Week one of Masterchef: The Professionals is over, and 48 contestants from around the country with a range of backgrounds have started to battle it out to be named the Culinary Professional Champion.
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 first 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, Jimi Famurewa, and Grace Dent. For 2 chefs it’s unfortunately the end of their Masterchef journey.
Week One – Marcus has selected rice, which is ‘an ingredient used all over the world’, putting pressure on the six chefs to use the ingredient as best as they can in their cooking. A range of other ingredients will be offered to the chefs to create and deliver a dish that they believe is unique to them, highlights the chosen rice grain and keeping the flavours well balanced throughout. With only 70 minutes to cook their dish and 10 minutes to plan their dish and choose their additional ingredients, a selection of fish, meat, fruit, vegetables and herbs & spices.
Let’s see how the chefs got on..
Yaz has only been a professional chef for 2 years.
Signature Dish: Vanilla and chocolate, toasted arborio rice pudding, topped with a plum puree, deep fried wild rice, almonds and pickled prunes, served with a rice pudding ice cream. Topped with baby mint.
Monica enjoyed the cooking of the rice pudding, but unfortunately there was a ‘graininess‘ to the ice cream.
Marcus liked the textures running through dish, but some of the wild rice was ‘just about edible and some were near rock hard‘.
Freddie went straight from catering college to a Michelin star restaurant to learn his trade.
Signature Dish: Roasted chicken, topped with puffed wild rice and shallot crumble, with courgettes, asparagus, roasted girolle, pomp puree, baby spinach, shallot and chicken jus, topped with edible viola flowers and tendril pea shoots.
Monica was impressed with the ‘art of plating‘ and enjoyed the crumble, but wished the chef had more courage to use another rice.
Marcus was very happy with the flavours from the dish, but unfortunately it was ‘lacking most of the rice‘.
Yann has his own catering business in London.
Monica enjoyed the flavours and textures of the dish.
Marcus agreed saying ‘everything on this dish is just yes please‘, as it had interesting flavours and textures. unfortunately the rice pudding wasn’t cooked.
Neil works in a 3 rosette country hotel in Wales.
Signature Dish: Mackerel ceviche, asparagus and a pickled pear salad, served with wild rice, deep fried and puffed, saffron rice puree and fished with a tomato consommé and a chive oil. Decorated with edible viola flowers and tendril pea shoots.
Monica thought the ceviche was a little ‘difficult to eat’ and hoped for more puffed rice that brought texture to the dish.
For Marcus the pickled pear really was the star of the dish, but the saffron rice was ‘too thick and heavy‘.
Christian stood out in his heat with a strong skills test and signature dish.
The fish cookery for Monica was ‘quite over and dry‘, but the concern was the risotto as it didn’t have the ‘beautiful richness‘.
Marcus didn’t find the risotto ‘very interesting‘ and the dish overall ‘wasn’t made very well‘.
Olivia is a sous chef, working in a 5 star hotel in London.
Signature Dish: A traditional arabica meat and rice dish, poached chicken breast, jasmine rice, spiced with turmeric, cumin, ginger, cinnamon and chilli, topped with pine nuts, pistachio , apricot, raisins and edible viola flowers.
Monica enjoyed the cooking of the rice and enjoyed the combination and textures of ingredients.
Marcus found the dish ‘extremely hot‘, but enjoyed her ideas and ‘believed the chef had really pushed herself‘.
Marcus and Monica all agreed that the 4 chefs going through to the critics restaurant in Masterchef would be; Yann, Olivia, Freddie & Yaz
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Christian & Neil.
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 William Sitwell, Jimi Famurewa, and Grace Dent. 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.
Let’s see how the chefs got on..
Freddie has chosen creative dishes with a lot of techniques.
William was impressed with the ‘sweet, cookery of the scallops‘. Jimi believed the flavours came together, but felt the dish was ‘lacking‘ something. Grace enjoyed the cauliflower, however it wasn’t a ‘memorable dish‘ for the critic.
Main: Roasted beef fillet, veal sweetbread, mushroom puree, roasted king oyster mushrooms, roasted shallot with asparagus and spinach and a red wine sauce. Topped with edible viola flowers and nasturtium leaves.
Grace loved the ‘preparation‘ of the dish. Jimi thought the sweetbreads were ‘nice, subtle and mourish‘. William was very pleased with ‘fundamental‘ elements on the dish.
Olivia has planned her dish to bring out her strongest flavours.
Starter: Beef tartare, smoked egg yolk puree, pickled shallots, sourdough crisp. Topped with micro cress.
William very much enjoyed Olivia’s beef tartare calling it a ‘truly exceptional dish‘. Grace liked the fact that the dish imparted an ‘other worldly‘ feel to it. Jimi believed the dish had real boldness which was ‘incredible‘.
William loved the each and grace to the dish, saying the star was the ‘meaty fleshy piece of fish cooked just write‘. Grace was impressed with the chefs flavours. Jimi wanted to keep ‘simply eating more‘.
Yann is always inspired from home, France.
William enjoyed the chefs cookery and combination of ingredients. Grace thought it was ‘bold and assertive but not in the right ways‘. Jimi didn’t enjoy the ‘gritty‘ texture from the hazelnut crumb and thought the dish wasn’t ‘put together well‘.
Jimi enjoyed the dish very much, simply saying ‘hats off to Yann’. William described the dish as a ‘crumble with a light drop of lavender bath essence‘ that he very much liked. Grace was very impressed with the flavours.
Yaz cooks food that comes from memories of her loved ones.
Main: Pan-fried chicken breast, charred griot onions, shallot puree, tarragon pesto and madeira sauce.
Jimi was worried the dish ‘played the same note across the whole dish and wished for some contrast‘. William thought it was simply a ‘crowd pleasing supper dish for a bunch of mates‘.
Dessert: Apple tart tatin with tobacco ice cream.
William thought it was a ‘very rustic and beautiful‘ tatin. Grace thought the ice cream was ‘slightly unpleasant‘ and thought it was a ‘shame‘. Jimi agreed and believed the ‘ice cream ruined the star of the dish‘.
The judges and critics all agreed that the 3 chefs going through to the knockout stage of Masterchef and be part of final 12 would be; Olivia, Yann & Freddie.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Yaz.