Masterchef presenter Gregg Wallace, Chef Monica Galetii and two-michelin-starred Marcus Wareing have come together yet again to find the Uk’s finest culinary dining skills.
We have hit the second quarter final, and the six strongest chefs from this week’s heats use their knowledge and experience to impress the judges in two fast-paced challenges. Firstly the chefs face a brand new challenge to ever show on Masterchef: The Professionals – the judges’ ‘Favourite Ingredient Test’. The chefs are challenged to invent a dish purely based around one key ingredient chosen by the judges. Only four of the strongest very talented chefs will head on to the next heat and to cook for the UK’s most discerning restaurants critics. Having to impress William Sitwell, Tracey Macleod, and Grace Dent. For 2 chefs it’s unfortunately the end of their Masterchef journey.
Week Two – Marcus has selected the potato, with a whole host of varieties and a never-ending list of ways to cook the potato Marcus is hoping for ingenuity, elegance and above all great t acting plates of food. With only 70 minutes to cook their dish and 10 minutes to plan their dish and choose their additional ingredients, a selection of meat, fish, vegetables and herbs & spices. The pressure is high to go forth onto the next challenge.
Let’s see how the chefs got on..
Sean shocked the judges with his almost perfect sea bass dish in his heat, setting the bar very high himself.
Marcus hopes Sean does the ‘great’ dish justice, and is concerned that the dish is too simple. Monica wants to taste the potato through the soup, not leek.
Marcus ‘loved the idea’ and said the dish was ‘absolutely exquisite’ with all the different combination of ingredients. Monica found ‘fantastic detail’ in the dish for ‘just a soup’, and enjoyed all the textures of potato.
Elisabeth was very nervous in her heats but excelled in her signature pigeon dish.
Marcus hope Elisabeth’s pommé soufflé is ‘light, fluffy and airy’ while Monica hopes her dish is ‘well seasoned’.
Signature Dish: Prawn verde, smoked haddock, pureed potato with olive oil, confit egg yolk, confit salad, pommé soufflé and a beurre blanc creme sauce.
Marcus wasn’t impressed by the presentation, but thought every element of the dish was ‘exceptional’. Monica’s pommé soufflé was quite burnt, and was disappointed as she said ‘I think they would have been beautiful if they had worked out’.
Ian has 29 years of experience in cookery which some of those have been in michelin-starred restaurants.
Marcus is worried that Ian is taking a big risk, not cooking potato risotto before. Monica hopes his mash crisps up as she is unsure.
Signature Dish: Baked smoked haddock, potato with parmesan crust on a purple potato risotto.
Marcus thought the fish was ‘beautifully cooked’ and loved the ‘smokiness with the potato’ but Ian’s risotto was unfortunately only ‘a couple minutes away from being beautifully cooked’.
Monica loved the ‘rich and creamy’ potato but was ‘frustrated’ that his risotto was cooked all the way.
Tristan recovered from a very shaky skills test in his signature dish, to win his place in the quarter final.
Marcus is ‘intrigued’ by the dish, but concerned on the lack of cooking methods. Monica hopes Tristan can surprise the chefs again, as the dish doesn’t sound hopeful.
Signature Dish: Potato three ways – confit purple potato, fried new potatoes, boiled potato salad with a purple potato crisp, roasted baby carrots, roasted chicory, gorgonzola, lemon and dill puree and finished with a port balsamic and beetroot dressing.
Tristan had ticked all the boxes on the potato challenge, but Marcus wasn’t impressed that there was no flavour.
Monica enjoyed certain elements of the dish but wanted skill and elevation with the humble potato, but said Tristan’s dish ‘was too simple’.
Mark impressed the judges with his technical skills and flavours.
Marcus really hopes the flavour comes through, and Monica is really looking forward to each ingredient of the dish.
Monica was very impressed with the pastry skill, and said ‘it was a very clever take on a potato dish’.
Mark had ‘absolutely nailed the brief‘ for Marcus, and said the dish for him was ‘absolutely outstanding’.
David trained in the U.S and is now a sous chef in London.
Naming all the elements of David’s dish, Marcus is worried this will be ‘just of plate of potatoes and vegetables’. Monica is unsure if ‘its enough to bring contrast to the dish’.
Marcus wasn’t a ‘fan’ of the colours on the dish, but really liked the croquette and said they had ‘a lot of flavour with the chorizo running through it and the creaminess of potato’. Unfortunately this was the only element Marcus enjoyed and said ‘a croquette isn’t ground breaking’.
Monica enjoyed the hollandaise ‘dipping sauce with the croquette’, but said ‘theres nothing here thats got a right home’.
The judges and critics all agreed that the 4 chefs going through to the knockout stage and be part of final 12 would be;
Sean, Mark, Elisabeth & David.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Tristan & Ian.
The four remaining professional chefs will go on to cook their food for the UK’s most discerning restaurant critics. They need to impress the likes of Tom Parker Bowles, Tracey MacLeod, and Jay Rayner. They will be judged on their knowledge, skills, talent and creativity. The chefs are given one hour and 15 minutes to showcase their culinary talent with a two menu course designed by themselves to win over the critics and judges. Only 3 out of the 4 chefs will go through to knockout week and continue in their journey for the crown.
Let’s see how the chefs got on..
Mark wants to show his classical French technical cooking ability.
Monica thinks Mark is a ‘very confident young chef’ and said she ‘would be surprised if he messes this brill dish up’. Marcus looks forward to his dessert, and said ‘it sounds an absolute delight’.
Main: Pan fried fillet of brill with violet artichoke barigoule, potato risotto, baby courgette and plum tomatoes.
Tom was happy with the sweet vegetables, and ‘lovely fish’ but said it was ‘slightly overcooked’.
Jay enjoyed the ‘finely diced potato risotto’ and said it was a great element to have ‘under a piece of fish’.
Tracey said ‘everything is perfectly cooked’ and that ‘everything really worked together’.
Dessert: Strawberry beignets with burnt tonka cream, crumble and a strawberry and lime salad.
‘I want to invest in Mark’ Jay said, and couldn’t get enough of his dessert, ‘I’m delighted by all the rest of the things, but the beignets’.
Tracey thinks technically the dish is ‘rock solid’ and Mark has a great ‘understanding of what works together and what people want to eat’.
Tom thinks the ‘burnt tonka cream’ works perfectly, and said ‘the balance is just superb’.
David has to push his boundaries today in flavour and technique.
Marcus ‘loves the sound of it’, but is concerned with the skill level needed for his dessert. Monica ‘cant wait’ to try his carribean and Jamaican dish.
Main: Jamaican pepper pot soup – poached hake, steamed mussels, roasted yam, pickled okra and chilli oil with bacon lardons and garlic flowers.
Tom enjoyed the ‘really spicy’ broth but was let down by the fish, as it was ‘overcooked’.
Tracey said the ‘yam and okra are only there because they are Caribbean ingredients’ but unfortunately they weren’t bringing anything to the dish.
Jay was confused by the dish.
Dessert: Caribbean spiced cake with goat cheese sorbet, rum soaked raisins and cherries, honey tile and roasted cherry purée.
Jay was happy with the flavours from the cake, but it was ‘too polite’.
Tom was getting ‘whispers’ from the flavours but they all needed to be heightened.
Tracey really liked the dessert, and ‘loved’ the goat cheese sorbet.
Elisabeth wants to get through the challenge and therefore is pushing her limits.
Elisabeth’s dish has put ‘a smile’ on Monica’s face, as she has come back fighting to prove herself, ‘good on her’. Marcus hopes she gets her timing and ingredients ‘spot on’ for her soufflé.
Main: Cod, sea beet, nori seasoned pommé soufflés and a herb sauce.
Tom enjoyed all the elements on the dish, and said it was a ‘professional decent plate’.
Jay’s real problem is that the fish ‘has no real texture and a bland flavour’ and looks ‘floppy and pale, not far off raw’.
Tracey loves the aniseed flavoured sauce, and said it brought ‘a real whack of lemon’, but was disappointed with the cod, and it felt like a ‘cop out’.
Dessert: Apricot soufflé and cardamom ice cream.
Jay was happy with the ‘apricot flavour in the soufflé’ and said it worked very well with the cardamom ice cream.
‘In terms of texture, height and lightness, its a good soufflé‘ Tracey said.
Tom said he would be happy to eat the dessert again.
Sean is confident he will get these 2 courses spot on.
Marcus looks forward to tasting Mark’s food, but is worried his starter may be ‘too simple’. Monica is ‘really curious’ if this dish will work together and hopes all his elements are ‘perfectly cooked’.
Starter: Mackerel, celeriac puree and a grape and caper salsa.
Tom was ‘worried about the starter’ but said that ‘it really worked and really sharp’.
Tracey enjoyed the ‘incredible fresh’ dish and said that there was ‘nice flavour coming from the smooth celeriac puree’.
Jay loved the flavours and said they ‘are all alined with each other and deserve to be here’.
Main: Squab pigeon, chicken parfait, confit pigeon leg, confit potato, cherry-tonka bean gel and a jus.
Tom loved the classic and traditional parfait’ and said ‘every part of this dish comes together in a big happy squabby whole’.
Tracey thoroughly enjoyed Sean’s main dish and ‘its one the the best pigeon dishes I’ve ever had’, also liking the cherry gel and jus, making a very good backdrop for the pigeon.
Jay was ‘staggered’ by everything Sean had got done in the allotted time given, ‘its fantastic in every way’.
The judges and critics all agreed that the 3 chefs going through to the knockout stage and be part of final 12 would be;
Sean, Mark & Elisabeth.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to David.