MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 - week 1 by Monica Turnbull

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th November 2018

It’s back! MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 has slipped back onto the screen faster than you can say sous-vide and the competition is hotter than ever.

Seasoned judges Monica Galetti, chef owner of London restaurant Mere and Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing are once again joined by host Gregg Wallace to test the MasterChef: The Professionals contestants.

Episode one saw three chefs face slippery squid in Monica’s skills test. Unfortunately junior sous chef, Jess, crumbled under the judges’ gaze and forgot to wash and de-skin her squid which lead to a lot of raised eyebrows. Ouch.

Marcus then gave the chefs a shock when he asked them to prepare cauliflower steak with two sauces and nut butter. However junior sous chef Callum, who pronounced his food “clean and refined”, rose to the challenge and impressed with his well roasted cauliflower steak.

Michelle 1

The contestants then had the chance to redeem themselves with their signature dishes. Maltese born Andre secured his place in the quarter final with his plate of barbequed, smoked pork tenderloin and buttered corn. All three judges hailed the pork, perfection. Andre, however, felt he could still have done better.

Callum also scraped through to the next round despite under cooking lamb, as did Michelle, despite being criticised for her jus. Darren, Jess and Archie were sent home.

Monica3

The next batch of contestants faced a fish filleting skills set by Monica. Unfortunately things went wrong for head chef Marika when she cut herself filleting the gurnard. Sous chef Ross, who said he likes to have a unique selling point (USP) on his dishes, gave the judges a shock when served a super-hot fillet of gurnard with the bones in. Not the USP he was after.

Marcus then set the challenge of preparing a hanger-steak with chimichurri sauce, mushrooms and flatbread. Senior sous chef Matt was left disappointed when Monica called his dish a ‘soggy, sticky mess’. Chef de partie Josh managed to receive praise for his version of Marcus’s dish despite Marcus telling him ‘you can’t keep asking questions, you have to just cook.’

Contestants

When it came to the signature dishes Marika managed to save herself thanks to her coffee seared venison with chocolate sauce. Marcus said her ideas were daring and Gregg said they are to be admired. Josh confused the judges by serving lamb alongside his pecorino stuffed ravioli. The judges said it appeared he had cooked and presented two dishes.

Alex received high praise from Marcus for his pigeon cookery and he was first to be put through to the quarter final. The judges also put Luke straight through as Marcus said he would love to see him cook again. Marika also secured herself a place in the quarter final.

Unfortunately Josh’s plate of two halves saw him heading home, along with Matt and Ross.

Luke5

On Thursday the chefs went nuts when they were given a coconut with which to invent a show-stopping dish. Luke once again won over Marcus and Monica with his Asian inspired flavours.

Unfortunately other contestants struggled with the concept of making the nut the centrepiece of their plate. Michelle prepared a panna cotta but lost the flavour of the coconut. While Andre’s undercooked pearl barley rice pudding also failed to impress and he was sent home alongside Marika.

The remaining four contestants were sent to cook for the critics: Tracey MacLeod, William Sitwell and Grace Dent.

Michelle managed to wow with her Carribean inspired lamb dish and was praised for the balance of flavours. Grace Dent, who said she ‘loved everything’ Michelle had done, asked Sitwell: ‘William did you sleep enough last night because you seem grumpy,’ after he failed to hail the plate a success.

Alex2

Confident cook Callum tried to wow the critics with ‘fifty shades of mooli’ as Tracey McLeod named it. William Sitwell said while he would remember the mooli he wouldn’t remember the dish generally. Ooo.

Creative Alex managed to save himself with his clever soufflé surprise. The critics, and Monica and Marcus, were wowed by the cream cheese ice cream hiding inside the perfect raspberry soufflé.

After the plates were cleared away Monica and Marcus had to send someone home. Unfortunately mooli didn’t move the judges and Callum was shown the door. Alex, Michelle and Luke will cook again in knockout week. What a start to the competition!

By Monica Turnbull

 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th November 2018

MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 - week 1 by Monica Turnbull