MasterChef 2020: Week Two Heats
March 9, 2020
MasterChef 2020 continues to heat up, and we’re already on to our second week of heats. The same format as the first week, 6 contestants are put through 3 rounds to whittle them down to 3 quarterfinalists. Judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode are joined by guest judges along the way.
In the first round, the 6 amateur cooks used ingredients from home to cook up a signature dish hoping to impress the judges. Given 1 hour and 15 minutes, the judges wanted to see a dish that showed something about the individuals cooking style and the food they love. At the end of this round, the judges select the top two performers, who are awarded the first two MasterChef aprons. The remaining 4 chefs will then have to impress the judges in the next round.
Let’s meet the contestants and see how they got on in episode 4…
Olivia, 26, from London is a Law Graduate who perfected her cooking whilst working in France when she was 18.
Signature Dish: Baked monkfish wrapped in parma ham with roasted red pepper and onion, vine tomatoes, charred tenderstem broccoli and asparagus, served with chilli, capers and a chorizo butter.
John was disappointed with Olivia’s dish. He said there was nothing ‘wrong‘ with it, just elements needed perfecting.
Gregg complimented Olivia’s monkfish cookery but said the ham needed to be crispy. He did however, love the tomato and red onion, and the flavours running through the chorizo butter.
Bruce, 32, is retired professional bobsleigher, and an Olympic bronze medallist
Signature Dish: Chicken curry topped with chips, saffron pilau rice with crispy shallots, and a coriander and onion chutney. Garnished with bunched coriander leaves.
John couldn’t compliment Bruce’s dish enough. He said ‘its delicious‘ and the chicken was ‘soft and moist and wonderful‘, with a refreshing chutney. ‘Winner, winner, chicken curry dinner‘ he said.
Gregg was equally as thrilled with the dish, saying it was an ‘absolute stormer of a dish‘.
Sandy, 24, was born on the Chinese Island of Macau and moved to the UK to study when she was 13
Signature Dish: Macanese chicken with chorizo, olives and coconut milk, served with egg-fried rice. Garnished with a bayleaf.
John said Sandy’s dish was an ‘odd combination‘, but he enjoyed it. Although, he would’ve liked a bit more sauce.
Gregg also enjoyed the sauce but overall said the dish was ‘underwhelming‘.
Terri, 44, is a company director and a keen dinner party host
Signature Dish: Pan-seared duck breast served with balsamic carrots and turnips, beetroot, parmesan and cream puree. Served with a potato fondant and finished with a duck sauce. Garnished with tendril pea shoots and red vein sorrel cress.
Gregg was pleased with Terri, saying the duck was cooked really well and the vegetables were nice. ‘I’m quite impressed with your cooking‘ he said.
John said he could eat the sauce ‘by the spoonful‘. He was very complimentary of the dish, suggesting only a few improvements.
Signature Dish: Sous-vide venison fillet served with fondant potatoes, celeriac cream puree, and parsnip crisps served with a foraged wild berry sauce.
John felt the sauce lacked ‘structure‘ and needed to be reduced more. Although, he was complimentary of the presentation, saying it looked ‘great‘.
Gregg agreed with the good presentation and could see good ideas and knowledge behind Nigel’s cooking. He did however say he felt there was not enough celeriac flavour in the puree.
Max, 26, is a Sales Administrator and was inspired to cook by his grandfather, who worked as a chef in the RAF
Signature Dish: Pan-fried sea bass topped with garlic prawns served with green beans, peas and a vanilla cream veloute. Garnished with micro watercress.
Gregg liked Max’s presentation but said the prawns and sea bass were a little overcooked. He said Max’s dish was ‘not a bad attempt‘.
John was equally as complimentary of Max’s presentation and admired his ambition. He said the dish had shown good skill.
At the end of this round, the judges decided the cooks going straight through to the third round and securing themselves a MasterChef apron would be Bruce and Terri.
The remaining 4 contestant then had one more chance to secure themselves a MasterChef apron and a place in the next round. Called the Three Ingredients Test, the cooks are given 50 minutes, 3 ingredients chosen by the judges and a larder stocked with herbs spices, aromats and flavourings, and must produce one dish with the 3 ingredients as the stars. This time, the contestants had to use pork tenderloin, butternut squash and cavolo nero. All the cooks performed well in this round and the judges were equally as impressed. Although, the top performers in this round were Max and Sandy. Meaning it was goodbye and good luck for the future to Nigel and Olivia.
The final round to whittle the cooks down to 3 quarterfinalists involved all 4 contestants cooking two courses in 1 hour 15 minutes. The contestants cooked for guest judges, and MasterChef 2016’s finalists and winner, Jane, Billy and Jack. The chefs all delivered some great dishes, but at the end of this round, Terri was going home. This meant that Max, Bruce and Sandy had all secured themselves in the quarterfinal.
Episode 5 followed the same format, whittling 6 contestants down to 3 quarterfinalists.
Let’s meet the cooks and see how they got on in episode 5…
Jane, 39, is a business owner and has a passion for classic cooking.
Signature Dish: Fillet steak with chips cooked in beef dripping, a king oyster mushroom, lambs lettuce salad, and a béarnaise sauce.
John was initially shocked at Jane’s ‘massive portion‘, but was really impressed with the dish itself. He said the sauce was ‘fabulous‘.
Gregg was also thoroughly impressed with Jane’s execution of the dish. He complimented every element.
Alex, 49, is a Doctor specialising in adventure medicine.
Signature Dish: Tagliatelle with parmesan, cream and truffle butter with crispy pancetta, confit egg yolk, truffle oil and fresh truffle.
Gregg enjoyed Alex’s homemade pasta and the way it had been cooked. He also loved the saltiness of the bacon and cheese and the richness of the egg yolk. His only criticism was that there was ‘a little too much truffle‘.
John agreed with this, but did compliment Alex, saying he showed some technically ‘nice things‘.
Joanna, 31, is a Digital Marketing Executive and likes to experiment with vegetarian cooking.
Signature Dish: Roasted butternut squash risotto served with toasted pine nuts, crispy sage leaves and parmesan crisps.
John complimented Joanna on the flavours in the dish, but was disappointed that her rice was overcooked.
Gregg agreed and said there were ‘great‘ flavours, just the rice was sticking together a getting a little ‘clumpy‘.
David, 31, enjoys cooking a tasting menu for his family at Christmas, and has a passion for painting in his spare time.
Signature Dish: Pan-fried cod with a cauliflower and turmeric puree, roasted and pickled cauliflower, coriander salsa verde, served with sesame turmeric rice crackers and garnished with dill and pansy flowers.
Gregg was thrilled with David’s dish, saying ‘for an amateur cook I think that is fantastic‘. He couldn’t compliment the dish enough and said the presentation was ‘incredible’.
John agreed with Gregg and used the words ‘remarkable‘ and ‘fantastic‘.
Viktorija, 32, started cooking when she moved to London 10 years ago and has a passion for French and Italian food.
Signature Dish: Duck breast served with sweet potato and star anise puree, roasted honey peaches, asparagus, toasted pecan nuts and a red wine sauce.
Gregg said Viktorija’s puree was ‘fantastic‘. He also loved the sauce and the cookery of the duck skin, it was only the duck he said was overcooked.
John agreed that the duck was overcooked and felt the peach and honey didn’t go with asparagus.
Nathan, 29, is a PhD student and enjoys combining world cuisines with his Caribbean heritage.
Signature Dish: Caribbean tacos; curried Caribbean chicken with mashed potato and a mango and mustard hot sauce.
Gregg’s initial thoughts went to the presentation of the dish, which he said ‘needs work‘. Although, the flavours he said were just ‘lovely‘.
John was thrilled with Nathan’s dish. He said he’d ‘dared to be different‘, but said it was absolutely ‘delicious‘. John couldn’t compliment the dish enough.
At the end of this round, the judges decided the cooks going straight through to the third round and securing themselves a MasterChef apron would be David and Jane.
The remaining 4 contestant then had one more chance to secure themselves a MasterChef apron and a place in the next round. Called the Three Ingredients Test, the cooks are given 50 minutes, 3 ingredients chosen by the judges and a larder stocked with herbs spices, aromats and flavourings, and must produce one dish with the 3 ingredients as the stars. This time, the contestants had to use apples, almonds and vanilla. All the cooks performed well in this round, but there were two stand outs. Gregg and John both decided the two cooks to secure themselves a MasterChef apron would be Alex and Nathan. Meaning it was goodbye and good luck for the future to Victoria and Joanna.
The final round to whittle the cooks down to 3 quarterfinalists involved all 4 contestants cooking two courses in 1 hour 15 minutes. The contestants cooked for guest judges, and MasterChef 2010’s finalists Alex, Dr Tim and Dhruv. The chefs all delivered some great dishes, but at the end of this round, Nathan was going home. This meant that Alex, David and Jane had all secured themselves in the quarterfinal.