Week Four of MasterChef is over, and 56 amateur cooks from around the country with a range of backgrounds have started to battle it out to be named the MasterChef 2019 Champion.
In the critics test, the amateur cooks are going face to face with the daunting test set by critic Amol Rajan, to make their own interpretation of a classic British afternoon tea.
After cooking their dish and hearing if they have managed to rise to the challenge and meet expectations, only the best cooks with go through to knockout week.
Let’s see how the chefs got on…
Alex understands good flavour and how to put sweet things on a plate.
Signature dish: Almond macaroons topped with smoked salmon and a ouzo wasabi avocado cream, parmesan shortbread topped with chestnut and mushrooms, sour cherry and pistachio brownie, passionfruit, mango and coconut mille-feuille and a lemon and ginger posset.
Amol thought the macaroon was ‘superb‘, the pastry on the shortbread was ‘almost perfect‘ and he felt he was ‘going on a tour around the world‘.
John said the mille-feuile was ‘perfect‘ and ‘absolutely brilliant‘.
Gregg loved the cooking and flavours coming from the sticky brownie and said it was an ‘absolute delight‘.
Amal has introduced fantastic flavours.
Signature dish: Added a parsley salad to two types pitta, one with ginger and chilli spiced chicken and the other with fried aubergine, eggs, yohgurt and tahini. She’s also made a semolina cake coated in an orange syrup, coconut and cardamom milk and almond and mascarpone stuffed dates with a mint tea.
John would off preferred seeing ‘flatbreads mate instead of ready made pittas‘, but loved the cake – just wished for more syrup.
Amol agreed but really loved all the flavours coming from the afternoon tea, but criticised the milk for being ‘too much like condensed milk with the fat rising to the top and not enough sweetness‘.
Gregg really liked the dish and said it was ‘terribly clever’.
Jilly has shown really powerful flavours and fine dining desserts.
Signature dish: Turning sweet and savoury on its head. Parmesan biscuits filled with tomato, courgette frittata muffins and chive scones topped with beetroot smoked salmon and cream cheese, alongside kiwi and cream sponge sandwiches, gin and tonic granita and strawberry gazpacho.
Gregg was very happy with ‘how much the cook had achieved in the amount of time given‘. He loved the flavours coming from each element, but wished there was ‘less cream on the salmon and that the biscuit wasn’t falling apart’.
Amol loved the ‘creative take on the conventional afternoon tea‘ and thought the ‘gazpacho was a nice way to finish‘.
John found it ‘very imaginative and inventive‘ and was surprised with ‘how much work was done in 90 minutes, unfortunately the food was a little rough around the edges’.
Maria has shown a fine dining ambition.
Signature dish: Fennel seed scones accompanied by crab hollandaise and sweet chilli jam, served with a matcha tea mille-feuille made with Chantilly and sponge sandwiches filled with Prosecco macerated strawberries and mascarpone cream.
Amol was happy with the cooking of the scones, but was very disappointed that ‘shell was found within the hollandaise‘. He couldn’t taste the matcha within the mille-feuille neither any sweetness.
Gregg agreed and questioned if there was any ‘sugar put in the Chantilly‘ as it wasn’t a sweet dessert and the sponge he found ‘quite dense‘.
John was mostly disappointed in the mille-feuille, but told the cook she ‘had done OK and not to be too hard on herself‘.
Jasmin has wowed us with Indonesian food and big bold flavours.
Signature dish: Peanut tuille topped cucumber, eggs, peanut sauce, crispy onions and micro amaranth, alongside crispy chicken skin topped with curried chicken and coconut rice, pan-dan scones served with pineapple sauce and a Chantilly cream and a maize spice layer cake with coffee cream served with a condensed milk iced coffee.
John loved the big flavours and how much work had been put into the dish and overall enjoyed the dish.
Gregg thought it all looked a ‘little chunky‘ for a delicate afternoon tea and wasn’t happy with how ‘dense‘ the scones were.
Amol and Jasmin both understood that the ‘maize cake didn’t work‘ and was ‘too thick‘, but unfortunately her ‘ambition has taken away the technicality from the dish‘.
Geoff has technical and cookery knowledge with love from Italy.
Signature dish: Italian afternoon tea consists of fried pizza topped with mozzarella, plum tomato and basil, almond biscotti filled with quince jelly, cannoli pastries with ricotta, mascarpone and candied citrus fruit dipped in chocolate and pistachio and a raspberry and fig sorbet.
Gregg was ‘very impressed‘ with Geoff’s fried pizza and biscotti and wish there was more.
John loved the fillings from the cannoli and was very surprised how he had packed fig leaves into a sorbet, which was ‘very delicious‘.
Amol found the texture and flavour of the sorbet ‘absolutely fantastic‘ and thinking about the brief, he said there ‘wasn’t anything Geoff had missed‘.
The judges and critics all agreed that the 4 chefs going through to the knockout stage would be; Geoff, Jilly, Amal and Alex
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Jasmin and Maria.