MasterChef: The Professionals Semi-Finals Week Continues
December 18, 2019
MasterChef: The Professionals final is in sight, and on Wednesdays episode, 3 of the chefs were challenged with a very high-pressured service.
First, the Chefs were given the privilege of watching Michelin-starred chef Gareth Ward cook three of his signature dishes from his tasting menu – chicken katsu, garlic prawns and Welsh wagu with shitake. The chefs must understand the skills Gareth is using, and understand his choice of ingredients. They must then use this knowledge and create a dish of their own for Gareth to try.
After this, the 3 chefs take on a daunting challenge. They must work a busy service at Gareth’s Michelin star restaurant, Ynyshir, in West Wales. The chefs will be in charge of two dishes each and must serve these to the diners themselves.
The final challenge then sees the chefs cooking for the judges, hoping to secure themselves a place in finals week. Judges Monica Galetti, Marcus Wareing and Gregg Wallace want to see what the chefs have learned from their time with Gareth, and they must each present a main course and a dessert that will wow the judges. It is then up to the judges to decide which 2 chefs will continue to finals week, and which chef will be ending their MasterChef: The Professionals journey.
The first 3 chefs to take on this round to secure themselves a place in finals week are Yann, Olivia and Arbinder.
Let’s see how the chefs got on in episode 17…
Siganture Dish: Duck glazed with miso and soya bean base reduction, served with soy shitakes and pickled cherries, finished with a black cardamom and shallot vinegar sauce.
Gareth really enjoyed Yann’s dish and enjoyed the fact he hadn’t overcomplicated it, rather he made it simple and rustic. Gareth complimented Yann on a ‘beautiful piece of duck’, and was happy with his use of ‘bold flavours, big flavours’.
Service Dish 1: BBQ langoustine with Prawn Head Stock.
Service Dish 2: Tiramisu with Coffee and Mascarpone Granita.
Gareth was very impressed with Yann’s cooking, and the guests enjoyed his dish.
Signature Dish: BBQ chili prawn marinated in garam masala and sweet miso, served with fermented black bean and mirin cucumber, charred shallots, pickled mooli and samphire.
Gareth immediately said the shell could’ve been removed from the prawn, just to improve the appearance. Besides that, Gareth loved Arbinder’s dish and said the prawn had been ‘beautifully’ cooked and the whole dish had some great flavours. He said, ‘it’s a very tasty dish chef’.
Service Dish 1: Chili Crab garnished with coriander.
Service Dish 2: Wagu Beef.
Arbinder did well with the lunch time service, it was only when plating the crab that Gareth had to help him a little to ensure the dish was out of time.
Signature Dish: BBQ beef served with fermented black bean sauce made with mirin and beef fat with shitake mushrooms, fermented cabbage, and pickled wild garlic stems.
Gareth was really happy with Olivia’s dish and said the beef had been cooked ‘beautifully’. He enjoyed the great textures and sweetness Olivia had brought to the dish and said ‘it’s delicious’.
Service Dish 1: Chicken Katsu.
Service Dish 2: Crispy duck with hoisin sauce.
Gareth was really impressed with Olivia’s cooking, and was thrilled with her confidence when plating the duck.
In the next challenge, the chefs were back in the MasterChef kitchen and this was their opportunity to really impress the judges and secure themselves a place in finals week. Given 1 hour and 30 minutes, the judges wanted the contestants to create 1 signature main course and 1 signature dessert. After this round, only 2 chefs will be going through to the finals.
Signature Main: Duck breast glazed with port, soy and honey, served with date puree, braised salsify, toasted hazelnuts, red wine jus and a side of fennel slaw with a confit duck leg in a soy, port and orange blossom vinaigrette, garnished with red and green butterfly sorrel.
Marcus loved Arbinder’s flavours and ideas, although was disappointed that the duck was undercooked.
Gregg agreed and said ‘your flavours are divine’, but also said the duck was undercooked.
Monica agreed with the other judges, and enjoyed the plate.
Dessert: Alfonso mango carpaccio with chilli and holy basil, served with mango and lime curd, coconut fernancie, topped with an edible gold leaf and a coconut and lime zest ice cream, garnished with lemon verbena.
Gregg called the dessert ‘magical’ and said it was really bursting with flavor.
Marcus was also happy and said the ice cream was so fresh, and with the lime it really lifted it.
Monica was pleased with the dish and said ‘its simple, its tasty’.
Signature Main: Chicken breast, seasoned with a black garlic glaze and coated in chicken skin crumb, served with pearl barley porridge, torched broad beans, charred baby gem, baby leeks, and a barley broth, garnished with broccoli micro cress.
Gregg was thrilled with Olivia’s dish and said it was ‘absolutely lovely’, with great sweetness and sharpness.
Marcus loved the burning of the vegetables, and said the sauce was great.
Monica agreed with the other judges and said Olivia had incorporated some great flavours, ‘I loved it’.
Signature Dessert: Jasmine cake with strawberries, strawberry syrup, strawberry and lemon verbena granita, rhubarb and strawberry foam, and a strawberry powder.
Marcus was impressed with Olivia. He said ‘it looks good, it tastes good’, ‘very clever’.
Gregg loved all elements of the dish and said it was ‘delicious’.
Monica really enjoyed Olivia’s use of lemon verbena bringing the dish together.
Signature Main: Guineafowl breast with a mustard kohl rabi puree, lotus stem crisps, fox nuts, charred spring onion, pickled baby turnips and a coriander korma sauce, garnished with coriander micro cress.
Monica said the guineafowl had been nicely cooked, although was a bit bland.
Gregg liked the pickling of the turnips and the texture the fox nuts added.
Marcus was a little disappointed and said the sauce was a bit salty, and there were elements that could be improved on.
Signature Dessert: Coconut parfait dipped in chocolate and filled with a lychee puree, served with chocolate sopil and fresh lychee and a turmeric and fennel ice cream, garnished with lemon balm.
Gregg loved the look of the coconut on Arbinder’s dish, although said there was a lack of flavour and the chocolate soil was a little sweet.
Monica was pleased with the colour in Arbinder’s icecream.
Marcus agreed with Gregg, saying the icecream flavours weren’t coming through enough.
After careful consideration, the judges decided the chefs going through to finals week would be Yann and Olivia.
Unfortunately saying goodbye and good luck for the future to Arbinder.
MasterChef: The Professionals
On Thursday’s episode, it was the remaining 3 chefs’ chance to shadow a top chef, and impress the judges in the MasterChef kitchen.
This time, Stu, Exose and Andrew had a masterclass with Olli Dabbous at his Michelin-star restaurant Hide, in London.
The chefs were shown Ollie’s signature beef tartare and were then asked to recreate their own in 30 minutes, to serve to Ollie.
Following this, the chefs would be working a busy lunch time service at his restaurant. Each chef would be responsible for one dish from the tasting menu. They must impress Ollie and demonstrate the skills they have learned.
Then, back in the MasterChef kitchen, the chefs will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to make a signature main course and a signature dessert to present to the judges. It is then up to Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace to decide which 2 chefs will be moving on to finals week, and which chef will be sent home.
Let’s see how the chefs got on in episode 18…
Ollie loved Stu’s dish and said it was really well balanced. He also loved the cleanliness of the lovage.
Service Dish: Coconut 5 ways dessert. Coconut macaron filled with a lime caramel topped with sorrel flowers.
Ollie was happy with Stu’s plating and said he was a very talented chef.
Ollie enjoyed Exose’s tartare and loved that the scallop was the focus, with a great balance of flavours. He did say there was a lot going on on the dish, but was happy Exose’s personality was coming through.
Service Dish: Steamed turbot, pickled garlic, celery and a lemon verbena sauce.
Ollie was very happy with Exose’s cooking and said the dishes he was sending out were ‘really elegant’.
Signature Dish: Salmon tartare with blanched karabi with an avocado emulsion, crispy salmon skin and a pine juice split dressing, garnished with tiny tagete flowers, lemon verbena and snap dragon edible flowers.
Ollie was ‘very impressed’ with Andrew’s dish, saying it was elegant and refined. His only criticism was that the salmon could have been cut bigger.
Service Dish: Cornish lobster baked in a fig leaf over charcoal served with a minestrone of the claw.
Guests loved Andrew’s dish, saying ‘that is divine’.
Back in MasterChef kitchen, the chefs must create 2 fantastic dishes for the judges. In 1 hour and 30 minutes, they must serve one main and one dessert which they hope will secure them a place in the finals.
Gregg was immediately impressed with Stu’s plating, saying ‘at first look, wow’. He also complimented Stu on a clever use of flavours.
Marcus was equally as complimentary and said the pork cheek showed ‘quality cookery’.
Monica loved the sauce and the flavours Stu had used.
Signature Dessert: ‘Strawberry cheesecake’; Vanilla miso cream cheese and sable biscuits with strawberries in fructose and strawberry gel, lemon verbena garnish, served with a strawberry sorbet.
Gregg said the miso and vanilla flavours were ‘fantastic’, and the dessert was a ‘cracker’.
Monica also loved the dessert and said it was balanced really well and was ‘an absolute delight’.
Marcus couldn’t compliment Stu’s dish enough, saying he had ‘revolutionised a cheesecake’.
Signature Main: Venison smoked and rolled in hay ash with white onion puree, blanched onions, smoked pomme puree, confit potatoes, and crispy lotus root, finished with a venison jus.
Gregg was happy with the venison, saying it had been cooked ‘perfectly’. Although, he said the presentation could have been better.
Marcus enjoyed the dish and liked Exose’s flavours, but did say there was room for improvement.
Monica said the ash and smokiness of the venison was really interesting, but the presentation was rushed.
Signature Dessert: Chocolate and hazelnut mousse, passionfruit gel, cocoa nib tuile, on a sable breton biscuit with candied hazelnuts, served with a passionfruit sauce.
Monica reiterated that the presentation needed refinement, but she said the passionfruit sauce was ‘delicious’.
Gregg agreed, saying the flavours were great but it was not a ‘finished’ dish.
Marcus said the elements of the dish worked well together, but the presentation could’ve been better.
Signature Main: Squab pigeon breast with a hazelnut and truffle crumb, confit pigeon leg and heart, salt baked beetroot and salted gerols, finished with a pigeon sauce and garnished with thyme and red vein sorrel.
Monica said the beetroot had been cooked ‘beautifully’, and the confit was very nice.
Gregg agreed and said the heart was cooked well and the beetroot was lovely.
Marcus was pleased with Andrew, saying he was evidently inspired by his time with Ollie, but unfortunately the pigeon had been overcooked.
Gregg ‘really enjoyed’ the shortbread, but said the posset was quite sharp and needed to be thicker.
Monica agreed that the posset needed to be thicker, but she loved the sharpness of the lemon and raspberries.
Marcus said the texture of the posset wasn’t quite right, but it tasted good.
After careful consideration, the chefs going through to finals week would be Stu and Exose.
Unfortunately saying goodbye and good luck to Andrew.