Its week three of MasterChef: The Professionals, and its time for this weeks quarter finals. Six chefs from this week’s heats will have another chance to impress the judges on the Invention Test, before 2 of them are sent home. The Invention Test, set by Monica Galetti and Marcus Wareing, challenges the chefs to invent a dish based purely around one key ingredient chosen by the judges. The chefs need to be creative and put the judges chosen ingredient as the star of their dish. After this 70-minute challenge, only 4 chefs will go through to cook for 3 of the UKs leading food critics.
Week Three – Monica Galetti and Marcus Wareing chose coffee as the star of this week’s dish. An ingredient which the judges expect the chefs to have cooked with before, this will challenge the chef’s abilities to balance flavours. There is also a pantry full of fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, and herbs and spices available for the chefs to use alongside the coffee.
Let’s see how the chefs got on…
Andrew, Personal Navy Chef based in Portsmouth.
Signature Dish: Venison coated in a coffee and pistachio crumb, served with roasted potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, glazed baby carrots, with a parsnip and vanilla puree, and a chocolate coffee sauce.
Marcus thoroughly enjoyed the crumb around the venison, and the cooking of the vegetables. Overall, he was impressed with the flavour balance in the dish, and the way Andrew used the coffee.
Monica was also pleased with the dish, saying he’d got the brief ‘absolutely right’.
Stu, Head chef at a fine dining restaurant in Birmingham.
Signature Dish: A take on a tiramisu; Coffee and white chocolate mousse with an orange sponge, mascarpone, orange segments, coffee syrup, and a coffee tuile, served with a chocolate ice cream.
Marcus enjoyed the textures of the dish, although felt there could have been more coffee flavour.
Monica would’ve also liked to see some more coffee in the dish. Yet, she did enjoy the dish as a whole.
Arbinder, Executive Chef for a wedding catering company in London.
Marcus said the pork had been ‘beautifully cooked’. Marcus loved every element of the dish, and felt the subtlety of the coffee really brought the dish together.
Monica was equally as complimentary of the dish, saying it was a ‘real triumph’.
Sam, Pastry chef at his own Patisserie catering company in Devon.
Signature Dish: Milk chocolate mousse and salted caramel and coffee crémant, served with coffee, cardamom and caramel sauce, with a chocolate and hazelnut sponge, finished with a coffee tuile.
Monica found the chocolate mousse a little too sweet. However, she found the other flavours of the dish with the coffee worked very well together.
Marcus said Sam had captured the brief ‘very well’, saying he found the dish ‘absolutely delightful’.
Ben, Senior Chef de Partie in Sussex.
Signature Dish: Celeriac fondant infused with coffee and served with a chorizo crumb, carrot, beetroot and dill, coffee pickled mushrooms, hazelnuts, blackberries, and a coffee, mushroom and chilli aerated sauce.
Monica appreciated the flavours that ran through the dish. However, she felt the heat at the end was too much.
Marcus loved the ideas behind the dish, although said it hadn’t quite ‘hit the mark’.
Kurtus, Sous Chef at a Mediterranean Restaurant in London.
Monica enjoyed the pork and said the vegetables were cooked nicely. Though, she found the coffee flavours on the dish were very subtle.
Marcus said he would’ve preferred Kurtus to be a little ‘braver’ with the challenge. He found everything to be cooked ‘beautifully well’, although it lacked the coffee flavour – which was meant to be the star of the dish.
Marcus and Monica all agreed that the 4 chefs going through to cook for the critics would be; Arbinder, Andrew, Sam, & Stu.
Unfortunately saying goodbye and good luck for the future to Kurtus & Ben.
The remaining chefs then had one hour and 15 minutes to produce a 2-course meal for 3 of the UKs leading food critics; Grace Dent, Tom Parker Bowles and Jay Rayner.
Let’s see how the chefs got on…
Starter: Torched langoustine, langoustine ceviche, dill compressed apple, and fennel puree.
Jay was shocked at the dish, saying it was ‘absolutely tiny’. However, he said the flavours were ‘lovely’.
Tom loved the dish, saying it was ‘complete’.
Grace’s only complaint was that she wanted more.
Main: Duck breast, spiced duck sausage, potatoes cooked in duck fat, sweet and sour cherries, buttered broad beans, roasted golden beetroots and a duck and cherry jus.
Jay was disappointed with the dish as he felt the duck was over cooked and the sauce was over reduced.
Grace however objected, saying she ‘loved’ the sauce. Grace couldn’t compliment the dish enough, commending it as ‘absolutely delicious’.
Main: Pan-fried sea trout, coconut and ginger sauce, aubergine squid puree, saffron fennel, purple potatoes and caramelised cauliflower.
Grace loved the colours of the dish and said the fish was ‘perfect’.
Tom said the sauce was a ‘star’, but he needed more.
Jay agreed that there were lots of great things on the dish, but it just needed ‘turning up’.
Jay was unimpressed with the ganache as he couldn’t taste any cardamom.
Grace was equally critical, saying the chocolate rocks were more ‘flaky’ and soft than rock-like.
Tom admired Arbinder’s techniques, although was disappointed with the dish as a whole. ‘A triumph of technique over taste’.
Main: Cured cod, nduja, pork scratchings, crispy mussels, with tomatoes dressed in tomato ponzu, and a smoked tomato beurre blanc, garnished with lovage.
Jay thoroughly enjoyed the dish and said the sauce was ‘glorious’.
Grace said the cooking of the fish was excellent.
Tom, alike the other critics, was thrilled with the dish and loved all elements.
Dessert: Caramelised filo pastry, miso and white chocolate cremeux, blood orange sorbet, blood orange segments and gel, and a marigold cress garnish.
Grace thoroughly enjoyed the dish and was really pleased.
Tom said the dish was very ‘clever’.
Jay absolutely loved the sorbet, saying he could eat ‘a lot’ of it.
Main: Roasted duck breast with braised red cabbage and apple puree, with apple and sage pommes anna, crispy sage leaves, and five spice jus.
Jay was unimpressed with the main, saying the meat was overcooked and ‘tough’. He also criticised the red cabbage as ‘tooth-achingly sweet’.
Grace agreed, saying the it was too ‘sugary’, like a dessert.
Dessert: Mocha panna cotta, confit orange puree, chocolate soil, caramelised white chocolate and hazelnuts with a sea buckthorn sorbet.
Tom was unsure of the sorbet, saying it was ‘perhaps, too intense’. This led Tom to say he wasn’t sure he would’ve been able to eat the whole dish.
Grace questioned whether it was truly a panna cotta, however, she was impressed. Grace enjoyed the mocha flavour and suggested it was possibly one of the best desserts they’d seen all day.
The judges and critics all agreed that the 3 chefs going through to the knockout stage of Masterchef and be part of the final 12 would be; Andrew, Arbinder & Stu.
Unfortunately saying goodbye and good luck for the future to Sam.