Last week Celebrity Master chef hit our screens on BBC 2 once more for its 7th series, as the first 4 celebrities battled it out for a place in the semi-final. The celebrities were Anne Charleston from Soap opera Neighbours, singer Javine, Jamie Theakston and Steve Parry.
There was no rest for the wicked for as soon as the contestants arrived they were given a skills test which involved making their own home-made pasta and pesto in just 10 minutes. It was to be a success for some and more of a disaster for others.
On Tuesday they were unleashed onto the unsuspecting public and cooking in pairs Steve and Javine and Anne and Jamie, where they had 110 hungry mouths to feed at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine. Jamie and Anne were expected to deliver an excellent chicken dish while the other pair made a chilli concarne and a vegetable lasagne. John Torrode and Gregg Wallace were concerned by the fact that Jamie and Anne were working together as they were barely communicating with each other. The food from both teams seemed to go down well.
Day 3 of the competition meant elimination day. The challenge was a cook off in the Masterchef kitchen with 2 tests. The first was a classic recipe with a blackberry and frangipane tart. They had 1 hour and 10 minutes to perform.
Javine clearly struggled with her pastry and seemed to fail to follow the recipe properly, resulting in a “gooey horrible mess” she was absolutely gutted. Jamie’s tart was a little soft in the middle but very presentable to the eye down to pure luck much to John & Gregg’s amazement. Anne’s wasn’t completely awful however it had more of a Victoria sponge texture according to the judges. It was Steve’s strongest round.
The next challenge was for the cooks to create one of their favourite dishes with the time limit of 1 hour. Jamie made a fillet of venison steak with a cream sauce, roasted vegetables, creamed potatoes with a red current and juniper sauce. John and Gregg were impressed with the flavours within the dish.
Anne’s was to follow scallops served with a mango, pepper and avocado salad with a drizzled chilli dressing. Some of the scallops were badly torn and described it as “a little overpowering” once again critacising her presentation, stating that “Your dishes need to be as elegant as you”
Steve created pepper steak, garlic mash, green beans and pepper corns with a shallot sauce. Greg quickly stated “ I love it love it love it! I would eat the whole thing.” John was also impressed but would have liked the sauce to be thinner to bring the dish together.
Javine cooked a fillet of steak, parsley, celeriac mash and a red wine and spinach jue. It was probably the best looking dish of the night however; the spinach was a problem as it was leaking water into the sauce.
The contestants waited to hear who would be evicted, it was Anne and she left the competition with her head held high.
Things seriously started to hot up. At 8am Steve, Javine and Jamie headed off to cook in their 1st professional restaurant, one which specialised in French cuisine. They were greeted by head chef Michael Weiss and had 3 hours to impress.
Steve had 80 scallops to prepare in 1 hour for the starters. Javine was put in charge of the tricky venison main course and was expected to remove the unwanted muscles from the meat. Jamie probably drew the shortest straw- being in charge of the expensive monk fish in his braised monkfish, pomme puree and roasted fennel dish. Each portion had to be weighed perfectly and the membrane had to be removed.
With only 40 minutes to go until service Steve was feeling the pressure and had to call on some help. At 12 midday the first customers began to arrive. Both Steve and Javine were criticised on their presentation and as service became more and more hectic the head chef’s concerns grew.
They faced one final challenge in that restaurant having to prepare steak tartar for Michael Weiss. Steve’s overall presentation and dish was good although his pieces of steak were slightly too big. Javine’s version was excellent except for the bread crumbed egg on top which had been overdone and exploded inside. Jamie’s was too spicy with the meat unevenly chopped however, his egg was perfect.
Friday was the final day for this round of celebrities. Today was make or break. They had to cook for 3 previous celebrity master chef contestants Andi Peters, Lisa Faulkner and Phil Vickery. They had just one hour and 15 minutes to cook a 2 course meal of their own design.
The judges were slightly worried about Javine’s starter – red snapper with mango, plantain and a starvenise and honey sauce. They thought she was being a little too over ambitious however the dish proved itself to be elegant. Her dessert was perfection. I had to laugh when John, Greg and Javine crouched around the oven and prayed. The chocolate pots were served with a hazelnut crème and a raspberry coulis.
Jamie made pan-fried duck breast with a bitter orange and pea puree. Andi complained that the duck was underdone but overall the judges were happy and decided to take on his own demon, the frangipani. This time it was chocolate and ginger with a beautiful fondant centre, the presentation was beautiful and the dessert went down a storm.
Steve’s main of Mediterranean vegetables, chicken wrapped in Parma ham, mozzarella and gnocchi proved to be a massive gamble. The chicken didn’t appear to be 100% cooked and the vegetables were too el dente.
After quite a poor round Steve was eliminated from the competition but stated “ I’ve absolutely loved it, it’s been so much fun.” Jamie and Javine will go through to the next round in a few weeks time.
Next week 4 more celebrities will don their Master chef aprons they are Holby City’s Leila Rouass, actor George Layton, author Emma Kennedy and the person who I am most excited to see ; popstar and West End Star Gareth Gates but how will they fair….? Tune in next week to find out!