MasterChef 2023, Episode 15: Chicken Skin Concession

An admiral attempt to apply the Ames Illusion to Jack.

Well, that prayer circle didn’t work.

A Two Course Race

This week’s returners were Ping Coombes, Simon Wood and Claire Fyfe

the latter of which I do not remember AT ALL but I am fascinated by the fact she launched the “first ever MasterChef textiles range” which I did look up and it’s… 3 tea towels

hey get your bag however you get your bag.

John was stepping ever so slightly out of his wheelhouse for the quarterfinal by deciding not to do a sugar-free dessert and was instead doing a starter and a main course. His meal starting off with a piece of pan-fried hake and various fennel elements

and most of it is very well received – the hake is perfectly cooked and pairs well with the fennel. The only slight sticking point is the fact his deep-fried anchovy was a little bit too squishy, which I could have done with Simon Wood just mentioning and not squashing it down with his fork like he was giving a demonstration on what would happen if Loreen’s Monolithic Panini Press goes wrong

Sweden’s Loreen, The Boquerone of Eurovision.

Following up his hake dish was John’s Poached Chicken with celeriac, pea puree and a Hollandaise Sauce

and this is when it all began to look a little bit like health food because I do not know a single person that would ever try to impress anyone with poached chicken, and the chicken wasn’t impressing anyone as he’d somehow dried it out but everyone was happy for the chicken skin concession which gave the dish a bit of personality and he’d also made a very technically good Hollandaise

should it have been a rich chicken gravy? Yeah, probably.

Also forgoing desserts was Diya who as soon as she took her bhajis out of the frier I knew I had truly doomed her to her fate

they were just a bit too over-fried but also, and this may sound like looking a gift bhaji in the mouth, this just doesn’t feel like a complete dish? And when the 1 of three elements that gets raved about is the mint chutney, well, things aren’t going swell. She did manage to claw back some points with her Chicken Mchuzi, a curry hailing from North Africa; “Mchuzi” being the Swahili word for “sauce” or “gravy”

everyone was very complimentary of the actual curry but the bhatura breads were divisive, Claire (who had never had them before) loved them while John thought they were a little too doughy and dense.

I was very worried for Jack, both because he’s a favourite and because he was cooking duck which is shockingly only the second or third duck dish we’ve seen this year – usually by the fifth week in we’re knee deep in bleeding unrested waterfowl – Jack’s was anything but

the dish got some of the best reviews we’ve seen for a dish so far this series with Simon Wood going so far as to declare it the best dish he’s ever eaten at that one specific table

it’s also the best duck dish that Claire Fyfe has ever eaten at that table, but that’s because this is the first time they’ve let her out of the MasterChef Cupboard in 3 years.

Jack was further tempting fate with his Pistachio Souffle dessert, which I know can be particularly tricky because I once ordered one in a restaurant and our waiter had to come and tell us that our desserts were taking so long because the chef was on her third attempt – I felt awful because I can only imagine the brow sweat and muttered curses she was throwing my way but it was worth it

and it was a knockout for Jack, the only casual critique was that his cherry gelato could have had a stronger cherry flavour from Ping – Simon wouldn’t have known because he’d inhaled the whole thing

anything to make the post-souffle trauma go away

don’t worry Simon, just think about how badly Adrian is suffering after his Raspberry Omelette in a Cup?

MasterChef 2021 was a wild time because it was mostly made up of people who had only just started getting into cooking because of the Panny Demz resulting in some truly insane creations.

Lastly we have Endang who was opening her menu with Nasi Goreng and Chicken Satay – Nasi Goreng being fried rice

big fan of the fact that after being criticised for her plating styles, her solution to tidying up was The MasterChef Rice Boob – I’ve personally had no issues with the appearance of her dishes but this does look very nice. It also apparently tasted very nice, although Claire and Ping were suffering for it

Simon however had to be a brave man and not allow anyone to see him sweat

What do you mean my eyes are watering? They’re just well moisturised!

Endang was also making her first dessert of the competition, opting for a Marshmallow Chocolate Mousse and a Shortbread, served up like she was hosting either an episode of Come Dine With Me in 2008 or a dinner party in 1988 – it’s the 20 year nostalgia cycle so it’ll be back in fashion in another 5 years

the plating may have been a touch dated but everyone was more than happy to eat it and were pleasantly surprised by how mellow the flavour was after being worried that it’d be incredibly sweet.

A Quarterfinal Dish Ranking
1. Winner Winner, Duck Dinner
2. A Souffle Success Story
4. The Time Travelling Mousse
5. A Piece of Nice Hake
6. Diya, I Mchuzi You!
7. You Don’t Win Friends With Poached Chicken
8. Looking a Gift Bhaji in the Mouth

Jack and Endang were the clearly top two of the episode and safely through to next week’s Knockout Extravaganza and whatever that entails. I had also fully accepted that Diya was a goner and on her way to get Ol’ Yellered in The Shame Chimney

I’m sorry that I called you my favourite.
I do think they gave John A LOT of grace this episode though and given how good Jack and Endang’s dishes were, his just were not on the same level but hey, they like his point of view and what he’s doing so they kept him around.

And now for a new installment of the blog because I feel like I have to acknowledge it, it’s Ariadne’s Blog Fave Graveyard – an ode to all of the contestants that I called “My Favourite” and instantly doomed them to an untimely elimination, so start playing Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell and scroll super slowly

…I really don’t know life at all.

And if you’ve enjoyed this recap and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi HERE.

One thought on “MasterChef 2023, Episode 15: Chicken Skin Concession

  1. Meerium

    Blog fave graveyard has ENDED me 😂 You are on a spectacular run with it this series – not one week has avoided your curse!

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