MasterChef: The Professionals 2013 - semi final PREVIEW

The  Staff Canteen

It’s Semi-Final Week on MasterChef: The Professionals 2013. Two Michelin-starred Michel Roux Jr, chef Monica Galetti and seasoned diner Gregg Wallace start to apply the pressure as they search for Britain’s next culinary talent exceptional enough to take the coveted title.

Only the best eight chefs remain in the competition and after four weeks of gruelling tests set to prove their technique and flair, they now face one challenge: to impress veteran diner Gregg Wallace.

Their MasterChef future depends on their ability to serve up one show -stopping dish that will impress the discerning judge; after tasting their food Gregg will decide which two chefs will leave the competition. To win Gregg over, the final eight will have to cook like never before.

They have just two hours to serve up their strongest dish ever, showcasing their skill, flair and ability to deliver perfect flavours, as well as presenting a final plate that will blow Gregg away.

The stakes are high for the chefs who must fight for one of the six places in the next round. They will now have to fire on every cylinder to stay in the competition. Only the six best chefs will go on to battle for the title of Professional MasterChef. 

Tuesday 3rd December

Tonight the competition fires up as the first pair of semi-finalists must prove they have the talent to win a place in the finals. They must battle head to head at one of London’s most exciting two Michelin starred restaurants: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Double Michelin starred Michel Roux Jr and chef Monica Galetti send their two exceptional semi -finalists to service under the exacting eye of Ashley Palmer-Watts, who has earned Dinner two stars in just two years and achieved the highest ranking of any UK restaurant in the acclaimed San Pelligrino Top 50 list (where it is placed at number seven).

With up to 170 diners at every service, the two semi-finalists must quickly settle in to this busy, demanding and high-pressure kitchen. They are each responsible for one of the menus unique, historically inspired and highly complex dishes over the long evening service, and must deliver to two Michelin starred standard every time.

After service, the bar is raised higher as Ashley asks them to recreate one of the restaurant’s signature dishes: Salamugundy- a salad of chicken oysters roasted salsify, bone marrow and horseradish. Based on an 18th century recipe, each element requires its own cooking method and the chefs must perfectly execute each one to achieve the balance required. Then, the two semi-finalists return to the studio for one last challenge before Michel and Monica decide their fate. In this daunting final test, they must produce a main and dessert inspired by their Michelin experience in just two hours - they simply have to blow the judges’ minds. 

The pressure is firmly on as any mistake now could cost them the competition; it is a tense and thrilling battle.  Once Michel and Monica have judged their two courses, they must decide if the chefs are good enough to become Professional MasterChef Finalists. At the end, only the very best chefs will win a place in the Finals and have the chance to become this year’s Champion.

Wednesday 4th December

Tonight the battle continues as the next two semi-finalists are sent to cook in two Michelin starred service: this time under the demanding Michael Wignall at The Latymer in Surrey’s Pennyhill Park Hotel. Afterwards they will return to cook for the judges in a final bid to prove they are good enough to become finalists. Double Michelin starred Michel Roux Jr and chef Monica Galetti throw their semi-finalists in to the white heat of service under the acclaimed Michael Wignall. Michael earned his first star in 2009 and a coveted second star in 2013.

Each semi- finalist must take charge of a course from the lunch menu, get to grips with the modern techniques Michael uses to prepare his classic, precise and unique food and hit the standards required every time in service. With Michael watching their every move in the kitchen, the chefs must step up and deliver or face being taken off service.  Afterwards, they must both recreate one of Michael Wignall’s signature dishes: quail breast with confit quail leg, braised tongue, sweet breads and cockscomb in a port glaze.

The dish requires perfect execution and an intricate balancing act of flavours if they are to reach the awesome heights Michael demands. Then, the two semi-finalists return to the studio for one last challenge before their future in the competition is decided. In this daunting final test, they must deliver a main and dessert inspired by their Michelin experience in just two hours - they simply have to wow the judges. Knowing that any mistake could cost them the competition, the chefs have to combat nerves, pressure, and cook their hearts out to stay in the running. 

Once Michel and Monica have judged their two courses, they will decide who has proved they are good enough to become a Professional MasterChef finalist. Only the very best chefs can progress to the Finals and have the chance to become this year’s Champion.

 Thursday 5th December

Tonight on Professional MasterChef, the battle is on as the last pair of semi-finalists cook in service at the two Michelin starred Sat Bains in Nottingham, in the fight to prove they have the talent to become a MasterChef Finalist. Double Michelin starred Michel Roux Jr and Chef Monica Galetti send the last pair of semi -finalists into service at the much acclaimed, self-titled restaurant run by Sat Bains.

The first restaurant in Nottingham to earn a Michelin star in 2002, it won it’s second in 2011. They chefs must now deliver in the heat of service and reach the exacting standards of Michelin star cuisine. They will each be responsible for a highly complex dish from the restaurants tasting menu that must be executed with precision, finesse, and on time. No mistakes will be tolerated. Then, after a relentless service the chefs must cook again recreating one of Sat Bains’ signature dishes which celebrates the girolle: pickled and sautéed mushrooms, braised oxtail, with a watercress panna cotta, and a chive buerre noisette.

To reach Sat’s standards, the chefs must show an understanding of the concept behind the dish as well as perfect execution and presentation. Then, the two semi-finalists return to the studio for one last challenge before Monica and Michel decide on their future in the competition. In this daunting final test, they must produce a main and dessert inspired by their Michelin experience in just two hours - they simply have to stun the judges with their cooking.  Any mistake now could cost them the competition, so with the pressure firmly on,it is a tense and thrilling battle.

Once Michel and Monica have judged their two courses, they must decide who deserves a place in the finals. At the end, only the very best chefs can go through and have the chance to become this year’s Champion.

>>> See our blogs MasterChef: The Professional here, here and here

>>> See our article on MasterChef: The Professionals previous winners here

>>> See our feature on last year's joint winner Keri Moss here

>>> Read more about Masterchef: The Professionals 2013 here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd December 2013

MasterChef: The Professionals 2013 - semi final PREVIEW