Celebrity Masterchef hit our screens last week with a brand new series. Jamie Theakston and Javine made it through in the first heat. This week we are joined by 4 new celebrities. Holby city star Leila Rouass, actor George Layton, author Emma Kennedy and the person who I was most excited about seeing West End Star Gareth Gates !
The 4 celebrities all appeared to be very nervous before the start of the heat. Gareth Gates stated “I’m very competitive; I’m in it to win it.” They were all presented with the mystery box test where they were given a random selection of ingredients and expected to create something. They had just 50 minutes to prove their potential.
The main ingredient was pigeon, something that I’d never even dream of eating myself! The box also included:
- Poi Lentils
- An orange
- Savoy cabbage
- 1 pepper
Emma created orange roasted pigeon wrapped in pancetta and stuffed with garlic, served with creamed potatoes, cabbage, buttered carrots and a parsley sauce. John immediately stated “You like your seasoning don’t you!” the duck was perfectly cooked as was the rest of her dish although she was criticised again for over using salt.
George’s presentation was messy. He made pan-fried pigeon breasts and served them with pancetta, savoy cabbage, sautéed potatoes and very randomly a separate red pepper salad. The pigeon breast was excellently cooked but the potatoes and cabbage were slightly burnt. The judges accused him of having bad presentational skills. George stated “I’m sort of happy but I know I can do better and will do better.”
Leila pot roasted her pigeon with the potatoes and served them with the red pepper stuffed with the pigeon liver and lentils. The bird was slightly overcooked however, her potatoes were delicious. Gregg stated that her pepper was weird and the combination of pepper and lentils shouldn’t be together. She was disappointed and claimed “It wasn’t as bad as I thought and I’m glad it’s over.
The head was still on the pigeon and I had to laugh when Gareth (after decapitating it) picked up the head and said “You alright?” making it nod!!! Gareth created pigeon breasts neatly wrapped in parma ham, roast potatoes and a carrot puree very impressive! He stated “ I’m all about the way things look.” John and Gregg were obviously very impressed when Gareth stated that he could visualise how the dish was going to look in his head. They then said “Are you at one with the spirit in the sky?” Gareth laughed and stated “I certainly am!”
Gareth was streets ahead of the rest in this round. John immediately stated “That looks fantastic!” and after tasting described the dish as “Wonderful iron rich pigeon, beautiful taste of that bacon round the outside all smoky and a really beautifully seasoned sweet carrot puree. I think it is really very good indeed. So so impressed Gareth!”
Gregg was also a fan saying “I really really like that it’s a perfect match. I’m really impressed ‘cos you’ve had no time to practice this at all”
After the round John said “Wow! Guys that may be the best start I have ever seen to a heat on Celebrity Masterchef, absolutely brilliant!”
The skills test : Tomato Bruscetta
Next the contestants had 10 minutes to complete a skills test. Firstly they had to remove the skin from the tomatoes. What really shocked me is only 1 out of the 4 knew how to blanche a tomato! They were expected to toast the bread, rub ground garlic over the bread and mix the tomato and garlic together. They then had to add salt, basil and olive oil and place them on the bruschetta. Quite simple… but how would they fare.
First was Gareth. He began by chopping the garlic and was clearly very nervous. I wanted to shout at the TV when he began to peel the tomatoes with a vegetable peeler!!!! He nearly forgot to toast the bruschetta. John gave him a subtle hint stating “have you had bruschetta before Gareth?” to which Gareth answered “many a time yes” John continued “and how’s the bread normally?” Gareth nearly forgot to toast it !!! Once again the presentation was elegant but you could tell that Gareth wasn’t happy with his finished result.
Leila cut the bread IN HALF! and then continued to cut it too thinly. Effectively she gave them dipping soldiers with a tomato salad. Gregg picked un an olive which had pretty much collected all of the garlic! John stated “It’s just alright, its ok!” not a great start for the first 2.
Again, George cut the bread in half! He placed the tomatoes in the boiling water and removed the skin the correct way but the finished dish looked like a car crash! Gregg stated “This is more like a pizza! You definitely need to work on presentation.”
Last but not least was Emma. I have to say that I was very impressed. She finely cut the bread and knew how to effectively take the skin off a tomato. The bread was well toasted and flavoured with the garlic. John said “what you have done here is almost perfect I am absolutely ecstatic!!” Emma had by far the strongest bruschetta round!
All four celebrities had their ups and down on their first day. Tomorrow they have their biggest test so far in their outside challenge (gulp) I can’t wait to see how they fair!