Everything you need to know about MasterChef: The Professionals 2021, when is it on, which chefs made it through to the semi-finals and what are the challenges ahead

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Everything you need to know about Masterchef: The Professionals 2021

When does MasterChef: The Professionals 2021 start?

MasterChef: The Professionals Series 14 starts Monday 8 November at 7.35pm on BBC One, followed by episode 2 at 8:30pm on the same day. 

Where can I watch MasterChef: The Professionals 2021?

MasterChef: The Professionals is back on BBC One for its fourteenth series, and will see 32 chefs from around the UK battling to become MasterChef: The Professionals 2021 champion.

While the beginning of the series aired on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, as of December 7th, episodes will air every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 9pm.

When is the MasterChef: The Professionals 2021 final?

The final will take place on Thursday, December 16th at 9pm on BBC One.

The judges

Judges Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing and award-winning chef and restaurateur Monica Galetti, joined by Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace, will, for the 14th time, preside over the UK’s most anticipated cooking competition, airing over the course of six weeks.

Commenting on this year's series, Monica Galetti said: “The hospitality industry has faced such unprecedented challenges over the past 18 months. Britain’s chefs have been busting to get back behind the stove and I cannot wait for them to get cooking with passion and pride.”

Meanwhile, Marcus Wareing said: “This incredible competition demands that chefs push themselves harder than ever before and I’m thrilled that MasterChef gives them the opportunity to prove their ability and celebrate our profession.”

Gregg Wallace added: “As a MasterChef: The Professionals judge and someone who loves eating out, I’m so excited that the series is back. We’ve got some outstanding talent and it’s great to rediscover the joys of beautiful restaurant food.”

What to expect on This year's Masterchef: the Professionals? 

The first four weeks are heats, during which eight chefs compete in order to make it through to the quarter-finals.

The inaugural challenge in the heat is the infamous and often-dreaded skills test, during which two of the chefs must take a test set by Monica, and the other two by Marcus.

The judges first demonstrate their dish for the viewers at home, then task the professionals with preparing the dish - often a stumbling point for even the most profficient of chefs.

Following this revealing round, the chefs are asked to produce a signature menu consisting of two courses within an hour and 30 minutes.

This is an opportunity to tip the scales back in their favour for any shortcomings in the skills test, a chance to impress the judges with their own cooking and to gain viewers' favours by showing off what makes their style unique.

Two chefs from each heat are deemed worthy to make it through to the quarter finals. The first is an invention test, during which the judges select an ingredient on which the professionals must base their dish.

The chefs have a range of ingredients to work with, but must take the judges’ favoured item and create a standout dish that celebrates and elevates said ingredient to a professional, fine-dining standard.

The quarter finalists then face an intimidating round cooking for the UK’s most discerning food critics, who this year include Jimi Famurewa, Tracey MacLeod, William Sitwell, Grace Dent, Tom Parker Bowles, and Jay Rayner.

Having proved their worth, the professionals that make through to the semi-finals and finals face a series of challenges, cooking to a variety of briefs set by the MasterChef judges and guests including Jean-Phillipe Blondet; as in previous competitions, they will also open their own pop-up restaurant, serving their food to notable industry figures.

The chefs have the extremely daunting task of cooking for a room for of the UK’s greatest culinary legends at the chef’s table - where distinguished diners include chef patron of three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon RamsayMatt Abé, chef owner of two Michelin-starred Midsummer House, Daniel Cifford, Lympstone Manor's Michael Caines, celebrated Birmingham chef Aktar Islam and Michelin-starred executive at The Northcote, Lisa Goodwin-Allen.

The final three will be given the opportunity of a lifetime: to cook at one of the country’s greatest restaurants - three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.

When are the finals of MasterChef: The Professionals 2021?

The competition lasts six weeks, with the finals taking place on the week of December 20th, 2021.

Heats:

32 chefs compete;

Skills test followed by signature menu;

Skills test week 1 

Contestants

Chefs Nico, Lauren, Dan and Dario tasked with making:

Marcus' dish of bangers and mash with a beer and onion gravy

Monica's monkfish pea and bacon ragu

Chefs Budiono, John, Anthony and Rhodri Davies are in turn are asked to prepare: 

Marcus' dish of pan-fried scallops, cauliflower velouté, croutons and a curry butter

Monica's chocolate crème pâtissière-filled swiss roll served with a raspberry sauce

Skills Test week 2

Chefs Jamie, Kirsty, Eddie and Charith were tasked with preparing: 

Marcus' dish of calves liver, walnut browned butter (beurre noisette) and potato cake,

and Monica's agnolotti filled with burrata and sun-dried tomatoes served with a pea and mint pesto.

Chefs Aaron, Wesley, Trung and Elena's skills test consisted of: 

Monica's eggs benedict with Sriracha hollandaise,

and Marcus' Italian meringue and strawberry-ripple cream.

Skills test week 3 

Chefs Mathilde, Nic, Liam and Ollie were asked to prepare: 

Marcus' whole poussin, cooked and served on the bone with a chicory, pear and hazelnut salad

and Monica's chickpea flour panisses with an aubergine dip.

Chefs Andy, Jake, Thom and Ryan's skills test consisted of:

Marcus' seabream with couscous and red pepper mayonnaise

Monica's crêpes with chocolate hazelnut spread.

Skills test week 4

Chefs Yasmine, Robbie, Samuel and Alwynn's skills test required them to prepare:

Marcus' prawn, avocado and green pepper omelette with a prawn oil

Monica's chicken thigh kofte with flatbread and a cucumber salad.

Chefs Daniel, Gina, Enrique and Matt's skills tests consisted of 

Marcus' squid served on bread with a red wine sauce and a herb vinaigrette

Monica's coffee-poached pears with a hazelnut praline cream and crumble.

Chefs yet to take the skills test on MasterChef: The Professionals

All of the chefs have now faced the skills test, and the best have been selected to take part in the quarter-finals and the semi-finals. 

Quarter finals

At the end of each week, the chefs create a plate of food around a themed ingredient, then cook for the restaurant critics.

Semi-finals

On the first day of the semi-finals, the chefs were tasked with creating a food memory dish, followed by an invention test using the scraps from the first task.

On Thursday, 9th December, the chefs took part in a pop-up challenge, serving their food to notable industry figures, then on Friday, 10th December, they will take part in a final challenge cooking a dish for the judges to earn a place in the finals.

The finals

The final six chefs were then tasked with cooking a dish dedicated to someone special dish, then they must cook for the Chef’s Table in the MasterChef kitchen for chefs  Matt AbéDaniel Cifford, Michael CainesAktar Islam and Lisa Goodwin-Allen.

With another two chefs eliminated, on December 15th, the chefs will cook a 'classic reimagined' dish, then the final three will join chef Jean-Phillippe Blondet and cook for him using the ingredients from a limited larder - veg only, no dairy.

Lastly, the chefs will spend a service cooking in one of country’s greatest restaurants - three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.

To win, the finalists must then prepare the three best courses of their lives.

The finalists

The final four

Daniel Marreiros

A chef since 2012, Daniel is the head chef at Volta do Mar in London.

Find out more about Daniel Marreiros

Instagram: @danieldmarreiros

Liam Rogers

Warrington-born chef Liam works at two Michelin-starred Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham. At just 24, Liam has almost ten years of experience working in restaurants.

Find out more about Liam

Instagram: @chef_liam_rogersss

Aaron Middleton

Aaron is a 27-year-old private chef and the owner of his own company, Aaron Middleton Ltd.

Twitter: @aaronmiddleton

Instagram: @chefaaronmiddleton

Find out more about Aaron Middleton

Daniel Lee

Dan is a 28-year-old private chef from Birmingham who used to cook at Michelin-starred celebrity restaurant Table65, Singapore, but now works alone as a private chef.

Instagram: @daniel.jb.lee

Find out more about Dan Lee

Who won MasterChef: The Professionals 2020?

Alex Webb, then head chef at Square One restaurant in Dunmow, won the title of MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 Champion. 

We have since caught up with Alex, who, after a series of pop-ups with the other MasterChef: The Professionals finalists, Philli Armittage-Mattin, Bart van der Lee, Santosh Shah,  is in the process of opening his own restaurant. Stay tuned for further updates on Alex's plans.

Who won MasterChef: The Professionals 2019?

Then head chef of Birmingham’s The Wilderness restaurantStu Deeley won MasterChef: The Professionals 2019. The chef has since left the restaurant and is due to open his own Birmingham site, pandemic allowing. 

We spoke to Stu in the run-up to the final airing in 2019. Listen to our conversation with him here.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th December 2021

Everything you need to know about MasterChef: The Professionals 2021, when is it on, which chefs made it through to the semi-finals and what are the challenges ahead