The subtitlers have had enough of looking up Italian opera lyrics.
How many cakes can we set on fire?
Theatre Darling, Theatre!
In order to decide who this year’s final three would be the celebs were being put through the Theatrical Food Challenge – which last year mostly resulted in people forcing John and Gregg into a series of truly awful wigs
relying heavily on the production team securing the broadcast rights to 10 seconds of your own music and Mel Blatt leaving the assignment to the last minute, cobbling together whichever Easter decorations Sainsbury’s still had lying around and serving what amounted to mostly a plate of peas
She still didn’t go home.
And this year wouldn’t be a great deal different – although there were significantly fewer wigs and I’m sure Wynne was a little bit disappointed he’d blown his costume budget for the Fancy Airline Food Challenge – I was thoroughly disappointed by the lack of fake moustaches on show. That’s not to say there were no moustaches (we’ll get to it, I need to build up to Wynne’s Einstein on the Beach of a tasting menu – one for the Philip Glass fans in the audience.)
Amy however hadn’t yet had the opportunity to show off her ~acting~ skills and came out gunning harder for that Victoria Wood bit than Jayde Adams doing a 5 step Charleston in one spot
she wasn’t *trying* to be Mrs. Overall, but there was a certain vibe as she pushed that trolley along – although all Luca seemed to see was shades of French Maid
that’s actually the look of a man contemplating if he should risk it all and just whip his shirt off as he presented his exploding Casanova Cake to John and Gregg.
The actual inspiration behind Amy’s dish was Betty’s Tea Room, which had to only be referred to as A Famous Harrogate Tea Room™ which is fair if Wynne can only have The Infamous Insurance Advert™. And beyond the ~theatre~ of Amy dressing up as one of the Betty’s girls, she’d also designed her Afternoon Tea so that anything that looked savoury was sweet and anything that looked sweet was savoury
and as one final Loki-ish trick and potential French hate crime, the tea was actually tea-infused champagne which I am struggling to even imagine as a flavour. It was a very clever take on the challenge though and managed to be fun and whimsical as well as showing off a lot of technique without unfortunately ending up seeming a bit like a middling entry during Bake Off’s Cake Week…
Max and Luca both opted to go for sweet dishes and both were toeing the lines of accidentally competing on Bake Off – Max more so than Luca because his was just straight up the sort of cake you see at a village fete, albeit with more pyrotechnics
and because he realised it wasn’t theatrical enough, he slipped the others a tenner and some Haribo to sing a few bars of one The Wanted’s songs
although who am I kidding, Wynne doesn’t need to be paid anything to belt a note. And because I looked up what the single’s cover art looks like, I present to you this Mad Lads Masterpiece
what was The Wanted’s aesthetic? They’re a mystery to me, I missed the height of their popularity and fandom by a few years. Anyway, BACK TO CAKE
in all fairness to Max, it was a pretty well made cake and anywhere outside of MasterChef would have been really well received, but John and Gregg did have to point out that it was relatively simple when compared to Amy’s Reverse Uno Afternoon Tea, Wynne’s Lamb Anthology (Lambthology?) and Luca’s own flaming Bake Off entry
I’m choosing to believe Max brought in 4 of those novelty sparklers and was going to light that lemon cake up like a big band quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing but got told it was too much of a fire hazard and had to share with Luca, who needed something to make his dish more theatrical as he was gripped by a palpable reality TV existential dread
and the way he looked at his silly little exploding cake like he was a renaissance master unveiling their magnum opus filled me with so much joy
and there was a lot of very good work in it too – he’d made profiteroles and managed to make a really good hazelnut mousse and then paid them to call a few chocolate decorations “chocolate tuiles”
I’m sure he said “twirls” and they really upcycled it.
Finally we have Wynne who had decided to take on the Herculean task of creating a 6 course starter menu centred around a single cannon of lamb (by my maths you get 1 sliver of lamb per taster dish)
which did of course include several interludes of John and Gregg trying to not slightly grimace as a tenor belted into their faces from just 5 feet away
and because this was Wynne, there did have to be a prop
and you might think the Punch and Judy but Make It Soup set up might be the funniest part, but every time he then proceeded to pass the dishes through the stage curtain like a kitchen-hatch I lost my damn mind
and of course all the dishes pertained to an era of Wynne’s life – Cawl for his childhood, Madras for his uni years, Rostis for his performance at a rugby game, Welsh Cakes for his BBC Wales career and Egg-fried Rice for his favourite opera: Turandot which is set in China
I have left one dish unmentioned because obviously Wynne could not tell you the story of his life without leaving out The Infamous Insurance Advert
in a wild turn of events the FILTHIEST ringer may have made the most absurd dish of the series? And they glossed over it REAL quick – barely an acknowledgment of the fact it was just two things that barely go together on a plate – James Buckley, all might be forgiven?
A Theatrical Dish Ranking:
1. Five Sixth’s of Wynne’s Lamb Libretto
2. Amy’s Overall Success
3. Luca’s Cake of Many Insecurities
4. Just A very Nice Cake
5. Wynne’s Ragu Bowtie.
Wynne and Amy were both safe as houses, and in all honesty Luca was too because Max really hadn’t pushed the challenge far enough so I think it was a fair elimination, and I’m glad he got to go out with crashing and burning as he seemed to constantly be on the precipice of doing
I’m still waiting for that food cinema podcast.
As a… reward(?) for being the finalists, Luca, Wynne and Amy were being sent to run the Chef’s Table gauntlet at Darby’s, a restaurant owned by Robin Gill who is yet another protege of Raymond Blanc
I genuinely wonder who’s going to the Raymond Blanc of the next generation of chefs, because I don’t think this show has featured a single professional chef who hasn’t name dropped him or Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
Amy was on Starter duty with a Gorgonzola filled Agnolotti, which wasn’t too much of an ask for someone that’s been making pasta since she was 10, but it did have the added complication of her having to be in a constant state of feline readiness lest Luca’s sudden reconnection with his Italian heritage stab her in the back
instead he was banished to do yet more non-fish butchery and had to watch, heartbroken, as Amy mildly messed up one piece of agnolotti
nobody tell him about what she did to “One of the world’s best pumpkins”
and if you’re wondering how much Italy’s Premium Pumpkins (No, not Luca) cost, they’ll set you back £8.90 each, I think the pumpkin farmers of Italy are under selling themselves, take the Michelin star chefs to the cleaners – BLEED THEM DRY THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF GOURDS.
The Pumpkin Salvaging Ordeal aside, Amy’s dish came out really well
and there was enough technique for the guest chefs to praise without it sounding too much like we were just gassing Robin Gill up, and she can rest safe in the knowledge she was cracking eggs like a pro
Amy Walsh, Out of Work Actress and Egg Cracker Extraordinair.
Luca was in charge of the main course of lamb – a plate of food that featured both lamb cutlets, a lamb pie and sadly no moustaches or bowties, and he was trying not to look too bored by his second butchery lesson of the week
and you know, he was just thrilled by the whole experience and is so happy to have made the final of a competition all about celebrating food
The things you’ll do for your agent.
So despite begrudgingly enduring being made to cook something he wouldn’t ordinarily touch with a barge pole, he did very well
the best thing about high end chefs is they seem to routinely advocate for pies as side dishes (much to think about). As for the lamb cutlet side of things, I can’t stop seeing terrifying low poly Zanik from RuneScape
you may shame me all you like for harbouring an unnecessary fondness for what might be the ugliest MMORPG to ever exist.
Wynne has done a pretty stellar job of making as few desserts as he possibly could – however there was no escaping this time as he was put in charge of Robin’s Rhubarb Alaska, with a side of sablé biscuits that Lisa Faulkner has apparently be trying to steal from Robin like Team Rocket trying to nab Pikachu
she shows up in a new mech suit every week, it’s why John has to do so many series of MasterChef, it’s a tough hobby to fund.
Wynne was quite excited about the dessert though, because he has apparently long harboured the desire to be an ice cream man
which was a little at odds with his favourite childhood hobby
the way he casually said that like routinely boiling milk is a universal childhood experience puzzles me immensely.
The big thing for Wynne in this challenge was trying to nail the presentation of a fine dining dish because he has a tendency to present things like, well, this wasn’t a complete aesthetic outlier
but he certainly succeeded with a little more guidance on how to do it, as well as only having to do 5 of them as opposed to floundering his way through an entire lunch service
I was expecting the sable biscuits to look a little more delicate, but the fact they look like ancient manuscript pages is entirely on Robin.
And that’s it – I think Wynne is the inevitable winner (Wynner?) but Amy could easily scoop it and a big part of me is rooting for Luca’s snowball’s chance in hell – we love a well meaning underdog. I’ll see you tomorrow for the Grand Final
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