mixture was just a little bit too wet and claggy

I think the deep ramekins were a mistake, something a little wider and flatter would probably have allowed them to dry out a little more and prevented them from look like a pudding that was trying to be a souffle.

Thuy continued to draw from her Vietnamese heritage for her main course of Banh Mi – which is traditionally a French Baguette sandwich, but in what has become a bit of a trend this series, she was making a flatbread because there wasn’t enough time to make a baguette. As it turns out, there was barely enough time to make 4 individual flatbreads and she did end up serving her Banh Mi 5 minutes late

The slightly obvious problem with them was that fact the chicken is almost as big as the flatbread itself which hindered the ability to wrap them – this however did not stop anyone from trying to shove them in their mouths

girthiness aside, everyone thoroughly enjoyed them, John was a little put out that it was just a flatbread with something on top of it and the fact we’ve now been in this position twice before

Twice is a coincidence, 3 times is a trend.
*touches earpiece*
What’s that? A fourth One Thing and a Flatbread has hit the diners?

MICHELLE! What chaos have you wrought?
As much as I loved Owen’s representation of the lesser-spotted Nando’s Menu with his Piri Piri Chicken Livers, the dish was a little disappointing and lacked finesse because much like Thuy, he had run out of time towards the end and settled for dividing 2 rotis between 4 people and even more disappointingly he wasn’t clawing back much points with his Salmon en Croute as the HMS Ariadne’s Faves continues to sink without a trace

I’m not sure what was more damning, the soggy pastry or the fact it looked like one of Olive Oyl’s shoes


As for how Thuy was finishing off her menu, she’d opted for a Lemon Posset and a Shortbread Biscuit

sadly it wasn’t much of a posset as it hadn’t quite set enough and had a sort of tepid milkshake texture that filled the entire room with a sense of sadness I didn’t know a pudding ever could

Does the NHS offer posset-induced therapy?

A Quarterfinal Dish Ranking
1. Miles vs France: Round 1
2. Linda’s Properly Authenticated Octopus
3. Linda’s Cream and Microdosed Pudding
4. Miles’s Cup-a-Puddin’
5. A Sandwich By Any Other Name
6. My Unpopular Nando’s Order
7. Thuy’s Depression Posset
8. Owen’s Shoe Pastry

Linda and Miles were obviously safe as houses and through to battle it out in the mysteries of Knockout Week. So it was down to whether or not they’d spare either Owen or Thuy based on promise alone – and as soon as they said they’d decided to eliminate two people this time you knew EXACTLY how this would play out and Owen and Thuy were both eliminated

I do think I would prefer to be eliminated as a pair and it was probably a fair decision – but I’ve enjoyed both of them, so shine on you crazy diamonds

one last Owen gif for the road.

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