MasterChef: The Professionals 2015 round up – week five, semi-finals [with video]

The Staff Canteen

MasterChef: The Professionals 2015 semi-finals are here! This week, the chefs were split into groups to battle against each other.

Carted around the UK, the competitors were put under the pressure of working a busy service within a Michelin-starred restaurant, while being expected to produce dishes to the head chefs’ exacting standards.bandicam 2015-12-16 15-47-34-979

The first group, Mark and Darren, took a trip down to Devon to cook with Anton Piotrowski, who won MasterChef in 2012. Mark, who wants to own his own gastro pub, looked doe eyed at Anton as he demonstrated the dish that he would be serving up.

Cajun spiced goat loin with a goat samosa, garnished with aubergine puree, glazed apricots and charred lettuce. Anton, who is partial to some blow torching, showed Dean how to make scallops on brown shrimps, cockles and clams, mixed with compressed cucumber pickled samphire and citrus dressing, topped with burnt apple and lemon balm purees, pickled onion gel and lobster powder.

Running around the kitchen complimenting the chefs was, understandably, thirsty work for Anton, who was able to relax with a beer while Dean and Mark cooked his signature dish; pigeon wellington. Which, horrifyingly, looked like a Frankenstein's monster-pidgeon reaching out of its pit. foot For Mark, there was some room for improvement, certain elements of the dish could have been more crispy, to add a different texture. Dean, on the other hand, was flourished with positive comments and was even offered a job at Anton's The Treby Arms!

Back in the kitchen Dean's dishes, a charred duck breast, with charred carrots, navets, and mandarin in a duck and sesame sauce followed by a pine nut panna cotta, with pine nut and orange cake, with orange curd, orange granita, orange jelly and fresh orange didn't impress the judges enough to send him through to the finals. Although, Marcus and Monica were ecstatic to see a new side to Dean, who throughout the competition had been reserved, talking passionately about his food and stepping up his game. minicar The next group, made up of Darren, Danilo and Nick, were crammed in the back seat of a miniature car for seven hours only to be greeted by an extremely shouty Tom Kitchin. Nick was put in charge of main course, lamb cooked three ways.

A rack and shoulder of lamb with neck of lamb wrapped in feulle de brick, potato spaghetti, potato terrine, heritage carrots and tongue of lamb. Darren, a development chef who was about to embark on his first service in three years, was given a fish dish. Turbot, shellfish and seaweed, which doesn't sound so hard, unless you have Tom breathing down your neck.

Danilo was in charge of plating up Tom's take on a panna cotta, with layered strawberry, meringue, orange confit, strawberry crisps, strawberry and a very tricky consomme.

As this dish only required plating, Danilo was tasked with cooking another dish, which he was very unhappy with - a gooseberry crumble souffle with elder flower ice cream.

Danilo started off struggling to quenelle the sorbet, which resulted in Tom's pastry chef taking over several times. His souffles looked like they had seen better days, too, and looked almost as deflated as he did. Like all good fairy tales, there was a happy ending... of sorts.

The petrified chefs were given the task of making Tom's signature dish, crispy sweetbreads served with potato risotto, ox tongue and griolles. All of the chefs were praised for their efforts, even though no one really knew how to make a potato risotto. SOUFFLE Back in the MasterChef kitchen, Monica thought that Darren's halibut was perfectly cooked and well seasoned, but Marcus could not get over the fact that the dish promised something he didn't receive - chicken wings. And as we all know, chicken wings are a deal breaker.

That, and the runny parfait in Darren's dessert contributed to him leaving the competition at this stage. Scott, Andi and Mark were the last group to take on a Michelin starred kitchen. Working under Lisa Allen at Northcote, the chefs were kept under a watchful eye as they were warned, anything that wasn't perfect would be sent back. Mark was given a dish that didn't require any cooking, but the difficulty came with the precise plating. Every Boland venison tartare with pickled mushrooms, a local Lancashire sheep's milk curd, fresh peas, sorrel and pea puree dish had to be identical.

Scott seemed to have drawn the short straw. The wood pigeon, glazed in an onion caramel, with pigeon legs stuffed with chicken mousse, roasted and steamed cabbage with sauteed girolles, with blue cheese and crispy cabbage leaves and a pigeon sauce was in high demand, Scott fell behind on his orders when one pigeon came out under cooked, putting the chef under pressure. Given that pastry was not his strong suit, Andi took the bull by the horns and attempted to tackle the roasted peach flavoured with champagne, redcurrant granita, redcurrant compote, a peach champagne and lime syrup, edible flowers and a mascarpone ice cream served on a brandy snap (which probably sent shivers down Andi's spine and flashbacks to the skills tests...).

Due to his shaky hands, Andi was struggling to rocher the ice cream, which meant that the peach dessert began to melt and had to be re-plated. Vowing to never attempt a pastry dish again, Andi was faced with Lisa's signature dish, a tempered dark chocolate cylinder filled with chocolate mousse, vanilla soaked yellow sultanas, smoked nuts and condensed milk caramel, with pulled sugar and salted sheep's milk ice cream.

Surprisingly, the shaky chef came out on top of this challenge with Lisa commenting "I would be very happy for you to serve that" in her restaurant. Unfortunately, in the MasterChef kitchen, Andi's pastry skills failed him and he left the competition. Even though his sea trout with a mussel broth was cooked well and his broth was flavoursome, the chocolate delice in his dessert wasn't set and at this stage of the competition, there's no room for error.

Next week Scott, Mark, Danilo, Nick and Mark battle it out to win MasterChef: The Professionals 2015.

>>> Read more about Masterchef: The Professionals 2015 here

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Editor 22nd December 2015

MasterChef: The Professionals 2015 round up – week five, semi-finals [with video]