Celebrity MasterChef 2023, Episode 2: Sirloin Multiplication Table

Lord, give me the confidence of James Buckley.

This episode could have been an email.

Pairs and Graces

Remember how we celebrated the end of the Dividing Wall Challenge after Gemma Collins put Stefanie Reid through so much emotional abuse they had to re-split the teams up so they didn’t work together anymore? BECAUSE I REMEMBER. Anyway, I regret to inform you that it has returned and the only difference is the lack of a dividing wall which did at least allow them to capture every minute of Dani Dyer’s exasperation as James Buckley questioned her Vietnamese Pancake authority

so with the teams paired up as Mica & Marcus making an Avocado and Prawn Sushi Roll and Dani Dyer having a cinderblock tied to her legs and pushed into the Thames while making a Vietnamese pancake – it was on with the challenge with each team only have one member allowed access to the recipe, which was Paul Hollywood levels of vague, giving Dani and James the helpful hint of “make the pancake batter”

and unfortunately the two of them didn’t even stop to question which kind of pancake they were meant to be making, and somewhere along the line they decided it *must* be an American-style pancake as they seemingly upended the entire bowl of pancake batter into the pan as John Torode watched his entire life flash before his eyes

and imaginably had to go for a lie down as James and Dani began trying to fold pancakes the same thickness as the average sofa bed mattress in an Airbnb property (3 beds MY ASS)

and while I will not force Vietnam to claim these “soft shell taco, open omelette things” as their own; half the challenge was ending up with a pair of dishes that looked and tasted the same and because the two of them had done exactly the same wrong things, they did have identical, slightly raw in the middle, dishes

it’s something of a miracle there was even anything on the plate given that they did have to stop in the middle of Professor Buckley’s Kitchen Utensil Philosophy 101

Dani, no jury would convict you, do what you must.

Over on the other team, Marcus and Mica were having to deal with making a Prawn and Avocado Sushi Roll and truly I think having to make sushi would be my MasterChef nightmare. I’ve just never made it before and I’m sure it’s not *that* complicated on a basic level because they do sell sushi kits in the Tesco aisle next to the World Food Aisle but it’s so much easier to just buy a nice fancy tray of it from someone who looks like they know what they’re doing

and Marcus and Mica’s sushi assembly did get a little rushed given how much time preparing the completely flattened prawns took and the alchemical process of making a mirin-based dipping sauce that wouldn’t make Mica gag every time she tasted it as Marcus lost more and more hope for ever getting to visit Japan with every spluttering cough

they never did manage to get their sauces tasting the same, but their sushi were at least paired in their inelegance

apparently they also get dinged for Marcus serving his in a straight line and Mica opting for the classic Ancient Druidic Sushi Circle as she tried to tempt Leviathan out of the depths of her dipping sauce.

Pro One Out

GODDAMMIT. We’re in Professional Kitchen Territory with the two teams being sent to separate locations – Marcus and Mica got modern Indian restaurant BiBi while Dani and her cinderblock got to go sit a GCSE maths exam at The Pem

if Edward is holding 15 Monkfish and X=Wagyu Beef then… who’s driving the Durham-bound train travelling at 98 miles per hour?

I did honestly appreciate James’s extremely candid fluster because it has always mystified me how ANYONE can keep track of someone just shouting a slowly piling up collection of monkfish orders at you while you mostly try and fail to not set the fish on fire

so it was nice to see a fallible human splutter indignantly as three monkfish orders just materialised out of the ether

and at some point head chef, Sally Abe, did concede defeat and allowed James to get some extra help – nobody else would be granted a set of culinary training wheels because after all rule 7 of the MasterChef code of ethics is “Be kind to James, he’s delicate” and Marcus REALLY could have done with an extra set of hands to at least take the pressure of trying to make a pancake-thin roti (given the pancakes preceding, possibly not the best comparison) as every time he tore them, he loudly shouted in a kitchen open to the customers he was cursing

and everyone who ordered chicken was probably feeling mightily guilty after Marcus’s third batch of chicken breasts were lost to the fiery abyss as part of their dinner theatre performance

and joining them in their Indo-viking funeral were Mica’s halibut fillets

brave is any chef who would trust a first-time chef with halibut fillets over an open flame, but I won’t kink shame the masochism of it. The other part of the service Mica was struggling with, other than keeping Marcus’s rapidly depleting will to live alive, was calling the head chef “Chef” and quite regularly just said “Babes”

I think more chefs should embrace that – I want everyone to start calling Marcus Wareing “Babes” as he commands them to make a pigeon pithivier. The use of “commanding” is indeed projection…

While Marcus, Mica and James all committed to varying degrees of drowning, Dani Dyer thrived and seemed pretty happy once she had got the hang of the Sirloin Multiplication Table

and I think there is a real correlation between a professional kitchen and a reality TV set – if you’ve done any amount of work on a reality TV show, you know their sets are chaotic and the reason the Love Islanders and the members of TOWIE and Made In Chelsea all tend to do quite well on MasterChef is because they’re used to this level of chaos and activity without it overwhelming them – they’re not bothered by having a camera in their face or a sound operator running around behind them or a storyline manager prompting them to speak – that’s their day job, it’s their bread and butter, they really do know how to tune everything out and just focus on the task at hand. And who knows, maybe we’ll get the Dani Dyer Eating Experience opening in London one day

stranger things have happened.

For Truck’s Sake.

Imagine my slowly dawning horror as I basked in the glory of my vanquishing of the Street Food Challenge, only to realise that it was in fact a Hydra and from it’s slain neck grew two more heads – The Pairs Challenge and the Food Truck Challenge – the latter of which is at least the good twin because it feels like an actual MasterChef Challenge but really they just needed to find a use for their world flag bunting that they stole from a high school’s language department

and the celebrities were finally back to cooking their own food with the challenge being to serve up a dish that they would serve in their fantasy food truck and I’m not sure things bode well for this challenge as given the world’s street food at their disposal we’ve already doubled up on burgers with Mica and James both opting to make Cheeseburgers, or if you’re Mica “a burger with cheese”

I don’t know why, I just found that specific phrasing to be quite funny. She was jazzing hers up with a mango relish and some halloumi to get that sweet, sweet markup price up

I don’t really know what John and Gregg actually thought of this dish because Gregg said “I *like* your burger” in the same way Regina George tells you she loves your skirt

“that was the ugliest effing burger I’ve ever seen.”
The bigger problem (I think, again, burger sentiments unclear) was the fact her chips weren’t crispy as John waved the flaccid potato around like he was surrendering

but she wasn’t on her own with disappointing chips as James hadn’t managed to meet John’s exacting chip standards

which is probably why he looked like he was going to be sick as he served them up

but they absolutely loved his Wagyu Beef Burger

I think my favourite part of Celebrity MasterChef is that they don’t really have a care for proper culinary ingredients so alongside the more expensive Wagyu burger, John was coming into contact with the more obscure end of the supermarket cheese section

(The brand is called Mexicana, it’s literally just cheddar with chillies in it, please don’t tell Mexico.)

Marcus continued to be A Little Bit Too Good™ – although he did probably deserve a moment of glory given he’s started a blood war with Chet Sharma and Chickens in general. His food truck dish being Popcorn Prawns with a selection of dips and a ‘slaw of sorts

and it got rave reviews so his efforts to deplete the Tiger Prawn population of Northern Australia at least paid off.

Lastly it was Dani, who was honouring the underrated food market king, paella because every episode she does have to mention that she’s 1/4 Spanish and about 1/900th William the Conqueror

it does look a very good paella and the Spanish will be very glad to know that I do not believe a single piece of chorizo went into it as a hail Mary for some ~espanol flare~ – I think it checks out on the authenticity scale.

A Food truck Challenge Ranking
1. Marcus’s Boringly Adept Popcorn Prawns
2. Dani’s Paella-ella-ella
3. James’s Brit Pop Mexicana Wagyu Burger
4. That’s the ugliest effing burger I’ve ever seen.

They ran into a bit of a sticky situation when it came to deciding who to eliminate – I would say they had assumed James would probably be an easy choice here (and perhaps he still could have been) but Mica very clearly had the weakest burger and hadn’t shone particularly brightly when it came to the sushi or the pro kitchen. Mica however was spared, and not because they were going to drive a bus over James but because nobody was eliminated

it might have been more of “A moment” if everyone had done super well but you know “your mediocrity was inseparable” doesn’t quite leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling – nor does the knowledge that Richie Anderson probably threw a remote through the TV.

And so… nothing chances.

I blame RuPaul when things like this happen and I don’t get to fill out the elimination wall

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