The second part of the Masterchef UK 2012 final saw the last three contestants prepare a lavish feast for the professional chefs who have guided them over the course of the Masterchef competition.
Last night, the BBC treated Masterchef fans to the second of this week’s three Masterchef UK finals. After the previous evening’s episode, in which Shelina Permalloo, Tom Rennolds and Andrew Kojima had the difficult challenge of cooking in Michelin-starred restaurants, the bar had definitely been raised for the final three to showcase their culinary ability for the professional chefs last night.
As a warm-up before the big event, John Torode and Gregg Wallace set the 2012 Masterchef contestants a mini challenge to each create 30 amuse bouches in just 60 minutes. Amuse bouche literally means ‘mouth amuser’ and refers to a bite-sized hors d’œuvre that is usually served by the chef to tickle the tastebuds of the diner before, or in between courses. However, Andrew needs to brush up on his French culinary lingo, because he misunderstood the brief, preparing 30 full-sized starters instead of the small appetisers that had been asked for. Hats off to the guy, as surely that was far more work than the initial brief!
Andrew admitted that he wasn’t totally sure of the portioning, saying that he understood it to be
“more than a mouthful, but not more than four mouthfuls.”
Well Andrew’s amuse bouches were certainly more than a mouthful, as Gregg & John had to reach for their knives and forks to eat them. It’s just as well that his selection of dishes, including his fig salad and his goat’s cheese crumble, impressed the judges with their taste.
“That’s really lovely. Now all you’ve gotta do is get it into a shot glass, and you’ve got your amuse bouche” said Gregg.
Tom was really excited about the challenge, and with a glint in his eye, he described it as getting stuck into “the foreplay of the meal”. Gregg & John seemed equally as excited about Tom’s teasing titbits, which included rhubarb spaghetti with white chocolate and basil, and a celeriac and truffle velouté. However, as we have seen quite a few times throughout the Masterchef 2012 competition, Tom just set himself too much to do in the allocated time. When the 60 minutes was up, Tom had only completed one of his three amuse bouches to be able to present to the Masterchef judges. The rhubarb spaghetti was ‘superb’, but as for all the accompaniments that were supposed to appear, we will never know!
Shelina’s approach to the amuse bouches was to inject her traditional Mauritian style into the challenge, which yet again, resulted in her perfecting the food. Gregg loved Shelina’s bhajis, licking his lips and saying
“There’s loads of boxes next to this dish, and they’ve all got ticks in them”
We’ve known that Gregg has wanted to tick Shelina’s box for a while now, but last night he affirmed it, carrying on to say
“A delicious little morsel that’s perfectly refreshing”. We never know with Gregg whether he is referring to the food or to Ms Permalloo herself.
The flirtation just wouldn’t stop…..
With a cheeky grin he asked the voluptuous Mauritian Masterchef favourite to “pass us a couple of mangoes.”
He reminds me of my father when he flirts with the ladies selling melons in the market.
Cooking for the mentors
Next, Masterchef moved on to the main event- the preparation of a gastronomic meal for 7 of the professional chef mentors who have featured in the 2012 programme so far. Between them, the highly acclaimed chefs have a total of eleven Michelin stars, and the 3 Masterchef finalists had to cook for them. No pressure then.
Clare Smyth, the first female chef in Britain to ever run a 3 Michelin star restaurant, hosted the Masterchef contestants in her kitchen. She is clearly a woman who does not accept anything less than 100% perfect when it comes to her food. Shelina, Tom and Andrew were each assigned a course to do, all of which seemed to be impossibly complicated.
Shelina took the starter- poached scottish lobster with pork fat, pickled baby vegetables and a coral vinaigrette. Andrew was in charge of the main course- a Bresse pigeon with grilled polenta, baby vegetables, smoked pork belly and a pigeon sauce. Tom, the contestant who is probably the least inclined to preparing fancy deserts, was given the task of making a lemonade parfait, with a sheeps’ milk yoghurt sorbet and a bergamot sugar tuile. Clare Smyth doubtingly asked
“Is pastry one of your strong points?”, to which a very unconvincing Tom replied “errr, I’d like to think it’s not a weak point”.
Clare was not filled with confidence about letting Tom loose on her golden tuiles.
The preparation for the meal was by all accounts intense, stressful and not without its problems. Tom messed up the first batch of his parfait mixture as a result of excessive stirring, and had to redo the whole thing. Andrew really struggled with the work load in the time frame, and had to call in the help of some of Clare’s staff to assist with the vegetable preparation. Shelina, of course, managed the prep without a single flaw. The camera panned to John, who looked lost in his pure admiration for the golden girl of Masterchef 2012.
“I created that” he thought.
She had a little bit of difficulty plating up the intricate components of the dish, but after some guidance from Clare Smyth, she turned out seven beautiful dishes.
Tom Kitchin just said “you absolutely NAILED it.” Shelina’s perfection, though mightily impressive, is almost getting a little boring. I am rather hoping that in tonight’s final episode she drops a clanger like the whisky and fish nightmare that Andrew concocted a few weeks ago. No doubt whe could probably still win regardless of a major error, but it would be good to just see something resembling a crack in the performance of the woman that puts the rest of us to shame.
After Andrew’s panic-stricken preparation, he presented a beautifully cooked pigeon dish, which had the Michelin starred chefs singing his praises. One of those present was Tom Kitchin, who a few weeks ago was on the receiving end of Andrew’s most famous cock-up of the whole Masterchef UK 2012 series. Tom said, referring back to the whisky flavoured fish disaster,
“You gave me a dish that was the most catastrophic dish I ever had. Tonight, you have gone the full circle. Many, many congratulations.”
After several attempts, Tom created absolutely stunning sugar tuiles, the hardest part of his dish. It looked like a truly incredible plate of food.
After the second of the three Masterchef finals, it is still a tough call to predict whether Andrew or Shelina will win the competition, but all will be revealed this evening, when the third, and final episode of the Masterchef finale will result in the 2012 Masterchef winner.