MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 - week 1 by Monica Turnbull

The  Staff Canteen

MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 has whisked back onto the small screen with its usual helping of comical facial expressions, wild food concoctions and artistic presentation. Blogger Monica Turnbull brings you the best bits for week one.

MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 has seen the return of judges Monica Galetti, formerly of two Michelin star restaurant, Le Gavroche and  Michelin star chef  Marcus Wareing, as well as host Greg Wallace to the Masterchef kitchen.

The trio leapt straight back into their cutting critique of the cooking skills of the MasterChef: The Professionals contestants 2016 with expectations this year being incredibly high.

During round one of the competition the two chefs set a skills test for the contestants. Episode one saw Marcus ask the contestants to cook a classic, steak Diane. The Michelin-starred chef provided a mouth-watering example of the dish for Greg and Monica which received the first round of “mmms” and “aaahs”.

MasterChef: The Professionals

The contestants, however, failed to produce the same reaction from the judges and Greg. Twenty-one-year-old Josh was left almost in tears after presenting his dish to the judges. Greg produced an unappetising lump of garlic on his finger from the dish and it was criticised for lack of refinement.

The raspberry tarts with crème anglaise produced for Monica’s skills test also looked on the verge of being a disappointment until 24-year-old junior sous chef Elly, wowed the judges; although I don’t like to speak too soon, I think she’s one to watch.

Other contestants crumbled. Chef Robert, 30, of St. Andrews was told he there were some “serious issues” with his cooking after his raspberry tart fell apart on the plate. Greg, a self-proclaimed dessert lover looked very disappointed by the soggy mess.

Thankfully the signature dishes were more hopeful, despite very serious and sometimes quizzical expressions from the judges.

Chef James was complimented by Greg who said, of his dish of lamb with sweetbreads: “In a way its representative of you: it’s big and it’s beefy and it needs a bit of refinement.”

At the end of the first episode three chefs including Mexican-Irish chef Fernando were asked to leave the Masterchef kitchen. For some reason the judges did not appreciate his “complete car crash” signature dish combining fish and tequila...

Night two brought more equally difficult skills tests. Three chefs were asked to cook a T-bone of plaice, and three a wild garlic velouté with vegetables. An array of fish fillets and luminous green water were then presented to the shocked and appalled judges.

MasterChef: The Professionals

Nessa, 22, of Darlington was left despondent after Monica, quite cuttingly, told her “we gave you a bowl of garlic for a reason, not to decorate the bowl.”

The chefs were intrigued when it came to the signature dishes however. The camera panned to more curious faces as a tray of hay was seen burning in the kitchen.

The pressure obviously got too much for some. Despite being happy with his signature dish, chef Mark said “I’m happy. I brought it back after the first dish. It went down like the Titanic.” It’s clearly not just the judges who can provide the quips in this competition.

Three more chefs left from night two: Nessa, Mehdi and James.

Thursday brought the first quarter final of the competition with the six Masterchef: The professionals 2016 contestants being asked to cook for food critics Tracey Macleod, William Sitwell and restaurant critic of 40 years, Fay Maschler.

After attempting the first task – reinventing a traditional chicken roast – they were then asked to present a main course and dessert to the food critics.

The first wild concoction which has to be mentioned is a lemon and asparagus car crash, sorry cake, made by James. The judges questioned the creation, and, despite his proclamations that it would work, it was declared a disaster.

However there were some show stoppers, including Matt’s venison, which Monica described as “one of the best plates he has given us so far.”

One glaring catastrophe was Scottish chef Kevin’s time keeping. He presented his main course to the critics more than five minutes late and didn’t get the chance to serve all parts of his dessert. Marcus had to stop him cooking, something which he said he has never done before in the competition.

Talented chef Elly still managed to keep a cool head and unbelievable organisation, with the judges and critics finding minimal faults with her dish. Her melt in the middle chocolate tart with beautiful, if slightly melting, quenelle of salted almond ice-cream proving to be a hit.

Unsurprisingly, Kevin, following his failure to keep time, was asked to leave.

Next week sees another twelve chefs enter the Masterchef kitchen to be whittled down in the quarter final.

I’ll be waiting to see Elly back in the kitchen for the semi-finals.

Follow Monica on Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull

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

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th November 2016

MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 - week 1 by Monica Turnbull