MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 - finals week by Monica Turnbull

The Staff Canteen

It’s all over! The final plate has been served and MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 has a winner.

48 MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 contestants passed through the kitchen and faced judges Monica Galetti, formerly of La Gavroche, and two Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing. They were whittled down to a final three in a series of gruelling challenges over seven weeks and this week one talented chef took the prestigious gong.

Tuesday night saw the final four cook for the elite of the food industry, at Lombard Street, in one of the most prestigious events on the culinary calendar: the MasterChef chefs table. The 28 guests, who hold 34 Michelin Stars between them, included Michael Caines MBE and Jonny Lake, chef at The Fat Duck at Bray.

Gary prepared an incredibly tricky starter of goat cheese with beetroot five ways, with gingerbread crumb and a Scottish oat cake. The intricate detail in plating up was some of the most tense in the series. Monica and Marcus closed their eyes while watching Gary and the others plate up.

Elly prepared the main course: ravioli of brill and scallop mousse, roasted scallop and caramelised fennel puree with a beurre blanc sauce and sea vegetables. After some series sealing and racing against the clock, the talented chef served “one of the best dishes [the chefs] had ever had on MasterChef.”

Matt cooked the meat course of beef cheek, bone marrow, morrels and a bourguignonne sauce. The tasty plate was hailed a “banging dish.” Marcus said: “This is the best dish that Matt has cooked in the competition.”

Arnoud finished things off with a questionable free-standing crème brulee which unfortunately didn’t hit the spot with the diners.

The contestants then headed back to the MasterChef kitchen to cook the judges a dish inspired by the place they came from. Matt opted for a rhubarb dish which comprised compressed rhubarb, sorbet, jelly, crème anglaise, granola and rose petals.

Arnoud cooked zander, inspired by the Loire Valley; Elly cooked steaks inspired by her childhood in the South West and Gary cooked a version of haggis, nips and tatties. Marcus told him “you have nailed the flag of Scotland to this building.”

MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 - finals week - Gary Maclean - winner

The judges then decided that Arnoud’s sauce was too grainy to allow him through to the next stage of the finals, and he was asked to leave.

Wednesday saw the chefs fly to Norway, to cook in three Michelin Star restaurant, Maaemo, for Chef Esben Holmboe Bang.

The MasterChef contestants cooked for Esben then cooked during evening service, plating up some of Esben’s signature dishes including: emulsion of raw Norwegian oysters, hand dived scallops with cream of celeriac, version of strawberries and cream, and Rømmegrøt, which is a traditional Norwegian dish of cream with grated reindeer heart.

The MasterChef judges, Marcus and Monica, dined in the restaurant with host Greg Wallace. While the dishes received all of the expected “mmms” and “aaahs” from the diners, of the Rømmegrøt, Greg quipped: “What’s going on there? Reindeer heart tastes like corned beef!”

Thursday night was the big final and the three finalists went all out to cook three courses for the judges.

Gary’s Scottish heritage played a big part in his cooking and said that his menu for the final was created while in Oslo. Monica said: “Gary has so much technique and skill”. He presented a starter of razor clams with asparagus and lemon gel; main course was roe deer with whisky carrots and dessert was chocolate tart with raspberries.

Greg said: “If that’s the way your cooking is going then keep going that way” and “it’s like a walk through the Scottish Highlands.”

Elly served up: salmon two ways, lotus root, radish and seaweed; lamb three ways with girolle and lamb jus and dessert of cannelloni with raspberries and tarragon ices cream.

Greg said: “The tarragon ice cream is a triumph. It’s got a PHD from clever land that has.”

Monica told the young chef: “I’m so proud that you’re in our final three.”

Matt presented scallops with celeriac, cucumber, apple puree and veal jus. Main course was a dexter of beef, girolle mushroom sauce and mini potato fondants. Dessert was a chocolate tart with raspberries. Greg described the dessert as “absolutely divine.”

Chocolate Tart, chef Matt Healy, MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 finalists

After the chefs had each presented their three courses the judges debated their decision. Greg said: “What a great final” while Monica said: “Now that we have had your dishes I think we are in trouble with the judging.”

After much deliberating, Gary was crowned the winner. He said: “Incredible. What an amazing journey. I’ve run out of words to be honest.”

Marcus said: “He has lived the MasterChef dream. He is a major talent and he is a gentleman of the kitchen.”

>>> Read more: Gary Maclean wins MasterChef: The Professionals 2016

>>> Read more about Masterchef: The Professionals 2016 here

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Editor 23rd December 2016

MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 - finals week by Monica Turnbull