MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 - finals week by Monica Turnbull

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st December 2018

There’s a new king of the kitchen! MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 has crowned its newest champion after a show-stopping week of final challenges.

The four MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 finalists faced their most daunting task yet on Tuesday when they had to serve at one of the highlights of the culinary calendar, the MasterChef Chefs Table.

Faced with serving guests holding an impressive 25 Michelin Stars between them, they rose to the challenge and wowed their idols with four impressive courses.

Head chef Matthew was regaled for his Iberico pork dish by Michelin-starred Atul Kochhar, of Benares, who said: ‘whoever cooked this dish, I must congratulate that person.’

Matthew 5
Matthew treated the judges to his Iberico pork dish

And then head chef Oli, who served fermented spruce honey parfait dessert, was praised by Galton Blackiston, of one Michelin Star Morston Hall. He said: ‘Wow. To me this is someone who has honed his teeth on desserts for many, many years.’

Once the guests were served the finalists headed back to the MasterChef kitchen to serve one dish to judges Monica Galetti, of Mere restaurant, Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing and host Gregg Wallace. After tasting the judges would send one chef home. The rest would head to one of the world’s greatest restaurants.

Sous chef Laurence impressed Marcus with his dish which was inspired by Cornwall. He served turbot, dashi jelly and lobster salad. Marcus exclaimed: ‘these three little plates are plates of wonder. Fine dining at its best.’ He must have been impressed.

This proved to be head chef Matthew’s final challenge of the competition. Despite impressing the judges with his offering of braised turbot with cockles, clams and mussels, he was sent home. However the judges had some final words of praise for him. Monica called him a star and Gregg said: ‘you have been absolutely fantastic.’

Laurence 2
Cornwall inspired lobster salad served by Laurence

For the remaining three it was time to head off for a masterclass from one of the world’s most renowned chefs, Anne Sophie Pic at her three Michelin Star restaurant Mason Pic.

After showing the chefs how to cook some of her signature dishes, which included infused tomatoes, honey cured sweetbread and mille fuille, it was time for the chefs to cook for Anne Sophie. Not a daunting task at all…

Laurence impressed Anne Sophie with his use of Mexican tarragon from her garden in his dish of langoustine with baby carrots and cucumbers. She said it was ‘very nice.’ Meanwhile, Oli chose to add beer to his dish of poached oysters, but not before sampling it to make sure it was OK to use, of course.

Contestants
The final three head into a masterclass from Anne Sophie

The chefs were then tasked with cooking some of the restaurants well known dishes during service for guests including judges Marcus, Monica and Gregg.

The three diners were blown away by how the chefs put together Anne Sophie’s creations with Gregg exclaiming ‘wow’ when the crab course arrived. Dean was in charge of the dessert course – mille fuille covered in Chantilly cream – and despite saying ‘you need to be a surgeon for this’ he impressed everyone with his assembly and presentation of the delicate dessert.

When service was finished there was just time to celebrate with some champagne before contemplating the final challenge ahead.

Dean 5
Dean impressed the judges with his show-stopping mille fuille

Recovered from their experience at Maison Pic, the contestants faced their final cook off. All they had to do was cook three exquisite dishes to impress the judges. Simple, yes?

Head chef Oli was first to serve. His starter included kelp cured langoustine and reindeer moss and Monica said the flavours were ‘magic.’ His main course was duck and for dessert a yoghurt mousse with bilbury jam mille fuille and strawberry meringue shards. Gregg said the pudding was a little too sharp for him but the judges enjoyed it.

Oli 1
Oli served his magical three courses

Private chef Dean served veal tartar with confit quail eggs to start. His main course was spiced monkfish on a bed of fragola pasta and white asparagus with an Iberico ham crumb. Marcus said: ‘that for me is absolutely sensational.’ However he wasn’t as impressed with the presentation of Dean’s dessert of pistachio financier with strawberry and lemon curd and a set lemon verbena cream.

Laurence was last to serve and got off to a rocky start. Marcus said his scallop starter lacked punch however he managed blow the judges away with his pork main course. Marcus said it was a memorable dish. The dessert was the icing on the cake for the young chef with all three judges hailing the aerated mint white chocolate with passionfruit a triumph.

Laurence 3
Laurence holding the MasterChef: The Professionals trophy after he is announced as the winner 

The judges then had the difficult task of naming a winner and it was Laurence who took this year’s MasterChef: The Professionals trophy. The judges praised his talent and the way he challenges himself. A worthy winner. Well done chef!

By Monica Turnbull

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st December 2018

MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 - finals week by Monica Turnbull