Celebrity MasterChef 2023, Episode 16: The World’s Fleshiest Skeleton

Max George Grills Vegetables (EMOTIONAL, NOT CLICKBAIT!”

We will never escape men whose entire personalities are just fire.

Scouting For Grills (I’m unreasonably pleased with this heading)

Apparently we aren’t done with torturing celebrities through the medium of professional chefs, with the first challenge of Finals Week being for the Final Weekists to learn the art of designing dining concepts using fire as a catalyst (I love you Big Meat Man Nic, Neva4Get) under the tutelage of Nick Weston who has made half a gap year his entire personality

and his right hand man, Pippy Longstockings

whomst we love and stan.

The celebs were in charge of a three course menu for a scouting group largely made up of teenagers, and watching a bunch of high schoolers trying to sincerely critique potato wedges and charcoal cream was basically the Lawful Good version of The Apprentice’s Chaotic Evil consumer feedback from the most savage 5 year olds

you’re doing great sweetie.

Course duties had been divided into Jamelia and Wynne doing the fish course, Max & Luca handling their meat together and Amy being relegated to Solo Dessert Duty and Head of Kindling

a big part of the trip was learning how to forage but they couldn’t pretend they were gathering out of season pears and Hazelnuts for Amy’s dessert so she just had to walk around with firewood for a bit while everyone learned about Pippy’s natural remedies

I mean, I assume there’s a reason it’s called a Cramp Ball Fungus?

By this point we’re usually ankle deep in massacred fish but having Luca, Acolyte of Poseidon and Guardian of the Seas, on the cast has indeed served to mitigate the disasters – however things were firmly out of his control this time because he was in a barn being distracted by a dead deer

the fur draped chaise longue in the background really sets the scene. And if you’re wondering why Max wasn’t entrusted with the butchery, this is how he cuts vegetables

somehow his escapade through cinema history stumbled out of the culinary and into Hitchcock.

So Wynne and Jamelia were firmly on their own in the preparation of their trout which went about as well as expected and you could see the life leave John’s eyes when he asked Jamelia to show him the skeleton of her filleted trout and she held up a piece of trout that had more meat on it than her fillets

he had become too accustomed to having someone with a Level 2 NVQ in fishmongering around the place and needed to be brought back into reality.
Being turned into the world’s fleshiest skeleton would not be the only indecency these dead fish would endure for Robert Baden-Powell’s legacy, as a key part of the cookery method involved a reenactment play of Luke 23:32-55

so we can’t even really blame them, that’s all on Nick “Pontius Pilate” Weston, although Jamelia didn’t *have* to take down the chopping board too

underrated part of the episode was Nick walking over and upon seeing that Jamelia and Wynne had staked their trout like a paranoid Van Helsing just muttered “That’s maybe a few too many nails”

Shockingly standing a bunch of crucified fish vaguely next to the fire did not cook them in time for the meal meaning Jamelia and Wynne were running 10 minutes behind and everyone had to decide which of the celebs’ Fame Factor would lessen the disappointment: The 2003 One Hit Wonder that still dominates the Co-op radio, The Hot One from The UK’s least Impactful Boyband, “Out of Work Actress Amy Walsh”, Him Off the Adverts or Luca Bish, You Know, Luca Bish! Ultimately it fell on the shoulders of Gio Compario sans moustache (did you know that character had a name? I DIDN’T.)

do we think they’d have been more excited for Simon Greenall doing the Aleksandr Orlov voice?

Jamelia and Wynne did eventually get their biblically punished fish out for the scouts who had to make a valiant effort to be excited about being served smoked trout after an afternoon of making setting up two man tents look like a 6 person job

I did really like how the meals were served, I’m a big fan of a platter and assume it helped the Scouts get their Fractions badge.

As mentioned earlier, Max and Luca were in charge of a venison dish, with Luca firmly on meat prep and Max mostly overseeing the creation of a “Burnt Ash Salsa” as opposed to those famous Merely Singed Ash Salsas and given that he seemed to forget fire makes things hot, he proved to be quite the liability

I had a flatmate at University who was genuinely shocked that his baking tray got hot in the oven – he also ate anchovies on Soreen Loaf and appeared in a state of pure panic at 6 in the morning because the washing machine was wetting his clothes. He was studying Law, so I’m sure the criminal justice system is fine.

Luca and Max did benefit heavily from Jamelia and Wynne’s delay because the two of them were very much treating the whole thing a bit like it was a LADS, LADS, LADS bonding exercise – much to the ever increasing annoyance of Nick and Pippy’s extremely exacting plaiting standards

the venison had to be plaited because apparently it makes it easier to portion out and the Mayo had to be made in an incredibly small bowl because when it inevitably falls on the floor you only lose about 2 eggs worth

but what did manage to avoid the floor and actually make it to the scouts was pretty good!

most of the critiques were for the potato wedges – I think we can all agree that every 15 year old is a fully licensed potato wedge sommelier. The only thing that got any negative feedback were Max’s aubergines which were the default vegetarian option

we never got to hear her feedback of the single slices of beetroot she got served instead of the trout. Can’t think why.

Given that Amy wasn’t having to face the ordeal of ripping the bones from an animal on national television, her divine punishment was having to make her own rough puff pastry in the middle of a kitchen garden

the dessert she was in charge of being a Tarte Tatin and despite the odds stacked against her on a fire that she couldn’t control the temperature of, she seemingly somehow turned out what might be the best looking Tarte Tatin to have graced MasterChef

usually they’re a bit of a sloppy mess but she really pulled this one out of the bag.

Truly Inspired

Safely back indoors at the MasterChef Hangar the celebs were having to create a dish based on someone they admire and nobody went too off the rails, except for maybe Max whose Chicken and Waffles dish was inspired by Some Guy™ he talked to on the streets of LA

not to cast any aspersion on Ol’ Jim The Mango Man but he was 100% a red pilled off the grid conspiracy theorist which really only makes me want to read Max’s autobiography even more.
Beyond Max’s questionable friendship circle, there were a few concerns for his Chicken and Waffles because he was serving them with friend bananas, maple syrup and mango-glazed bacon which could have been a bit too sweet

but I think once you really lean into the Americanness of it all, it probably works quite well. I will however never be convinced that fried bananas are anything but the devil’s food.

Wynne was also basing his dish off of a close friend and their post-rugby, wine-drunk adventures through the Cardiff chippies

it was your pretty standard curried fish and chips that we’ve seen a few times before but he had thrown in the wild card of a pickled egg submerged in an Ambiguous Rum Cocktail to completely decimate John’s taste buds

it’s Cardiff’s own Sourtoe.

Everyone else was treading the familial familiar – Jamelia choosing to completely wipeout with a plate of food from the spread of the most precocious five year old’s birthday buffet because after weeks of cooking great good for real stories and anecdotes attached to them, she decided that this episode she was mostly just going to dye some eggs pink

I would have bet a good amount of money that Jamelia was a sure fire pick for the actual final and I’ve never been furious at a devilled egg in my life – but it was a valiant effort to distract John and Gregg with little hats and bubbles

all Luca gave them was fish stew and daddy issues

they do say that the fastest way to your dad’s heart is through the respect of Gregg Wallace and he’d certainly earned that with how well he’d prepared and cooked the fish – a sentence I have now had to write so many times he’s going to have to get a gimmick that isn’t “I FILLET A COD PERFECTLY, LOVE ME FATHER!”

Lastly we have Amy who was making a dessert inspired by the Non-specific Mint Chocolate Bar she used to buy her grandfather when he took her for table tennis lessons – sadly the table-tennis lessons were unrepresented in the dessert but there is a universe out there where she did serve it all up on a table tennis paddle

it wasn’t her finest hour in the kitchen; texturally everything was a bit amiss – her ice cream wasn’t set, her pastry was too crumbly and the mint meringue filling of the tart was a bit runny but she’d nailed the Not Aero (*wink*) flavours perfectly.

An Inspirational Figure Dish Ranking:
2. Wynne’s Cardiff Curry Chippy Tea
3. Luca’s Daddy, Daddy Stew
4. Amy’s Aero Error
5. Jamelia…. Why?

The only real hope for Jamelia at the end of this round was that they’d somehow wing it as a non-elimination, but alas, Jamelia’s daughters got her eliminated (AND THEY’LL HAVE TO GROW UP KNOWING THAT)

I will be entering a 3 month mourning period.

and so, Luca and Max are going to be wrestling for that Finalist Spot…

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