From start to finish, Charlie was on a roll in the fighting-talk department, playing super defence in an attempt to win the psychological battle against Colin. But in this game, only gastronomy counts, and here the judges didn’t pull any punches.
Colin kicked off with his starter of ‘Quails in the woods’, a theatrical dish with a woodland presentation involving dry ice, coated quail’s eggs and chicken liver parfait. The judges agreed with Nigel, who gave the dish a mere 4/10 during the heats. Having extracted the actual food from the wilderness of their plating, Prue was not impressed with the paltry offerings: “When you get rid of the wonderful décor, this is what you’ve got, and I don’t think it amounts to gastronomy.” It didn’t help that the meat was undercooked, noted Oliver: “I’m a man who likes my meat walking but that breast is raw.”
So maybe Charlie had a chance here, both psychologically and gastronomically. His starter of wild rabbit with carrot and Douglas fir pine needles was next, but it didn’t do much better than Colin’s, with over-smoked loin and a confusing amalgamation of flavours.
“Here’s a chef who’s trying very, very hard but he doesn’t know when to stop,” said Matthew. “He’s entered for the pentathlon when he should have entered the shotputting.”