Coming to the West End next Spring: Bacon Grease.
Why must Egg Yolks continue to suffer?
You Are My Sunshine
For the last quarterfinal Invention Test, this week’s four remaining chefs had to put together their best sunshine evoking dish using the corpses of Miranda’s Fruit Friends
as well as every tropical fruit the nearest supermarket could offer, the chefs also had a wealth of seafood and spices so Ayesha was very happy because her Emotional Support Sumac was on hand
but everyone seemed pretty comfortable with the challenge, I mean obviously Tristan was working through some issues because he opened up two red mullet like he was going to wear them as a pair of moccasins
his intentional was to create a dish that felt like a British barbecue and I suppose nothing speaks to that more than two slightly wet looking fish – the judges were disappointed with the lack of any charring or smokey flavour to truly give it a barbecue-esque quality.
I was surprised that the majority of the chefs went with seafood dishes, especially Tom who was so excited by having a pastry skills test sprung on him earlier in the week, but instead he was currying favour by cooking a lobster dish that could stop traffic it was so neon orange
there was a lot that could’ve gone wrong with it, Lobster has to be cooked perfectly or else you’re on the production team’s shit list until you’ve paid that off and he was mixing potato, carrots and mango which does seem a step too far. Somehow he managed to pull it off and Monica and Marcus were having a race to see who could finish their mango potato salad first
and none for Tom
see, this is why you order in a full beef fillet and only serve up three tiny slivers of it.
The last of the main courses was from Ayesha who was cooking with Stone Bass, Courgette and Serotonin
and in typical Ayesha fashion, the list of elements on her plate was more of a Shakespearean monologue than a menu description
it may look a little bit messy but both Monica and Marcus absolutely loved the dish.
Lastly Cecily was at least using the fruit in a way that didn’t fill Marcus and Monica with a deep sense of dread as the 70 minutes of cooking time slowly counted down. Her dessert of choice being a Choux Bun filled with Coconut Creme Pat, Mango Mousse and Served alongside a Mango and Passion Fruit Salsa (babe, just say fruit salad) and a Tequila Granita (which is a great drag name if anyone’s shopping around)
for the most part it was a pretty damn good dessert – she’d pulled off the choux pastry perfectly which often goes wrong for even the best of chefs in the studio and the Margarita Granita was certainly strong enough to give Monica a buzz into the next challenge where she just began asking the most nonsense questions
the bird nerd in me is screaming about Pigeon Milk
but they did think her creme pat needed more Coconut. Which Cecily agreed with but unfortunately she has a chronic fear of whole coconuts
whichever editor chose to include a lingering shot to incriminate the scary bunch of coconuts is my absolute favourite person.
A Sunshine Themed Dish Ranking
1. Tom’s High Vis Lobster
2. It is the East, and Stone Bass is the sun
3. Cecily vs Coconuts
4. Tristan Barbecuing Under a Golf Umbrella Insisting Everything Is Fine
Everyone’s a Critic
The critics that the last bunch of quarter finalists were cooking for were Leyla Kazim, Jimi Famurewa and Grace Dent who was trying to get some good food in before she had to go spend 2 to 3 weeks eating kangaroo anuses with a 7:3 chance of coming out being far too chummy with Nigel Farage
and for the most part she got some incredibly good food – Tristan got the ball rolling off to a very good start with his starter consisting of Turbot and Board Beans in an oat milk-based sauce topped with a citrus tuile that was the perfect size to fit over the bowl – which personally I view as some sort of wizardry and don’t think anyone made nearly enough noise about
the critics were all particularly impressed to find that the food was all dairy-free, especially considering the texture and quality of the sauce, although it did have that distinct grey dairy free tinge that everything gets when you use plant based milks
it’s a small price to pay to not spend the entire challenge going into anaphylactic shock though.
For his main course, Tristan was cooking pigeon because there’s nothing he loves more than cooking tiny birds – I’ll take bets now on whether or not he starts pan-frying woodcocks. It was a slightly unusual dish, he was forgoing the usual pigeon accompaniments like hedgerow berries and instead opting for Rhubarb and a Lavender Jus
and for all the fear that the word “lavender” strikes into diners because there’s a 50/50 chance you’re about to eat something that tastes like you walked into a Lush store, he really managed to pull it off and actually left Monica wanting for more lavender notes
be careful what you wish for because the Monkey’s Paw will serve you up a Norman McBake-Off situation.
Following Tristan’s menu was going to be a hard and I was a little bit worried for Cecily because she was trying to cook two courses while also running the London marathon
she had given herself quite a lot of little bit-y things to do, her starter was Butter-poached White Asparagus with a Crispy Duck Egg and Parmesan Cream
I think it does look a little bit like a collection of things you got at a very fancy buffet but I like the informal sort of lunchtime menu it has, it’s nice to see something moderately more normal amongst the pomp and circumstance of venison, pigeon and more turbot than you can shake a fist at. I say that, but it is still white asparagus and a duck egg, it’s a Kensington lunch at the least, and while it wasn’t anything particularly new to the critics and judges, it was still a very well received plate of food.
For her main course she’d opted for a fish course of Hake and Mussels in a Smoked Dulse Beurre Blanc
which again, conceptually didn’t blow anyone away because the whole thing is kind of a not-fish-pie fish pie
but the addition of the dulse seaweed (which the show never once spelled correctly)
and the quality of the food really impressed everyone – I’m enjoying Cecily’s journey on the show already, she started on a bit of a bum note (as did just about everyone this week) but she seems to be building confidence and getting used to the studio environment, I’d almost written her off a bit but she’s becoming a bit of a contender, I just hope she maybe gets a little more creative because that’s the only thing I could see holding her back now. And obviously because I have declared her as One of My Faves, she will now be eliminated at the first opportunity they get.
Tom was next and while most of us use the completely scientifically unproven benefits of Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training to make us feel better about our cognitive abilities, Tom instead spends his lazy mornings dreaming of Turbot and Fish Mousse with a Gherkin Beurre Blanc Sauce
the fish and mousse were perfect – I’m still hung up on the gherkins, there’s just something so funny about this really classically French dish being laced with burger toppings but because it was a classically French dish and Tom is fast becoming Marcus’s adopted prodigious son, he raved about it
and then almost curb stomped Tom when he came in lamenting the fact he didn’t think it was perfect
stick a picture of it up on the fridge to make him know you care.
Tom’s dessert continued in a similar vein with his Chocolate Mousse and Feuilletine Stack looking like it could have come out of the finest patisserie in Paris
and Leyla was leading the June Rebellion
ok, calm down Enjolras.
It’s an impeccable dessert and the fact all four looked so pristine is a testament to his pastry skills, and earned him the highest praises we’ve had on the show
seemingly the only thing that could take him down at this point is some errant clingfilm.
Lastly we have Ayesha and unfortunately the Hype Train comes to a crashing halt with her first dish of Trout Crudo, Labneh and a Miso Egg Yolk Gel starting her menu off like a bit of a wet fart
it’s never great when your plate of food starts off like looking like a half eaten plate of food that someone’s really had to pick around to get all the good stuff – her biggest shortcomings were the fact her trout hadn’t been treated with much care and the miso egg yolk gel, perhaps unsurprisingly considering the awful things that happen to eggs on this show, was only ever described as “unpleasant”
don’t worry Grace, just lie back and think of crocodile testicles.
Sadly for Ayesha she didn’t manage to find much traction with her second dish either as everyone thought her Shawarma spiced Venison was just a bit too dry and the onion and date puree too sweet to use to counteract that
it sounded delicious though and I think it’s probably a dish that just needs a few more passes to work the issues out of – because they really did love the accompanying mushrooms which she’d topped with a Jordanian dried yoghurt called Jameed that she then proceeded to carrying around with her like a pet hamster
can I make the emotional support joke twice in one recap?
A Two Course Dish Ranking:
1. Tom’s Rebellion Leading Mousse
2. Putting the OAT in GOAT
3. Tom’s Classically French Gherkin Sauce
4. This Isn’t Just A Fish Pie…
5. Tristan’s Pigeon Bathbomb
6. Cecily’s Fancy Buffet Lunch
7. Take Good Care of Jameed
8. Ayesha’s Trout Cru-DOH!
It was very obvious to the viewers at home that Ayesha was going to be going home – she was the only one who got any negative critiques, however the contestants are obviously not privy to the critiques and only ever hear them when they watch the show back and I am so sorry to Ayesha, I LOVE her, but this is the face crack of the century
this is Phi Phi O’Hara realising Alyssa Edwards was behind the mirror – I am obsessed, I’m heartbroken because I could watch her on my TV forever, and if she had to go out, I’m glad she did it so iconically, and the gag perfectly followed by Cecily seemingly throwing up in her own mouth
I’m all in on Cecily, she can do no wrong, she’s the perfect TV contestant.
So the final three joining the Knockout Week line-up are Tristan, Tom and Cecily
Tristan has never done a fist pump in his life.
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