MasterChef: The Professionals – Week Two Quarter Finals
November 15, 2019
Series 12: Episode 6
MasterChef: The Professionals second week of quarter finals has rolled around already. The 6 strongest chefs from this weeks heats now have the chance to use their knowledge and skills in two fast-paced challenges. Firstly, the chefs must complete the judges Invention Test. Here, the chefs are challenged to invent a dish based purely around one key ingredient chosen by the judges. The chefs must be creative and put the judges selected ingredient as the focus 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 Two – Monica Galetti and Marcus Wareing chose onions as the focus of the dish. Considered a staple in cooking, the judges wanted to see how the chefs understood the chosen ingredient, and the differing flavours in varieties. The chefs also had a large selection of meat, shell fish, vegetables, cheese, and herbs and spices to choose from to accompany their dish.
Let’s see how the chefs got on…
James, Senior Sous Chef at a London law firm.
Signature dish: Roasted duck breast with a caramelised brown onion puree, glazed shallots, grelot onion, morel and pea fricassee, and onion and chive volute.
Marcus was delighted with James’s dish, saying it was the ‘dish of the day’. He acknowledged that James had hit the brief, also adding beautifully cooked duck, and a good texture on his puree.
Monica agreed, and particularly enjoyed the pickled onions on his dish.
Malin, Works in a Gastro Pub in Pembrokeshire.
Signature Dish: Hoping to highlight the textures of the onions, Malin served roasted shallot onions, pickled red and white onions, onion and chili jam and a potato and onion bajji topped with cheddar cheese and finished with spiced onion and earl grey broth.
Marcus enjoyed the flavour of Malin’s broth, however did not like the cheddar cheese.
Monica also loved the broth, but felt the quantity of pickled onions was overpowering. Overall, it was a disappointing response for Malin.
Avraj, Chef De Partie at a 3 Rosette restaurant in Yorkshire.
Signature Dish: Mushroom and pine nut salsa with burnt baby onion petals, an onion puree, cavolo nero, pickled carrots, onion seed and parmesan crumb, finished with a white onion veloute.
Monica was impressed with the crumb and felt it had a nice texture. She also enjoyed the flavour of the veloute, however felt it was just a drizzle of sauce.
Marcus agreed with Monica, as he loved the onion veloute, but wished there was more of it.
Aviv, Head chef at a bar restaurant in north London.
Signature Dish: Spring onion and onion seed pancake topped with harissa and ras el haneout spiced beef, caramelised white onions and a tempura onion. Finished with a garnish of tomato seeds and basil leaves.
Monica loved the spices on Aviv’s beef, although felt the tempura onion was lacking in flavour.
Marcus enjoyed the ideas behind the dish, but said the pancake was rubbery and he couldn’t taste much onion – which was the focus of the dish. ‘I don’t think it is a representation of the onion’.
Kat, Works at a fine-dining fish restaurant in Brighton.
Signature Dish: Crushed new potatoes with spring onions, cockle onion and pine nut salsa, burnt roscoff onions and an onion cockle veloute sauce.
Monica immediately felt the presentation was ‘heavy and messy’, although enjoyed how the potatoes and spring onions were cooked.
Marcus agreed with the poor presentation, saying he felt it was all ‘piled up’. Marcus did however acknowledge the flavours running through the dish.
Tom, Senior Sous Chef at a fine dining pub restaurant in Loughborough.
Signature Dish: Pan fried pork loin with roasted roscoff onions, charred spring onions, pickled red onions, wild garlic gremolata, onion puree and an onion sauce.
Monica found the dish to work very well together, and the sauce presented an ‘intensely rich’ flavour.
Marcus said Tom had ‘very much hit the brief’ and was pleased with the dish.
Marcus and Monica all agreed that the 4 chefs going through to cook for the critics would be; James, Avraj, Tom, & Malin.
Unfortunately saying goodbye and good luck for the future to Aviv & Kat.
The remaining chefs then had one hour and 15 minutes to produce a 2-course meal for 3 of the UKs leading food critics; William Sitwell, Tracy Macleod and Amol Rajan.
Let’s see how the chefs got on…
Starter: Asparagus served with a garlic aioli, smoked egg yolk puree, and a parmesan crisp, garnished with wild garlic flowers.
William was impressed with the ‘elegant modesty’ of the starter and enjoyed the asparagus, saying it was ‘beautifully’ cooked.
Amol also loved the dish; his only criticism was that he wanted more.
Main: Lamb rump served with black olive puree, goats curd, burnt tomato puree, hen of the woods, and roasted and pickled onions, finished with a lamb jus.
Tracy enjoyed the smoked tomato, black olive puree, and lamb, saying they were the ‘makings of something special’. However, she felt the dish as a whole didn’t come together well.
Starter: Steamed cod loin and spiced seafood broth, sea vegetables, mushrooms and crispy monks beard.
Amol was complementary on the ‘fantastic’ smell of the food, and the ‘exquisite’ presentation.
William agreed with Amol, saying the dish was ‘welcoming’.
Main: Ribeye beef served with potato curry, jackfruit ambul thiyal, coconut parsley sambal, poor bread and bone marrow curry sauce.
Tracy loved the main and the curried potato, saying the sauce ‘jumps alive’.
William was more critical, saying he felt the beef was out of proportion on the dish.
Main: Roast rump cap of beef, peas, pea puree, girolles and bone marrow potato puree served with a brown butter and bone marrow verde.
William said the beef was beautiful, and incredibly ‘tender’. He also felt there was a nice texture with the peas and puree.
Pudding: Caramel chocolate and strawberry jelly cheesecake with a hazelnut crumble served with strawberry curd and a strawberry salad.
Amol loved James’s dessert, and said it showed ‘clearly an exceptionally talented chef’.
Tracy agreed, as she described the crumb as ‘gorgeous’.
Main: Beef fillet, morels, pickled and pureed shallots served with potato foam and a red wine sauce.
Tracy felt Avraj’s main dish lacked the ‘wow’ factor, saying the beef and potato were OK, although not really enough.
Dessert: Raspberry souffle with hazelnut anglaise.
Agreeing with Tracy’s comments on the main dish, William felt the dessert showed Avraj as a good chef, but he needs to do more to impress.
Amol said the souffle was ‘perfectly decent’.
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; James, Malin & Tom.
Unfortunately saying goodbye and good luck for the future to Avraj.