MasterChef 2023, Episode 12: Loopholes in the Cereal Tycoon Manifesto

And the award for Best Sentence of the Year goes to…

Guess who forgot to press “Publish”…

A Two Course Race

This week’s contingent of returning finalists helping John and Gregg judge the penultimate quarterfinal were Dhruv Baker, Thomas Frake and Alexina Anatole

Alexina was the first contestant to reach out to me about my recaps so she will always be my favourite, so now you know who to blame for all of this.
Speaking of favourites though, this week was packed with them – you could tell me that any combination of these three made up the final and I wouldn’t question it but I was worried in the preview that someone was about to force me to an early grave because I was convinced this was just a fried egg on some bacon lardons

it was not, it was in fact Josh’s Egg Yolk and Ricotta Raviolo. And in more good news we’ve finally bullied the show into acknowledging the singular raviolo.
It very nearly turned out to be just a fried egg and some lardons though as Josh’s first go at pasta was a bit too thin so he had to quickly remake them while John looked like the whole universe was ending

which honestly makes how good they turned out doubly impressive

and Thomas Frake just about inhaled the whole thing like Mae Martin trying to work out if an egg was hard boiled or not

one day I’ll manifest the MasterChef x Taskmaster televisual event of the century.

Josh’s Main Course was just as well received as his starter and thankfully went much more smoothly for him with his Chicken Breast being perfectly cooked

and it very much looks like something you could very well see on MasterChef: The Professionals both because of its smart, sleek presentation and lack of potatoes. Meanwhile, on Chris’s bench…

he was serving crushed new potatoes with a pan-fried fillet of Leviathan Cod

that is a big ol’ hunk of fish and I imagine his overcompensation for not wanting to undercook it, led him to unfortunately overcooking it and like a dagger to my heart, his potatoes were undercooked. The Butter Sauce though? Rave reviews – so sometimes it is worth serving the judges a stick of butter

you’ve just got to time it right, Robin.

As for Chris’s dessert, he was going for a Mulled Wine Poached Pear and if you remember me ranting endlessly last year about how poached pears are just a fruit salad with a sense of entitlement and anyone cooking one deserves to be eliminated, NO YOU DON’T, YOU’RE A DIRTY LIAR!

I did enjoy how hard he was leaning into the festiveness of it all with the little Chantilly Christmas Tree. The dessert however didn’t come together for Chris with the pears being just about entirely raw and playing hard to get

the cooking of the pear aside though, everyone enjoyed the flavours of the whole thing – how could you not? It was a bowl of Christmas, which I imagine made more sense when this was filmed in (I believe) about October/November-ish – but perhaps we should normalise year round mulled wine.

Chariya was taking us on a two course tour of Bangkok’s street food, which is probably why John was talking about her like he desperately needed to hit a word count for a University essay

why should I say “scenery” when I can say “mise en scene”?

Starting off Chariya’s menu were some Pork Meatballs

I think it’s easy to look at the dish and say “that’s not a lot of effort” but she did make her own chilli sauce because gone are the days of MasterChef where anyone would dare to cover a porkchop in Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Sauce and call it a meal

a simpler time – Darren, if you’re out there, I think you’re an All Star.

Everyone really loved the meatballs, but her main course of Larb Gai was a little hit and miss because everyone wished she’d kind of just left it at just the chicken mince and perhaps left off the chilli jam fried rice

and Alexina had a particular hatred for the tomato.

Robin was also going with a themed menu, his theme being Corn – I did at first think he meant Quorn but then I remembered you can’t say brand names as was evidenced by everyone having to refer to Corn Flakes as “Corn Cereal” with his second cereal dessert of the series being a Corn-Cereal-That-Is-Flaked Panna Cotta

it is extremely funny to me that old John Harvey Kellogg invented Corn Flakes to be part of a bland diet in 1894 and here we are almost 130 years later finding loopholes in the cereal tycoon manifesto and turning them into desserts – if Frosties didn’t awaken his vengeful ghost, I’m sure Robin’s perfect panna cotta did

do Froot Loops next!

The Panna Cotta did not start Robin’s menu (one can only dream) – that role went to his Fried Chicken, Corn VeloutĂ© and a Fondant Potato that I did at first mistake for him pan-frying 4 whole sticks of butter

ironically, it was a lack of butter of that was the only criticism for Robin’s dish

one day Robin will find his Baby Bear amount of butter.

A Quarterfinal Dish Ranking
1. John Harvey Kellogg Turning In His Grave
2. Josh’s Mock Fried Egg
3. An Appreciation of the Mere Meatball
4. Josh’s Thoroughly Modern Millie Chicken
5. This Butter’s Too Little!
6. All’s Fair in Larb and War
7. A Fillet of Leviathan
8. Temporally Askew Christmastime

Josh’s and Robin’s dishes were pretty neck and neck so they were through to Knockout Week without much second thought, which of course left Chris and Chariya, the latter of which hadn’t really done anything worth being eliminated over – sure she gilded the larb a little too much but Chris had some quite big missteps in both of his dishes so it pains me to say it, he was eliminated

I blame myself for using the Monkey’s Paw

I’ll make it up to you somehow!

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