Celebrity MasterChef 2023, Episode 14: War of Deep-fried Taxonomy

they should just replace Wynne’s nametag with “BELTS NOTE”

The sausage is a metaphor.

Big Zuu-mies

Ah yes, the annual We Bring In A Chef And You Cook Their Dishes For Us Challenge, although at least they were finally admitting to the pitfalls of this particular challenge

and of course, the guest judge was Big Zuu, the face of Hungry For It, which was basically Not Young MasterChef, but you wouldn’t know that because it aired on BBC3 and even India Fischer left it out of Big Zuu’s list of accolades and projects. I’m assuming given its radio silence that Hungry For It is quietly quitting, and I’m sure it had nothing to do with how they obviously plied the contestants with alcohol until one of them came in with such a severe hangover he had to be sent back to the house they were all living in together

it was essentially miso-glazed Pop Idol. Except instead of a record deal you got a sauce on the Nando’s Menu. WHO’S WINNING NOW, WILL YOUNG?

The dishes Big Zuu had the celebs cooking were a mix of Sierra Leonean favourites and the sort of street food you order once and then can’t bring yourself to look at food for the next 2 days (complimentary.) And you may have thought that we’d run the complete burger gauntlet after 4 Food Truck Challenges and the Explicitly A Sandwich™ Challenge, however Zuu was having both Max and Amy make burgers – the latter’s being a novelty Ramen Noodle Slider in which the buns were made out of noodles, perfect for your Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Superbowl Social Gathering!

I’m impressed, both with how well Amy managed to execute both the burgers and the halloumi fries but also because we’ve had burger buns made out of both compacted rice and noodles within the same series which is the sort of chaotic evil I enjoy about Celebrity MasterChef’s whirlwind relationship with carbs.

In Max’s corner of the Burger Battle Royale (with cheese) was a Saag Paneer Bhaji Burger – the only part of which he wasn’t making himself being the bun, which did happen to be a brioche bun but my Anti-brioche Burger Agenda is at last managing to take root

This did mean that Max was having to make the paneer himself, a process I’m not sure he could ever repeat because at some point he just entered a sort of fugue state

about as easy as making ice cream, Shaz.

He was a little more familiar with the bhaji component because his driving instructor used to give him one for not totalling the car in an empty overfull car park

4 weeks ago I would have told you I would not be interested in Max Off of The Wanted’s autobiography but… I think I could be swayed now, even if it’s just to find out if he actually ever got his driver’s license or if he had to found out the hard way that “Two onion bhajis and a lamb methi” is not an acceptable answer to any of the theory test questions. But we do at least know he can drive a deep fat fryer

the only real complaints they had about it were that he’d underseasoned the paneer and he hadn’t squeezed enough of the moisture out of his spinach so his Bland Brioche Buns™ were now Soggy Bland Brioche Buns™.

Wynne and Marcus were both put in charge of extremely popular West African staples, which they mostly spent their time talking about in varying degrees of incredulousness that toed a certain line…

and you know, perhaps Zuu putting Sierra Leone’s entire jollof reputation in the hands of Marcus “Level 5 Arch Cheese Mage” Brigstocke was his own fault

it wasn’t only the jollof that Marcus was having to worry about because he was also cooking lamb as well as Big Zuu’s own invention, Bang Bang Broccoli which was my personal favourite popstar crossover event of 2014

and may have been the highlight of Marcus’s own dish because the Jollof was ok and he wasn’t going to have to write an apology letter to the Sierra Leonean embassy but his lamb was a bit dry

Wynne also had a very successful dish, having managed to get a pretty good handle on the fufu making process on his first go with Zuu being very impressed by its texture

but he’d also done a really great job with his Okra and Beef stew as well as the Sweet and Sour Carrots and the inaugural Singular Crumb™ of the series

on regular MasterChef we’d be up to at least 15 singular crumb nations by now.

The last of the main courses was being made by Luca because he was the only person that could be trusted to cook a lobster without turning it into a crustacean bloodbath

he was cooking what was being called a Trap Box, which as a cognoscente of Looney Tunes, immediately brings this to mind

and the concept is not to far from that because it somehow costs £34 and was the most Temu-ass What You Ordered vs What You Got plate of food I’ve ever seen

Those ice creams that are meant to look like Spongebob but actually looking like weeping demons from an A24 movie are less disappointing

but Luca had done what he was meant to and beyond a few seasoning issues, had perfectly cooked everything including the Extreme Bear Grylls Macaroni

ok but I would watch exactly one series of Extreme MasterChef.

Jamelia and Shazia were both on dessert duty, the latter of which was making Zuu’s Salted Caramel and Banana Waffles, so she was firmly out of her comfort zone because sadly waffles do not appear on Wikipedia’s list of flatbreads. The waffles wouldn’t prove to be her great undoing though, as she got waylaid by her curdled ice cream that she hadn’t seemed to realise was an issue

babe… have you ever eaten ice cream?
Thankfully Zuu was absolutely, under not circumstances going to be eating frozen curdled eggs and did step in to stop that particular horror show after having the fear of God sent into him

this did mean that Shazia’s second batch of uncurdled ice cream hadn’t had time to set so she was forced to serve the trademark MasterChef Tiny Bowl of Lightly Chilled Cream

it wasn’t the only issue as her honeycomb hadn’t set properly either and was just a little bit too chewy for everyone’s dental work. You may liken the fried bananas to a mollusc of your choice.

Jamelia had a much better time of it and got on pretty swimmingly with the challenge at the consequence of failing miserably to hide the fact she had a slight crush on Zuu

and even more unfortunately for Shazia, Jamelia had to make a slightly more complicated Ice Cream (by which I mean she had to spoon in Peanut Butter and Reece’s Pieces) and everyone took great efforts to draw attention to how good it was

but she’d also done really well with her Akaras, a popular West African treat that got described as being like Dumplings, Doughnuts and Fritters – so delete as you want, I cannot pick a side in this War of Deep-fried Taxonomy.

A Big Zuu Recreation Ranking
1. Jamelia and the Incredible, Excellent, Great, Very Good Ice Cream
2. Wynne’s On Point Fufu
3. Amy’s Chaos Burgers
4. Max’s Seat Leon Bhajis
5. Sierra Leone’s Jollof Reputation
6. Luca’s Box of Bits
7. Shazia and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Ice Cream

Whoever Big Zuu deemed the best in the round would be bypassing the next challenge and going straight into the Semi-finals Week Final (this show…) and of course both because she was good and they needed to really spotlight Shazia’s imminent departure, Jamelia and ice cream sailed through

I can’t argue with the decision.

Oh My God… Time and Place. And You Did It A My Birthday Dinner.

For the Semi-final of Semi-final Week (this show…), the celebs were being put through the annual challenge of cooking something inspired by a fond memory or special location – which as ever did result in a truly record breaking amount of times “My nan…” got said on national television – the only people not honouring their grandparents were Amy and Marcus.
Amy was coming for Luca’s Italian Thunder and firmly placing her Ringer chips on the table as she told us all about how she’s been making pasta since she was 10

and she was going all out with her Lobster and Scallop Tortellini inspired by the dinner she had with her husband when he proposed to her

and the whole thing was suitably smart and opulent for John and Gregg, who particularly liked the bisque which she’d sacrificed an entire bottle of champagne to make

I would be very intrigued to know the portion price for this meal – and because of it everyone will be cooking with potatoes and motorway roundabout rabbits in Finals Week.

Luca was also making pasta and wasn’t going to be outdone by Amy so he started pronouncing “Nonna” with more of an Italian accent than ever before as he described the familial inspiration behind his Fagottelli and Meatball Ragu dish

I personally don’t care for the presentation – something about the parmesan dividing walls preventing any of the components seeing one another is giving my Takeshi Castle’s Honeycomb Maze vibes

which I realise is probably an entirely individualised problem so I can’t be too harsh about it, especially when by all accounts it was a very well cooked dish.

Shazia was also doing a very sentimental dish inspired by the time spent with her grandparents in Pakistan, and she was back on safer ground this time as she was ticking Rumali Roti off her Flatbread Bucket List

it wasn’t a bad dish by any means, and John and Gregg mostly praised it before throwing in the generic “You’re obviously going home critiques” of the Tikka Paneer being a little bit too rich to finish a whole bowl of

mostly because Wynne has plot armour and needs to be protected after his Belgian Lothario Sausage didn’t receive the greatest reception in the world

a little bit of the blame going to John Torode whose Sausage Making Masterclass apparently isn’t worth paying for

the infamous I <3 Hannibal Lecter roast lamb will always be my favourite plate of food to come out of a round like this, but I have to say “My Belgian grandfather had an affair after fleeing the Nazis and then got emotionally blackmailed into never seeing his lover or child ever again so I made a trisected Boudin Blanc Sausage which might be too much of a visual metaphor but oh well” is a strong second place. I did enjoy how they really, REALLY glossed over how awful HIS WIFE must have felt during the whole thing. Perhaps she was the chicory drowned in ale gravy.

The last of the main courses was from Marcus who was on an absolutely mad one with the sheer amount of Tapas he’d made

and most of it was extremely good, the only part of it that got any sort of real critique was his bread which he hadn’t toasted quite enough – and it is a bit funny that amongst an entire table’s order of Tapas the only thing he hadn’t done correctly was make toast.

Lastly we have Max who was making the only dessert of the whole episode, but that’s ok because he was making about 3 different desserts in his plate of indecisive tapas pudding

the wildly chaotic viscera of… just about everything juxtaposed against the haphazardly cut out cartoony jelly heart is, and forgive me for bringing something up that nobody has ever heard of (ON THIS BLOG???) is giving me such strong Pinky and Pepper Forever vibes that I genuinely felt a bit nauseous. The funniest part of it is that Max was aiming for refinement and got lost in the panic and only realised his plate looked like a Valentine’s Day Apocalypse when he stepped back after time was called

although he always looks a little bit like Gollum just realised a Hobbit had stolen his Precious.

An Emotional Plate of Food Ranking
1. Amy’s Bowl of Pasta and Bankruptcy
2. Luca’s Extremely Strong Italian Accent, All Of A Sudden
3. Marcus’s Tapas and Lightly Warmed Bread
4. Shazia’s Curry Wasn’t Bad, Actually
5. Max’s Valentine’s Day Apocalypse
6. The Metaphorical Implications of an Adulterous Sausage

Someone did have to go and coming into the second round Shazia did have the most ground to make up but I did think the critiques for her curry were very much done to give Max and Wynne a bye for the episode and she did seem the most expendable in the line up and she certainly wasn’t being given *any* screentime


no flatbread will ever be safe again!

And so, we go into the final of semifinals week

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