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

by Great British Chefs 19 December 2016

The semi-final of the competition meant the amount of mistakes and blunders were at a minimum, but every tiny detail had to be perfect if the chefs wanted to reach the final. Here’s what we learnt after the week’s trials and tribulations.

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Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

This year’s bunch of MasterChef: The Professionals contestants are so near yet so far to being crowned the winner. Six remained, with only four places in the final, so the pressure was definitely on. This meant the show felt very different from the first week – instead of Marcus and Monica saying how terrible things were and chastising chefs for making the most basic mistakes, they were really having to nitpick to find anything to criticise. There’s always room for improvement, however; here’s what the chefs could’ve done to clinch that place in the final.

1 Childhood inspiration is a useful resource

James’ take on fish and chips – inspired by his daughter’s love for them – was truly inspired, and seriously impressed the judges. The description alone – brill with tempura cockles, pea puree, charred baby gem lettuce, samphire, confit chips and caper ketchup – is enough to make the mouth water, and Gregg was both delighted and impressed, prompting a silent shout of celebration from James as he walked away.

2 Don’t serve too much of a good thing

Rich has been a bit of a wildcard throughout the competition, but his dessert was far too sweet – even too sweet for Gregg. Lime meringue pie, lime curd with strawberry meringue, a pistachio pastry base and a pistachio caramel wafer alongside various bits of strawberry certainly tasted (and looked) nice, but Monica was disappointed by the base and Marcus thought the meringue and pastry was the wrong way round.

3 Keeping your cool pays off

The semi-finalists didn’t just have to cook for Marcus and Monica this week; they had to go into the kitchens of Michelin-starred chefs Alyn Williams and George Blogg to recreate their own dishes in front of them. Elly and James remained calm and had a good time, but Arnaud flustered a little and finished with a slightly messy presentation, while Brenton’s soufflé split as the chef had a little panic.

4 Keep your portions under control

James’ gargantuan dessert may have tasted nice, but Monica and Marcus said it was far too large for one person. Brenton also went a bit overboard with his salad starter, which was just too much even if everything on the plate looked beautiful.

5 Don’t play it safe

The penultimate week of the competition saw some seriously impressive plates of food being plated up by the chefs, and while Brenton’s fillet of hake with linguine and sweetcorn was perfectly delicious and very well cooked, it just didn’t quite wow the judges as much as it should. This was perhaps one of the reasons he didn’t make it to the final (along with his hefty starter), while Gary and Matt did.