Five things we learnt from week two of MasterChef: The Professionals 2016

Five things we learnt from week two of MasterChef: The Professionals 2016

by Great British Chefs 21 November 2016

Silly sandboxes, fish mishaps and a cheese overload were just some of the events that upset this week’s collective of pro chefs. See where they went wrong and how you can avoid the same mistakes at home.

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While the second week of MasterChef: The Professionals saw less people panicking over the simplest of tasks, there were still quite a few moments when we were able to scream at our televisions about how obviously wrong a chef was going. Most of the lessons from this week’s episodes seem to be focused around fish, even though it’s one of the easiest ingredients to cook if you know how. It was the way various species were prepared and cooked that really irked both the judges and critics, although there were a few other despairing moments for the contestants – see what we learnt below.

1. Serving both cooked and raw fish on the same plate is a risky move

Dale’s attempt to serve a fillet of cooked sea bass alongside the sea bass ceviche he was asked for went down like a sinking ship with Monica et al, presumably because hot, cooked fish will completely negate all the fresh, zingy flavours that make ceviche such a popular dish. It didn’t help that the whole plate tasted more like orange juice than sea bass either.

2. Don’t try to do a Heston

For the most part, plates of food are so-called for a reason; they should be served on a plate. While there are exceptions to this, Dylan decided to go completely off-piste with his glass box full of sand and pebbles, on which he served John Dory with edible puff pastry ‘sand’. While this was probably supposed to invoke a multi-sensory experience of being at the seaside (like Heston Blumenthal’s infamous Sounds of the sea), it instead completely distracted the judges from the food itself. All the rocks also ended up on one side of the box, which made it look as if it was accidentally upended at some point.

3. Big slabs of cheese don’t go down well

Chef Rohan started off on a positive, acing the skills test, but his signature dish of paneer layered with apricot and mint chutney dashed his chances in the competition. As a soaker-upper of other flavours (like a sort of cheesy tofu), paneer is well-loved in Indian cuisine, but the judges wanted something more on the plate. Perhaps it’s best to stick to other proteins for a showstopping dish; at the very least, a combination of cheese and fruit should be well avoided.

4. Marcus likes a chip dinner

It almost looked as if the chefs were having fun trying to reinvent the classic British fish and chips, but it was Marcus who seemed happiest (probably because all he had to do was eat everything). Yes, when he’s not cooking two-Michelin-starred dishes in his restaurants it appears Marcus loves nothing more than to tuck into a piece of battered cod and a big pile of chips, and he fully enjoyed this round. Mushy peas in particular seemed to please him, even when they’re served as a foam with potato crisps.

5. Undercooked fish is a no-no with the critics

In the quarter-finals, fish and seafood featured on every menu served to the critics, but was the undoing of three of the four chefs. Arnaud, Dale and Brenton let themselves down with undercooked offerings, but Andrew hit the spot with his fillet of cod and secured himself through to knockout week. Arnaud and Brenton were lucky enough to join him, but Dale was sent home due to one to many schoolboy errors.