MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 - week 4 by Monica Turnbull

The  Staff Canteen

The stakes were raised this week on MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 as the final 12 contestants battled it out for a place in the quarter finals. Blogger Monica Turnbull shares all the action from week four.

Judges Monica Galetti, formerly of Le Gavroche restaurant and two Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing whittled down the MasterChef: The Professionals contestants after enduring some strange soup in the skills test, and surprise signature dishes.

Tuesday night saw the first three contestants into the kitchen tackle an artichoke barigoule. Head chef Michael got a case of the shakes and Monica told him to “breath” as he tried to prepare the tricky dish. After his attempt, Marcus said: “Let’s call it a tough day in the kitchen.”

The second test, a lamb sandwich, looked a lot tastier. Monica said: “stop talking and make more” after trying Marcus’ sample version.

>>> Check out all of our lamb recipes here 

Monica Galetti chef MasterChef Professionals judge, Gregg Wallace MasterChef judge, 2016, week 4

21-year-old Roseanna was the surprise hit after making her sandwich. The chef, who has worked in kitchens since the age of 15, was told “you have done a fabulous attempt with this challenge.”

Roseanna also wowed with her signature dish of lamb with sweetbreads, asparagus and peas, with Marcus dishing out high praise. He said: “For such a young person in this industry to cook at this level is an achievement.” Greg added: “I adore your flavours.”

Sadly not all of the chefs impressed so much. Contestant Gary, who prepared rabbit three ways, was told by Greg “we may be some time, Gary, as you’ve given us 37 things to taste.”

Nigel served rack of lamb with a tapenade crust; he was told that the olive paste was too strong and the golf ball-sized arancini too big. He bemoaned: “I’m a bit upset they didn’t think the dish worked.”

After a mixed set of signature dishes, Lewis, Nigel and Michael were sent home. Roseanna, Gary and Graham were sent through to the quarter finals.

Wednesday saw possibly the worst attempted skills test the competition has seen. Marcus set the chefs the challenge of making a salmorejo, or cold Andalusian soup, topped with chopped, hardboiled egg and Parma ham.

>>> Feeling inspired? More soup recipes here 

There were many versions set before the judges however Matei was left with egg on his face after serving his soup with croutons, crispy Parma ham and a poached egg.

Monica’s skills test of an almond nougatine with white chocolate and green tea mousse saw a little more success. While 37-year-old Si seemed to crumble under the pressure of the MasterChef kitchen, Rich’s only problem was his coulis.

The signature dishes, as well as the chefs, were a real mixed bag.

Bobby was criticised for ruining king crab by wrapping it in an onion bhaji, while Rich’s dish of hake on a cashew and cannellini bean curry with pickled strawberries divided the judges’ opinions. Greg described it as “bordering on genius” however Marcus said wasn’t sure.

After a smorgasbord of weird and wonderful plates, Marcus and Monica decided that Bobby, as well as Jamie and Si would leave the competition; Rich, Matei and Mark went through to the next round.

The last quarter final saw chefs reinvent the classic British dessert fruit crumble.

College lecturer Gary impressed once again by serving a crumble with cherries and a chocolate and mascarpone cream; Mark wowed Marcus and Monica with his caramelised banana crumble.

Outlandish chef Rich left the judges scratching their heads after trying his reinvention which comprised caramelised apple with mango and blow torched ice cream (blow torched ice cream, really?). Monica said: “You’ve strayed a bit too far from what we were wanting. It’s more a fruity dessert than a crumble.”

After the reinvention tests were judged, Marcus and Monica asked army chef Graham and Matei to leave. Gary, Rich, Roseanna and Mark were asked to cook for the critics: Jay Rayner, Tracey Macleod and journalist and food critic for The Independent, Grace Dent.

The critics felt challenged by Rich’s main course of minted duck breast with black rice risotto (and about another 100 elements). When it came to dessert, however, they weren’t too impressed by his banana mousse with miso ice cream, with Jay Rayner commenting “It’s a pile of creamy things lying on a pile of gravel.”

And the cutting comments didn’t stop there. When served Mark’s turbot with seaweed butter, Jay also said “it looks very good for me which isn’t always what I’m looking for.” He rounded off the retorts by adding, of Mark’s dessert, “if you ever wonder what pot purri tastes like…” What a week for whit!

Masterchef the Professionals 2016, Jay Rayner food critic

At the end of the critics’ tasting, Marcus and Monica struggled to decide who to ask to leave and who to take through to the next round. Sadly, the talented Mark was sent home.

Next week sees the remaining 12 chefs enter the knock out round.

By Monica Turnbull

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull

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

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd December 2016

MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 - week 4 by Monica Turnbull