MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 - week 5 by Monica Turnbull

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th December 2016

It’s a knock out! Week five of MasterChef: the professionals 2016 saw the contestants trimmed down to the final five with a series of grueling challenges.

Judges Monica Galetti, formerly of Le Gavroche restaurant and two Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing put the MasterChef: the professionals 2016 contestants through their paces.

Tuesday saw the final 12 chefs create a new dish in the invention test. Development chef Zoe failed to impress the judges with her plate of leg of rabbit. Marcus commented that it wasn’t “executed as well as it could have been.” She was then asked to cook again and wowed Marcus and Monica after presenting a mouth-watering veal katsu curry with aubergine and onion bhaji scraps.

>>> Read more MasterChef: The Professionals blogs here 

Other impressive dishes included college lecturer Gary’s plate of crab: delicate crab with mayonnaise wrapped in asparagus strips, on brown crab meat with a crab bisque and squid. Oh wow…
Ellie – who I’ve been waiting to see again since the first round – again impressed Marcus and Monica with her dish of guinea fowl three ways: breast, faggot and terrine with morels and pancetta jus. Marcus commented “the faggot is outstanding. I love this dish.”

After the invention test Zoe, Andrew, James and Roseanna were asked to cook again. Andrew and Roseanna then left the competition.

Things heated up on Wednesday when the five contestants were asked to cook at the Royal Society of Medicine. The challenge was to cook three courses but the MasterChef contestants stretched themselves to five, impressing the guests with: an amuse bouche of cauliflower ice cream – created by inventive chef Rich; a starter of gazpacho; main course was lamb three ways and a vegetarian option of asparagus with miso and ginger; pre-dessert was gooseberry and apple crème brulee; dessert was a Caribbean Alaska.

It has to be said, the extra courses created some hair-raising moments. Diners commented that the lamb was slightly over-cooked while Zoe struggled to get the ice cream to set in the baked Alaska. I still cringe every time there’s an ice cream to make - they never seem to set!

Despite the challenges the contestants were praised for stretching themselves with one diner commenting “if this was a restaurant we would all come back.” High praise indeed.
Next was the show stopper challenge back in the MasterChef kitchen, with few of the dishes stopping the show which led to the usual cutting comments.

Matt’s plate of halibut with langoustine, samphire, spinach and lobster bisque, Marcus described as “predictable.” And while Rich’s dish didn’t receive the reaction he was hoping for – Marcus and Monica didn’t understand the addition of grapefruit to bacon and dashi risotto – Marcus said: “I like that Rich is digging his heels in and sticking to what he believes in.”
At the end of the judging, and a disappointing melted mousse and pistachio cake, Zoe was asked to leave.

Thursday night saw the next round of five contestants cook for guests at the French Ambassador’s residence. Ellie, James, Gary, Brenton and Max prepared a starter of poached Pollock, main course of chicken breast pithivier and chocolate fondant dessert.

Despite the fact the chefs stuck to the three courses they were asked to prepare, I couldn’t help but cringe and look away at certain moments: bursting pithivier, undercooked fondant and a late dessert made it tense viewing!
In spite of the tension, and overcooked Pollock, the guests raved about the chicken. One guest described the pithivier as “one of the best I’ve ever tasted.” And the chocolate fondant, Monica said was “the dish of the day.”
At the end of the challenge, Marcus declared “our chefs have done us proud.”

Next was the show stopper challenge. Cooking for a place in the semi-final, Brenton prepared a delectable Bomb Alaska: chocolate financier cake covered in Italian meringue with cherries which Monica said showed a lot of skill.
However James’ strange dish, cryptically named frustration, was not well received. The purple plate comprised venison with purple, pickled carrots, roasted and pureed beetroot, croquette and port and juniper jus. Marcus said: “I think this dish is just wrong.”

Gary demonstrated excellent techniques by serving homemade black pudding with scallops and once again Ellie presented a pleasant dish of pork two ways.

After judging, Marcus and Monica decided it was Max’s time to leave the competition. Ellie, Brenton, James and Gary made it through to the semi-finals.

With two weeks left, the competition is riveting. Next week sees the chefs cook off against each other for the chance to cook with some of the most inspirational chefs in the industry. Roll on Tuesday!

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 9th December 2016

MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 - week 5 by Monica Turnbull