MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 – Finals Week One
December 19, 2018
After 6 weeks of intense culinary battles, the four most talented chefs remain from the original 48. The first challenege the 4 chefs face in the finals is the once-in-a-lifetime chance to cook at one of the most prestigious events in the UK culinary calendar – the Chef’s Table. It’s a unique opportunity for the chefs to showcase their dishes to the people that inspired them. The year the VIP guests have held 24 Michelin stars between them and include three-Michelin-starred Matt Abe, Atul Kochhar, Nigel Haworth, Michael Caines, Lisa Goodwin-Allen, Paul Ainsworth, James’ ‘Jocky’ Petrie and Nieves Barragan Mohacho.
Each chef takes charge of one of four courses, which are served to their culinary idols. Over five intense hours they are watched by Marcus and Monica as they cook the most important menu of their lives, preparing every last element of their ambitious creations to perfection to please their important guests.
Dean has had a career cooking for rockstars and royalties, he has made the finals with some immaculate presented and delicately balanced dishes inspired by his travels. Today he is in charge of the starters.
Signature Dish: Ceviche of halibut with buttermilk and lime, a marinade sphere of coriander, chilli, jalapeño and lime, served with a prawn and bean fritter on a cumin and smoked tomato reduction , sweet pickled onion, confit tomato, cucumber jelly and tapioca bread drizzled with cumin oil.
Jun Tanaka is very happy with the instant aroma of freshness, he thought the presentation was a ‘little bit outdated‘.
Michael Wignall was disappointed with the presentation, saying ‘it looks a lot less complicated than it sounds on the menu‘, but is interested in tasting the halibut as it’s not what he ‘envisioned a ceviche to be’ saying it’s ‘quite big‘.
Kenny Atkinson, thought it was a clever idea for the jelly to spread out over the ceviche, and said it was a ‘well balanced dish‘.
Gregg was surprised with how colourful the dish was and also how chunky the fish segment were, but was happy with the texture and flavour.
Nieves Barragan Mohacho was happy that the ceviche wasn’t ‘overpowering‘ and said it was ‘very clean and mild‘.
Alyn Williams was surprised with the ‘very good‘ flavour of the halibut, but thought the dish was ‘overthought‘.
Paul Ainsworth agreed with Alyn and said that fish ‘should be kept simple‘, but overall thought he had executed all the elements.
Laurence works as a junior sous chef in a Michelin-starred kitchen. He has pushed himself in every round and made the finals with some boldly flavoured and elegant dishes. Today he is responsible for the second course.
Signature Dish: Butter poached lobster on a tomato fondant, served with artichoke, lobster, salmon and king prawn dumplings, finished with a lobster bisque and lobster sauce.
Lisa Goodwin-Allen was left with a big smile on her face as soon as her plate hit the table, saying ‘the look of it is beautiful‘.
George Blogg was very happy with the cooking of the lobster and said it was an ‘absolutely incredible dish, beautiful‘.
Nieves Barragan Mohacho said the lobster was ‘cooked perfectly‘, the dumplings were ‘so tasty‘, the sauce was ‘beautiful‘ and she would eat this all the time.
Selin Kiazim really liked the lobster dish, agreeing with the ‘beautifully cooked lobster‘ and ‘nicely cooked artichokes‘.
Michael Caines loved the delivery of the dish, ‘from the menu, into presentation and onto the palate. Sensation of flavour, wonderful texture that was on point‘.
Gregg thought it was a ‘fabulous dish‘, and noticed that all the chefs looked very happy.
Matthew is already head chef of a London restaurant, he has impressed throughout with is knowledge, skill and palette cooking his take on some classic dishes. Today he is responsible for the third course.
Signature Dish: Iberico pork shoulder, with galette potato, pork fat roasted carrots, carrot and star anise puree, pork crackling crumb, salted yoghurt foam, salsa verde, spiced apple chutney and a pork sauce.
Jun Tanaka said it was ‘simply a delicious plate of food‘ and was very happy with the cooking of the pork saying it was the ‘star of the dish’ and that chef Matthew had ‘nailed it‘.
George Blogg thought it was the ‘best dish of the day‘ due to the flavours, textures and the spiced chutney sauce which was a ‘winner‘ for chef.
Nieves Barragan Mohacho was pleasantly surprised how ‘tender’ and ‘perfectly cooked‘ the pork was, bean gone of the hardest cuts of meat there is and enjoyed it very much.
Michael Caines congratulated chef on his ‘wonderful dish‘, saying the was ‘exceptionally gifted young man’.
Marcus liked the dish and ideas, saying that it had ‘great flavours and great cooker’.
Monica was very happy with the delivery of ‘great flavours’ and presentation.
Oli is head chef of a Lancashire country hotel. His use of local foraged ingredients and creative unusual flavour combinations have intrigued the judges but not always been met with universal approval. Today he is responsible for dessert.
Signature Dish: Fermented spruce honey parfait, apples in pine syrup, apple skin tulle, pine yoghurt foam, honeycomb, apple reduction.
Henrik Ritzén was intrigued by the presentation of chef’s desserts, saying it was ‘artistic’ and is excited to ‘try it out’.
Matt Abé thought the dish was ‘executed absolutely perfectly‘ and was enjoyed the balance of flavours saying it was an all round great dish.
Kenny Atkinson was certain that it was one of the best desserts he had in a while, saying it was ‘absolutely amazing‘.
Michael Caines congratulated chef on ‘smacking his personality all over the dessert‘ and thanked chef by saying that everyone ‘really loved it‘.
Monica thought it was a ‘very clever dessert‘ with a perfectly cooked parfait saying that she ‘thoroughly enjoyed it’.
Marcus simply said it was his ‘dish of the day‘.