Celebrity MasterChef 2023, Episode 1: Rapidly Depressurised Blobfish

I have a new career path.

Has rice not suffered enough?

Cloche Warfare

In a slight change of format, instead of the celebrities being assigned cloched ingredients, this year they each had to select their own cloche

so there was absolutely, positively no way that they could set up these results and Dani Dyer completely organically walked into her own The Godfather horse head in the bed situation as fate saw fit

but to be fair she navigated the cervine Francis Ford Coppola nightmare she had found herself trapped in pretty well, not that she was happy about it as she emerged from the steam like a malevolent spirit who had just had her nefarious plans foiled

I love it when this show is needlessly cinematic.

I mean, personally, my brain starts making dial-up modem noises the moment anyone says “venison with roast potatoes dusted with chilli flakes and pesto” but… each to their own, I guess

John and Gregg seemed happy enough with it and were willing to let the pesto slide on the count that it “showed skill” – which is probably fair considering on the table next to her Richie Anderson was turning anything he could get his hands on into a Wiltshire Farm Foods Level 6 Soft Meal

I do not have the constitution to deal with what Richie was doing quite yet, I need to build myself up.

Also getting their hands on some meat were Marcus Brigstocke and James “Friieeeeeennnd! 👍👍” Buckley who had both found themselves dealing with seafood which did mean that Marcus’s cheese qualifications weren’t going to help him this time unless he was wanting to be absolutely unhinged

at Level 4 you upgrade to a “Necromanchego” and you get to roll an extra 2 D6 for every spell slot above 2 – I’m in my Brennan Lee Mulligan era.

Marcus did decide to play it rather sensibly and went for the ambitious Thai-inspired Sauce with Egg-fried Rice and easily takes gold in the Rice Grand Prix given he was the only person not to do something horrific to the innocent grains

it’s a pretty perfect dish and probably most impressively (other than not rendering the rice into a sustainable building material) was his preparation of the sea bass with there not being a single shot of him doing anything awful to it – maybe seafood is safe once more…

scratch that.

Perhaps a little unfairly, as John pushed Richie out to sea to crash upon the jagged rocks of aubergine doom with but half a life-vest to help him

he gamely stepped in to help James deal with his prawns as James stood there mostly just gently massaging them because I imagine he didn’t particularly fancy picking prawn legs out from betwixt his teeth

James said he wasn’t a cook and was mostly here as a penance walk – so the fact he has Cersei Lannister’s Girlboss Slay Pixie Cut is rather appropriate

and so he kind of defaulted to the go-to prawn technique of just pan-frying them with their heads intact and maybe, possibly most of their legs removed (question mark)

and every Miscellaneous Stir-fry needs its rice which Gregg watched him make like a chemistry teacher that was absolutely positive a year 8 girl was about to burn her eyebrows off (we’ll never forgive you Mr. Poore)

they will let him serve up rice that could cause bluntforce trauma but God forbid he serves John Torode a single prawn leg

congratulation James, you have certified the series as A Grade authentic Celebrity MasterChef and not just sparkling Ready Steady Cook with the first Rice Bludgeon of the series. The prawns were good and by all accounts definitely legless.

Mica Ven of shouting at the TV fame was on dessert duty with a pineapple that she was seemingly threatening to make the most cursed fruit salad with

knowledge is knowing that tomatoes are fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put them in a fruit salad – or so went my MSN tagline in 2006 when it wasn’t Fall Out Boy lyrics.

Thankfully, for John and Gregg (I was a little disappointed,) Mica did pivot away from the tomatoes and pursued a more ordinary pineapple upside-down cake which came out rather well!

for someone who said she doesn’t bake, that’s a good cake! Don’t look oto closely at the whipped cream because it has the texture of Richie’s rice

which I supposed I have to talk about now… Oh Richie, you poor piece of spaghetti that the BBC keeps flinging at the wall to see if he sticks – at least this time there was no chance of him being forced to wear a meerkat onesie (unless they’ve got a really weird format change planned for later.) I did know that Richie was rather doomed the moment he was perplexed by an aubergine which was a very obvious lob given that two people were dealing with preparing seafood, Dani was dealing with Disney-induced childhood trauma and Mica was threatening to commit fruit salad seppuku just to avoid baking

and there’s definitely no innuendo I can possibly draw from a man looking like he doesn’t know what to do with an aubergine

and shrugging was pretty much Richie’s approach to the challenge as he sort of grabbed any vegetable that Mica hadn’t threatened to throw in a fruit salad, added it to his curry and rapidly stirred it until it was either overcooked or just pulverised

and then of course there was his Lemon and Coconut Rice which had the melancholy disposition of a rapidly depressurised blobfish – the camera operator that refused to film it from an angle that would have made the chilli slices look like eyes is A COWARD

a lot of awful things have been done to rice in the name of celebrity fuelled culinary content, this has to be one of the worst – God bless you Richie Anderson, you cereal killer.

An Invention Test Dish Ranking
1. Marcus Brigstocke Being Boringly Good
2. Mica’s Not-Fruit Salad
3. Dani Dyer’s Plate o’ Trauma
4. James’s Prawns and Rice Weaponry
5. Richie’s Curried Mush

Dinner Party Madness

Apparently someone at the BBC finally took notice of the fact I’ve been calling for them to end the Street Food Challenge because it’s incredibly boring! So if anyone wants anything from the BBC let me know, I’m currently manifesting Owain Wyn Evans and Duggee from Hey Duggee for Strictly and for them to resurrect All That Glitters from its premature grave because I think I finally have a strong enough sob story to get someone to make me a massive silver brooch in the shape of a tarantula. So instead we move right along to the celebrities cooking a two course meal that they’d be happy to serve to at least the second tier of their friendship pyramids.

I did feel a little bit sorry for Richie because he was recovering from a pretty solid bottom placement in the first round and ended up with both of his courses being incredibly similar to the courses that the obvious leaders, Marcus and Mica were cooking. The beginning of his No Good Very Bad Day in the Kitchen starting with a face off against Mica as they both went for Jamaican chicken and rice dishes – Mica opting for Brown Stew that John and Gregg absolutely loved

and Richie going for Jerk Chicken but doing it his way which apparently involves more threats of fruit

and so everyone was forced to call it “Fruit Punch Jerk” which does sound like a cocktail that’s basically a lethally alcoholic soft drink I would order

and it looks good! Although Gregg thought the chicken was looking “a little pink” and… sir, I think that’s just thigh meat?

I don’t think I would blink if I cut into a chicken thigh and it was that colour? John certainly wasn’t

the fact his rice was “too wet” is a slightly more believable critique because, well, you remember his previous rice from not even 30 seconds ago.

Richie’s Dinner Party Showdown continued with a Poached Pear – which is already a bad sign because they are the salads of the dessert world and as is well documented, one does not win friends with salad

the only thing really going for him was the fact that his partner in pear poaching, Marcus, was going one step further with his glorified (thankfully tomatoless) fruit salad being sugar-free

and thus evaporated his chances of ever winning.

Given that a poached pear is a simple dessert (although given the desserts that got made this round that’s not a relative truth) it does kind of have to be perfect and unfortunately for both of them, there were aspects lacking – Richie’s probably more so because the pears weren’t fully poached and a collection of nuts had just been tossed at the plate like an ancient Roman seer trying to read the future (things are not looking good)

and also when they start describing your dessert as “just sticky and sweet” as though that’s not a good thing or the baseline definition of a pudding, you kind of know Gregg “Two Spoons for One” Wallace is chumming the waters.
Marcus wasn’t without fault either as Gregg felt the dessert ought to be sweeter given the sharpness of the yuzu – which honestly is kind of only a secondary issue to the… suspiciously yellow syrup everything is sitting in

stay hydrated folks.

The desserts this round were… mostly a mystery to me, Mica’s was a pretty ordinary Cheesecake except it wasn’t really a cheesecake so much as it was a fancy take-away breakfast

John and Gregg had no real massive gripes with it, but it is hard to be thrilled by something that imbues you with the energy of feeling like you’re hurriedly eating muesli on a rush hour train while commuting to work. Still not the most confusing dessert, and nor was Dani Dyer’s Pavlova that looked like an attempt at making a child’s birthday cake in the shape of Makka Pakka from In The Night Garden

we are assured that it “tasted like fruit and meringue” – great observations, I can’t add anything more.

The dessert that has mystified me and kept me up all night as I studied it like it could potentially be used for alchemical purposes is James’s Peanut butter and Chocolate… “Pie” which seemed to just be plain peanut butter scraped over crushed Oreos and covered in melted dark chocolate

Oreos sans-frosting are not a sweet biscuit, peanut butter is famously salty and dark chocolate is… well, dark chocolate and the whole dessert does look like something a sugar-free Instagram influencer would insist tastes “just like a Mississippi Mud Pie!” (sorry, Marcus)

but the thing that truly echoes in my brain is John saying “It’s got the flavours of your favourite Easter Egg”

WHAT EASTER EGGS? WHY SPECIFICALLY AN EASTER EGG? NOBODY ELSE MENTIONED EASTER EGGS? There was also the fact he called it “elegant” but to be fair it was following a cremated steak, some slippery carrots and a Very Hungry Caterpillar of potatoes (an imperial unit)

I mean, much like his “pie” it is just three things on a plate but perhaps we should be thankful for the token buttered and salted carrots after he declared himself a “meat and potatoes man”. And also by some miracle the scorched steak looked pretty damn perfect inside

I think I might be in love with James Buckley – he’s kind of the perfect disaster and I can fix him.

Marcus was sticking with fish for his main course and bringing a bit of his cheesey wizardry into the mix with his Salmon and Cheddar Potatoes (not the cheese I would have gone for but sure)

the cheese was not the issue and offered more of a piquant seasoning than anything else but sadly his salmon was overcooked, although I’m perhaps a little bit relieved that it was because it meant Gregg couldn’t say “slippery pink interior” twice in one episode but I’m not sure it’s ever a great thing if the star of your salmon fillet supper is declared to be the salsa verde

if my guests told me that, there is only one way that that dinner party would end

truly an image you can hear.

Lastly we have Dani’s main course which was her go-to chicken curry with a naan bread and Bombay Potatoes

and it was a perfectly serviceable chicken curry: well cooked, flavoursome sauce, a modicum of ambition – solid MasterChef fare.

A Dinner Party Dish Ranking:
1. Mica’s Golden Brown Stew
2. Dani’s Belting Balti
3. Marcus’s Salsa Verde with Salmon
4. Picasso’s CBeebies Phase.
5. Marcus’s Dessert of Unfun.
6. Three Things. Just Three Things.
7. Richie’s Maybe, Possibly, Slightly Raw Chicken Cocktail
8. Mica’s Sad Commuting Breakfast
9. Richie’s Ill-fated Pears
10. I Refuse To Have Faith In James’s Pie

Not a bad first episode and certainly made me excited for the rest of the series (the fact Cheryl Hole and Bottom Two Goddess Jamelia are on is so specifically me) but there did have to be an elimination and thus, because there was no Woman Over 50 to take the fall for him, Richie Anderson was Celebrity MasterChef 2023’s First Boot

hey, on the brightside, it didn’t involve a meerkat onesie and chest fringe.

And thus, *so many* contestants remain – how many on the Elimination Wall Bingo Card do you know?

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4 thoughts on “Celebrity MasterChef 2023, Episode 1: Rapidly Depressurised Blobfish

  1. kthxrawr

    I did not think I could fangirl you more, and then you mention Brennan Lee Mulligan. The crossover I never knew I needed.

  2. Meerium

    Oh Janey, I just snorted wine at this recap, which is all shades of perfect.

    Lord, Gregg’s continuing obsession with chicken being pink when its clearly thigh flesh is a depressing carryover from Masterchef. Just stop!

    And I am deeply relieved to know I wasn’t the only person BAFFLED by the ‘favourite Easter egg’ comment. Usually brand names are pretty translatable from the euphemism but I have NOTHING for this one.

    Poor Ritchie. I’d entirely go for a pina colada or other kitsch cocktail of choice with him. I have no idea why I have him as a pina colada type, but I totally do.

    1. Ariadne

      Oh, he’s absolutely a pina colada man!
      The Easter Egg thing is a real head scratcher – had he just said “your favourite chocolate” we could have just assumed he meant a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and been on our merry way – I can only assume that possibly this was filmed during or around Easter so John had things on his mind

  3. Michael Nightingale

    This recap is already a complete win for “Necromanchego”, and we’re only 10 screenshots in. Quality.

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