MasterChef: The Professionals Finals continue, and last night, the 4 chefs had to battle it out for a place in the final 3.
In the first challenge, the chefs were given 90 minutes to create a dish that is inspired by a memorable place.
They must impress the judges with delicious, inventive dishes in order to secure a place in Thursday nights final. It will be up to the three judges, Monica Galetti, Marcus Wareing and Gregg Wallace to decide the top three dishes of the day, and subsequently send one chef home from the competition.
The final 3 chefs will then be going to Lisbon for a once in a lifetime opportunity. The chefs will have a masterclass from 2 Michelin star chef, Jose Avillez. From the three dishes Jose has shown them, they must take the skills they’ve learned and create a signature dish for him to try. Following this, the chefs will be cooking 2 courses for a busy service at Jose’s restaurant. The judges will be trying the chef’s dishes to see how far they’ve come.
Let’s see how the chefs got on in Episode 20…
Exose, making a dish inspired by a trip to France in college.
Signature Dish: Bouillabaisse with roasted stone bass, langoustine poached in bisque, seared scallops, mussels, saffron potatoes, confit tomatoes, roasted and pickled fennel, served with a side of rouille and sourdough croutons, finished with a langoustine bisque and a tomato and langoustine essence, garnished with salicornia.
Gregg complimented Exose on his ‘beautiful flavours’ and said it was a ‘lovely, lovely dish’.
Monica agreed and said it was delicious, and the langoustine sauce was very rich and flavoursome.
Marcus was also very pleased with Exose’s dish and said the scallops and mussels had been cooked very well. He did however say the rouille was a little too strong in garlic and saffron for him.
Stu, making a dish paying homage to a Birmingham Balti.
Signature Dish: Curried monk fish cutlet roasted on the bone, crispy potato ring filled with sagaloo topped with a cucumber foam and a cucumber raita salad, served with a Balti sauce, and a small glass of beer and garnished with baby watercress.
Marcus said Stu’s dish was ‘absolutely sensational’ and there was an excellent balance of flavours and great fish cookery.
Gregg thoroughly enjoyed the dish too and said he particularly enjoyed the cucumber raita.
Monica commended Stu on a ‘very clever’ dish.
Olivia, making a dish inspired by family roast dinners at home in Herefordshire.
Signature Dish: Aged beef sirloin, onion cooked in ale, topped with bone marrow bread crumbs, caramelised onion puree, torched and shaved white asparagus, gerols and baby leeks, served with a bone marrow and ale cream sauce.
Monica loved the dish and said the beef was cooked ‘beautifully’ and was nicely seasoned. She was happy with the layers of flavours running through the dish.
Gregg was equally as complimentary and said the dish was ‘very, very light and very, very good’.
Marcus said the dish was ‘incredible’ and presented a ‘beautiful picture’ that was also full of ‘punch’.
Yann, making a dish inspired by his grandmothers cooking back home.
Signature Dish: Rabbit ballotin stuffed with a gerol fricassee and wrapped in Iberico ham, pickled gerols and grilled onions, a beer and onion puree, tarragon gremolata and tarragon oil, and a rabbit and beer sauce. Served with beer stewed rabbit topped with a parmesan and polenta foam and garnished with tarragon.
Marcus was happy with the ‘brilliant’ rabbit cookery and ‘outstanding sauce’. He was however more hesitant about the polenta.
Monica loved the dish and the pickling of the gerols.
Gregg was also complimentary about Yann’s dish, but criticised saying he was missing a few vegetables.
At the end of this round and after careful consideration, the judges decided the 3 chefs going through to the final would be Exose, Stu and Olivia. Unfortunately saying goodbye and good luck for the future to Yann.
The final 3 chefs were then taken to Lisbon to learn from 2 Michelin-star chef Jose Avillez. One of Portugal’s most celebrated chefs, Jose takes inspiration from not only Portuguese cuisine, but Portuguese culture. First, the chefs will have a masterclass with Jose, where he will show them how to creat 3 of his signature dishes.
This included his golden egg dish inspired by a childhood story, The goose that laid the golden egg. Running through the dish were flavours of truffle, mushroom stock and a sauce made from a Portuguese cheese.
The second dish was a reinvention of the traditional Bifana (Suckling Pig). The centrepiece of this dish was slow cooked pork belly, finished off on the teppanyaki grill.
Lastly, he showed the chefs his signature dessert celebrating the mandarin. He created a mandarin shell which was filled with mandarin espuma, served with mandarin curd and leaves and garnished with a mushroom flavoured biscuit.
After the masterclass, the chefs must choose their own ingredients to create a dish to serve to Jose.
Signature Dish: Red mullet topped with squid, garlic aioli, and straw potatoes dusted with smoked chilli powder, and a coriander, garlic and lime sauce.
Jose said the dish looked ‘amazing’ and the squid had been cooked very well, with great seasoning. His only criticism was that the mullet had been slightly overcooked.
Signature Dish: Hack poached in tomato sauce with sautéed spinach and crispy ginger, whole hack deep fried in batter with red peppers, clams and a tomato sauce.
Jose found the presentation a little ‘messy’ for a fine dining restaurant. However, as for the flavours, Jose was really impressed and said there was great balance in the dish, and the sauce was a lovely flavour.
Signature Dish: Torched mackerel topped with crispy prawn legs with a garlic prawn and tomato salad, brassica leaves and tops, dressed with a prawn and garlic oil and garnished with edible fennel flowers.
Jose instantly said the dish looked ‘amazing’ and was really well balanced. He said he was hesitant about how the mackerel and prawn would go together, but he was pleasantly surprised and the way Olivia had cooked them meant they worked really well together.
The final challenge saw the chefs cooking a busy service at Jose’s restaurant. They must each cook two courses, which the judges will also try.
Responsible for the signature Golden Egg dish and Jose’s take on the traditional pot-au-feu.
Gregg said there was ‘amazing flavour’ in the dish and it was ‘irresistible’.
Monica was also pleased with the dish and said it was very delicate with a lot of detail, which Stu had done well with.
Marcus was impressed with Stu’s dish and said the cabbage had been cooked very well and was ‘simplicity at its finest’.
Gregg agreed with the other judges’ comments and said Stu had done really well.
Responsible for the Suckling Pig and a Scarlet Shrimp cooked two ways.
Monica said simply, ‘oh wow’.
Gregg too was impressed and said the shrimp was just ‘divine’ and he loved the way it had been cooked.
Marcus called the dish ‘absolutely sensational’ and was thrilled with the shrimp that was ‘beautifully cooked’.
Gregg said the pork was ‘divine’ and ‘the most suckling bit of pork’ he’s had.
Marcus agreed and said he’d never had a dish like it.
Monica loved all elements of the dish.
Responsible for Sea Bass with Avocado and Dashi and the Signature Mandarin Dessert.
Sea Bass with Avocado and dill garnish:
Monica loved the presentation of the sea bass and said it was ‘very dainty’ and precise.
Marcus said the dish was ‘cooked to perfection’ and shows a lot of skill.
Gregg was incredibly happy with Olivia’s cookery and said ‘I’m in love with this dish’.
Marcus thoroughly enjoyed the dessert and the ‘zing’ running through the dessert.
Gregg was also happy with the dish and said ‘Olivia well done, well done’.