MasterChef: The Professionals 2017 - week 2 by Monica Turnbull

The Staff Canteen

From a cod catastrophe to prawn pasta perfection, this week’s MasterChef: The Professionals contestants 2017 have been pushed to the limit.

Week Two in the MasterChef: The Professionals 2017 kitchen saw another twelve contestants face formidable judges Monica Galetti, formerly of Le Gavroche restaurant, two-Michelin starred chef Marcus Wareing and host Gregg Wallace.

On Tuesday Monica set the challenge of butchering a cod head in the skills test. Head chef Richard was the first to tackle the tricky fish. He deep fried cod cheeks in panko breadcrumb and served them with a paprika and citrus cream sauce. Although Monica said the cod cheeks were nicely cooked, Marcus was stunned that Richard didn’t taste his food.

Twenty-two-year-old Jordan was next up. Sadly this definitely wasn’t the challenge for him. After rummaging around the cod head for the meat he then made a cod omelette. The eggy disaster wasn’t well received by the judges and Gregg refused to eat it.

cod omlette edited

Senior sous chef Tom was last to tackle the cod. He served pan-fried cod cheek with chorizo cassoulet and lemon and caper mayonnaise. While the judges said the plate didn’t need the cassoulet and mayonnaise together, they did praise his cooking.
It was make or break with the signature dishes. Greek chef Leo wowed with his baby chicken which he slow roasted and blow torched after cooking. Head chef Alexander was also praised for his scallop dish which contained the novelty ingredient parsley sponge. Monica called this “a bit of fun” but also admired the chef’s flavours and presentation.

Unfortunately for Joe, his turbot with maple and verjus glaze didn’t hit the spot. The judges praised elements of his cooking but the dish as a whole was said to be underwhelming.

When the judges made their decision they put Tom, Alexander and Leo through to the quarter finals. Jordan, Richard and Joe were sent home.

Tuesday saw Marcus set another fishy skills test. The chefs were asked to serve pasta with prawns. Head chef Neil was first up. He was praised for his flavours though Monica said his method in making the sauce was “a bit backward.” Yikes.
The skills test proved too tricky for Italian chef Claudia who said her grandmother would be very disappointed that her pasta dish wasn’t a winner. Monica commented on the lack of sauce and that the pasta was cut unevenly.

Thankfully Claudia managed to turn things around with her signature dish: pigeon breast and offal with a raspberry sauce. Marcus said it was “beautifully cooked”.
Neil made scallop ceviche for his signature dish. The judges were concerned that he wasn’t demonstrating any cooking skills and though it looked beautiful, they said they couldn’t taste the marinade.

marcus wareing ceviche edited

The judges once again faced a tough decision however they decided that Claudia, Ben and Steven, who impressed with his three sauces, were through to the quarter finals. Neil, David and Richard were sent home.

The quarter final began with the ever daunting invention test. The contestants were given a host of herbs to choose from to create a show stopping dish.

Leo had to change his dish after his loveage emulsion split, and instead created basil pesto and thyme tomato water. Marcus said the tomato water was “really tasty” however, though Monica liked the flavour of the crab, she commented that “it’s a bit confused”.

Steven however had better feedback from his crab salad which he served with tomatoes and fennel. The judges were sceptical of his decision to serve a salad, but Monica hailed the dish “a little bit of genius.” Wow.
After the invention test Marcus and Monica decided it was time to say goodbye to Italian chef Claudia whose dish of potatoes and cabbage was lacklustre.

Then it was time for the four remaining chefs to cook for the critics: food writer Tom Parker-Bowles, food critic William Sitwell and journalist Tracey McLeod.
Ben was first to serve and while the critics had some nice comments William Sitwell said his seabass with chorizo and cauliflower “lack[ed] finesse” and “in MasterChef: The Professionals it’s just not good enough.” His dessert a chocolate delice was a 'real bobby dazzler' which unfortunately required a 'hammer and chizzle' to eat it.

delice edited

Leo really struggled to impress the judges with his fish wrapped in cabbage served with caviar. The diners struggled to cut through the cabbage and William Sitwell said “I would send this back in a restaurant.” Oh dear… However Leo’s dessert was more well received. Tracey McLeod said “it was a really lovely play on strawberries and cream” while William Sitwell said “the panna cotta is faultless.” What a turn around?

After some mixed reviews Monica and Marcus had to whittle the contestants down to three. Unfortunately Ben was sent home, leaving Tom Peters, senior sous chef, Roux at Parliament Square, Leo Kattou, sous chef at Simpsons Restaurant and Steven Lickley, sous chef for Vacherin London to head through to knock out week.

The competition is certainly cooking on gas now!

By Monica Turnbull
Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull

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Editor 17th November 2017

MasterChef: The Professionals 2017 - week 2 by Monica Turnbull