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MasterChef: The Professionals, 2014, Week Two

MasterChef: The Professionals, 2014, Week Two

by Ella Timney Friday, November 14, 2014

On to the second week of the marathon that is MasterChef: The Professionals. After last week’s offerings, with confidence instilled in the new host, I was looking forward to the nitty gritty of this week. What we got was a mixture of runny tarts, a freak stabbing accident and two chefs producing incredibly beautiful food from scraps.

More from this series:

Ella is a Food Editor at Great British Chefs. She frequently puts her analytical skills to good use observing (and partaking in) drinking cultures in her favourite London ale pubs.

Week 2, Round 1 - a bold statement from Sam as he proclaimed himself ‘one of the best in the country’ - after which, obviously, he was abruptly kicked out for producing a slightly odd beef/blue cheese/peanut combo.

Farewell Sam. The only dish they really liked in this round came from Sven, who also excelled in Monica’s round, which is a love/hate of a skills test for me. The love bit is seeing Monica expertly preparing a small game bird - the hate bit is the dread that will follow: the guts, the blood, the feathers, the mess, as chefs tear apart these beautiful creatures. Regular MasterchefProfesh viewers know this moment well from previous years - the horror, the horror.

Seriously Jamie, guts don’t tend to get pulled out of the breast, do they? Have you never even stuffed a turkey, bro?

Sven did the best job, even dealing with the fact that this beautiful bird has been shot through its neck and breast, leaving its head hanging by a thread. Mmm, appetising.

Woodcock preparation
The horror of a badly prepped woodcock
Monica Galetti shocked face
Monica despairs

Next came what is possibly one of the most disastrous round in MasterChef history, and this is counting the non-pros. Even golden boy Sven mucked this one up.

The challenge was something that was on paper, not even that hard. Marcus produced his grandmother’s custard tart, simplicity at its best, served to the actual Queen on her 80th birthday, a modern take on an old fashioned classic that Marcus does so well.

What followed was chefs totally failing at making a set tart of any kind. I will be kind here, the husky-voiced voiceover man did point out ‘Marcus then leaves his tart to set for 2 hours’ - could that possibly be the ticket here? Just maybe? Either way, John demonstrated the fact he had possibly, I don’t know, never made a tart before? Even I know you don’t line a tart case with greaseproof, then line the greaseproof with pastry, then fill the pastry with massive baking beads?!

Strangely, his tart ended up not looking too awful, but then again, none of them looked like total failures until they were sliced open. This was Jamie’s tart, looking a wee bit runny there maybe?

Bad pastry case
A complete misunderstanding of baking beads
Unset tart
Jamie's runny mess

This actually happened to all of the chefs, even Sven, whose lovely big frangipane tart was soggy in the middle. Dudes, you didn’t even have to make the pastry.

After that I’m surprised Marcus didn’t explode and send them all home, but three were saved to go on to the quarter finals.

 
 
Pigeon dish
Sean's dramatic dish
He likes a maroon stripe flashed across the plate, he likes things that conjure bone and burning flesh (but kind of in a good way), and pretty much flatly refuses the concept of vegetables throughout the show.

In Week 2 round 2, we get to meet ex-water polo player Sean - ‘my passion for cooking is very, very strong’ - quite right. He produces dishes that look like they were dragged from the fiery depths. He likes a maroon stripe flashed across the plate, he likes things that conjure bone and burning flesh (but kind of in a good way), and pretty much flatly refuses the concept of vegetables throughout the show.

Scottish Jamie produced ‘too many elements’ and Marcus was scared of his purple potatoes, but all of the 'too many elements' looked incredible so I don’t know why the judges were complaining really. More on him later.

After a pretty straightforward skills test, Marcus conjours up a striking pigeon dish, during which he waxes lyrical about cooking, tells us he wants the chefs 'to understand!' and enjoys those sweet, sweet, potato aromas.

Things are looking up for Daniel, his favourite ingredient in the world! Lovely sounding dish! Then his leg gets stabbed in a freak knife falling accident. What happens to these people after they suffer an injury? It’s happened before in the past. You can imagine them sobbing in a first-aid tent, ‘let me get back to the kitchen!’ just one more dish!’. He is never heard of again.

Marcus Wareing cooking
Marcus enjoying those sweet, sweet aromas
Daniel MasterChef
Poor Daniel

In the end, Scottish Jamie comes into his own, producing a beautiful pigeon salad that everyone loves.

This time, Sean takes on the challenge of vegetables, but fails badly at it, and dresses his dish with a sauce that resembles pig's blood. Marcus still loves him though (Monica is livid, you can tell - no one serves Monica al dente potatoes), so he manages to stay on.

 
 
He looks like he might go Full Angry Marcus at him, but doesn't. I don't know how he manages to hold back, I would have punched him.
MasterChef pot au feu
Sven's glorious pot au feu

Week 2 - quarter finals - time for the scraps challenge! This round truly sorts the wheat from the chaff, as Jamie and Sven produce dishes of staggering skill and beauty. Sven’s pot au feu looks like a bowl of earthly delights, while Jamie’s pork tortellini are truly a thing to behold.

The other three are put to shame, really. Sean produces something with a burnt bit of crackling, again verging on the power-goth mode of presentation. It's alright though, and Marcus still just about likes him, so he gets through.

Devon Jamie cooks banana, beef and egg fried rice, which Marcus said was cooking like 'a hungry man in the fridge'.

He looks like he might go Full Angry Marcus at him, but doesn't. I don't know how he manages to hold back, I would have punched him. Mark makes a dish that Marcus actually found ‘annoying' and the two chefs were shown the door.

It's critics time! In this round, we see William Sitwell and Jay Rayner having a fight over Sven’s soufflé, with William Sitwell proclaiming ‘It rose properly but it’s burnt, it’s a failure, it’s wrong… how can you be a critic? How can you do what you do for a living? You’re so wrong.’

image

I am saying nothing.

It was a shame to see Sven's flame dampened, he'd had such solid success before this. But underwhelming food for the critics is a terrible idea.

Jamie also struggled in this round, which is again a huge shame, he mucked up his duck, which went very chewy, and no one was too keen on the granola that accompanied it.

Dessert, too, was a let-down - mushy peaches, soggy crumbs. Luckily, Jamie was spared as Sean was relegated after his 'bland' carpaccio and lobster. His dessert was pretty as anything though, at last, but in reality, two tiny cups of espuma mousse don't really count as a pudding.

See you next week!

 

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