MasterChef: The Professionals 2017 - knock out week by Monica Turnbull

The Staff Canteen

It’s a knock out! The MasterChef: The Professionals 2017 contestants have faced a series of gruelling challenges this week as the judges whittled them down from 12 to eight.

On Monday judges Monica Galetti, of Mere restaurant and formerly of Le Gavroche, and two Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing, set the contestants the challenge of an invention test, but took away their beloved gadgets. Without the aid of a sous vide machine or water bath they had to rely on classic cooking skills.

Chris Niven, head chef at the Principal in Edinburgh, was the first to serve. He plated up mackerel with basil, ricotta and sundried tomatoes and the unusual addition of tartare sauce. The mish-mash of ingredients was picked up by host Gregg Wallace who said, “it’s a little bit muddled, a little bit messy.”

Chris, along with Brett Connor, Junior Development Chef at Blueberry Foods; Louisa Ellis, senior chef de partie, The Wilderness; and Craig Johnston, sous chef, at Royal Oak Paley Street, was asked to cook again.

marcus wow

Louisa wowed the judges with her deconstructed cheesecake with crispy ginger and brandy apples. Craig, who is the youngest chef in the competition, also impressed with his dessert: chocolate and caramel mousse with poached pear.

When it came to judging Monica and Marcus decided that Louisa and Craig’s desserts had saved them; unfortunately Brett and Chris were sent home.

There was no rest for the chefs as they were split into two groups and whisked off to cook for some important guests.

On Wednesday Gareth Howarth, sous chef at L'Ortolan; Tom Peters, senior sous chef, at Roux at Parliament Square; Steven Lickley, sous chef for Vacherin London; Jamie Park, of the Frog and Louisa were sent to cook for England rugby captain Will Carling at the home of England rugby, Tickenham.

main 1

The contestants were given a plethora of ingredients to create a three-course menu. Would they remember to serve bigger portions for the hungry sportsmen and women?

Jamie and Chris were first to plate up the starter: poached lobster with radish, fennel, peas and an aromatic lobster dressing. The diners praised the “sweet” taste of the lobster. They just would have liked a few extra peas.

Next up were Louisa and Steven who served venison with parsnip crisps and girolles. Louisa commanded the kitchen as she directed the men how to plate up and made the executive decision to give the diners three pieces of meat.

The guests praised the cooking, one said that the artichokes had been braised perfectly. The only criticism was the lack of a carbohydrate.

Last up was Tom who served chocolate and Tonka bean mousse. The guests were thrilled to see a cholate dessert and while they had been sceptical about the crème fraiche, all cleared their plates.

After working as a team it was do or die when they headed back to the MasterChef kitchen to cook their signature dish.
Tom served suckling pig with a potato and turnip pomme Anna. The judges praised the cooking of the pig but commented on the lack of contrasting flavours. When it came to the judging, unfortunately, Tom was asked to leave.

The second batch of quarter finalists: Ryan Blackburn, chef patron at The Old Stamphouse; private chef Matt Campbell; Tom Moody, sous chef at Slaughters Manor House; Leo Kattou, sous chef at Simpsons Restaurant and Craig Johnston, sous chef at Royal Oak Paley Street, were asked to cook at The Institute of Civil Engineers. Would they engineer success…?

Private chef Matt and Tom were first to serve Dover Sole with cucumber and potted shrimp cannelloni. The guests were very impressed when it came to the eating and said they liked the texture of the pickled cucumber.

contestants 2

Ryan and Leo were up next with the roast duck main. When it reached the table, the diners remarked that they didn’t like the presentation as much as the starter, but loved the flavours of the duck.

Craig, who is the youngest chef in the competition, manned the dessert station single-handedly and served a lemon and passionfruit parfait. The diners were wowed by the presentation and described it as “well engineered!”

After the team work it was back to the kitchen for the signature dishes. Ryan served sous-vide sea bass with courgette scales, cuttlefish Bolognese, semi-dried tomatoes, squid ink tuille and parmesan crisp. Unfortunately, despite what Gregg described as his “flavours of Italy,” Ryan failed to cook his fish properly and the raw sea bass meant that he was sent home.

The eight semi-finalists have now been chosen and the chefs will have to bring their A game for the chance to make it to the final!

By Monica Turnbull
Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull

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Editor 8th December 2017

MasterChef: The Professionals 2017 - knock out week by Monica Turnbull