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What we learnt from week one of MasterChef: The Professionals 2017

What we learnt from week one of MasterChef: The Professionals 2017

by Great British Chefs 10 November 2017

As a new batch of hopefuls hope to impress Gregg, Monica and Marcus, see where the first group went wrong and how we can all learn from their mistakes.

More from this series:

There are two reasons why MasterChef: The Professionals works so well as a cooking show. One is seeing shining new talents get the attention they deserve, watching ambitious chefs rise to the top of the culinary cream on TV. The other (and arguably more enjoyable) aspect is the schadenfreude gained from seeing trained chefs make the most basic of errors. It makes us feel better about our own shortcomings as amateur cooks, and it’s always easy to criticise from the comfort of our sofas.

While we’re sure it’s the pressure of cooking under the watchful eye of Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti that causes most mistakes, that doesn’t stop us from shouting at the television as someone fails to do the simplest of tasks. It was Ryan, Gareth and Jamie who managed to prove themselves and make it through to the next round, but the other hopefuls donning their chef whites just weren’t up to the task.

The early stages of the competition are where you’ll find some of the biggest upsets of the series – we’ve collected some of the most obvious shortcomings of the contestants, so you won’t make the same mistakes.

Make sure you can butcher – and cook – a duck

On the first episode of the series, the vast majority of the contestants found working with duck harder than they should’ve done. It’s a little bit different from a chicken – the breastplate is a little more rounded – but the pressures of the MasterChef kitchen meant this little detail tripped up the majority of the chefs. Most removed the breast but left a huge amount of meat still on the bone, which is incredibly wasteful. The actual cooking of the duck didn’t prove successful, either – you want a little bit of pink in the centre, but a raw, translucent, still quacking bit of meat isn’t what most diners are after.

Know your salt from your sugar

Poor Daniel – it’s the classic schoolboy error that renders an otherwise delicious dessert completely inedible. But mistaking salt for sugar just shouldn’t happen at this level. Daniel managed to throw a load of salt into his soufflé, causing some great reactions from the judges. If he’d just tasted it before serving, he might have had had time to change it, which just goes to show – always taste your food as you’re cooking!

Don’t put oregano in desserts

Basil and strawberries? Great. Thyme and lemon? Sounds lovely. Oregano with white chocolate? Perhaps a step too far. Grace Dent said Will’s mousse was the ‘most extraordinary thing I’ve put in my mouth’, and Marcus was equally unimpressed. What Will wanted – a white chocolate mousse with a herbal twist – turned out to taste more like a sweet cheesy pizza, which isn’t really what you want to finish off a meal.

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