Today was day 3 of this round of celebrity Masterchef as the 4 celebrities battle it out for a place in the next round. I know who I personally would have eliminated from the competition, but Gregg and John made a very different decision.
The dessert challenge
The first test of the day was a classic recipe test. They were expected to make an apple tarte tatin with crème anglaise to accompany it. They had exactly one hour to impress and prove that they could follow a recipe successfully.
Gareth stated “when it comes to the crunch I’m better at eating desserts than making them.” He was working in the dark as he had never made tarte tatin before. The judges were concerned as he chopped the apples into small pieces, they were just too tiny. Leila was also very nervous, not knowing what the dessert looked and tasted like. Emma Kennedy claimed she was unsure stating “I think the biggest gap in my knowledge is puddings and pastry. I know nothing of them they are a mystery as deep as the seas.” Emma had 3 attempts at her caramel sauce, but would she get it right?
Emma’s was first up for scrutiny. Her caramel was too runny and Gregg critacised her pastry for being under-cooked. On a positive note her crème anglaise was fantastic!
Leila was next. Hers was more of a golden colour and Gregg immediately said “Yum! We’re almost there, the apples are soft with a caramel flavour with lovely creamy vanilla custard but your pastry isn’t cooked long enough” John stated “It’s not bad”
Gareth continued to look very nervous and was immediately critacised. He placed the vanilla on top for decoration instead of putting it in the dessert! John stated “you can see the pastry in the middle isn’t cooked enough, the apples are cut too small so they break down very quickly, your caramels not dark enough. There are little tiny lumps in your crème analgise which says that it is just on the edge of curdling.” Flavour wise Gregg declared : “It doesn’t taste like a tart tatin ‘cos it doesn’t have a caramel and it doesn’t have any vanilla but you’ve got soft buttery sweet apples with a sweetened cream, nice flavours just not the flavours we were expecting.” Gareth afterwards said “Pastries and desserts are not my strong point so therefore, it was hard work from the offset.”
Last was George. His looked messy and poorly presented nothing new there with 3 ridiculous slices and his custard appeared to be really thin. John said “The pastry isn’t cooked enough” but praised the actual flavours. Gregg said “your custard isn’t cooked and your pastry is too thin!”
Overall John and Gregg were disappointed with the round.
Contestants own dishes
Their own dishes in the next round would determine who was leaving the competition. They had 1 hour to impress the judges with a main course of their own design.
To my HORROR George’s was actually quite decent. He hoped to impress the judges with stuffed quale, vegetable spaghetti and mashed potato served with a wild mushroom sauce. John described it as “Close to stunning” the dish was a success except for the mashed potato which was lumpy. He clearly hadn’t learnt from his mistake during the mass catering the experience the other day.
Emma’s dish looked very presentable ; a salmon, prawn and butternut squash curry served with flat breads. John was impressed immediately uttering the words “I think it’s delicious I love it ‘cos it’s got heat from the chilli, sweetness in the sugar, a richness from the coconut milk, saltiness from the prawns and the oil from the salmon. The most impressive thing about your dish Emma are these brilliant little flat breads.” Gregg found it a little chunky but like John, loved the flat breads. Emma stated “The fact that I have managed to put out a decent curry with ACTUAL flat breads is for me…amazing!”
You could tell from Gareth’s face that he was very stressed and disappointed even before Gregg and John had made their comments. He cooked venison with a potato puree, ham lardoons, spinach and a red pepper wine jue, once again his presentation was elegant (like him) John stated “I like your presentation but actually Gareth, what I am confused about is that we have this small amount of mashed potato with a very large piece of meat, in my opinion it’s all out of proportion.” Gregg thought it was lovely, but said “there’s no excuse for that much mashed potatoes, nothing can be there to purely decorate your plate.” After the end result you could really tell that Gareth was beating himself up inside.
Leila was miles ahead of everyone else. She cooked a spiced lamb shank with prune jam, almonds, couscous and harissa. The dish was very popular Gregg stated “I love the flavours you’ve going on there the heat and sharpness of harissa as well. Some of these flavours are magical.” The lamb did need more cooking. John described the flavours as “rich and opulent” and stated “you are this close off one of the most fabulous decision that I’ve eaten in a long time” She commented afterwards “I never thought anyone would ever talk about my cooking like that, it’s a huge compliment.”
Final decision : Who would leave the competition?
Gregg and John had to come to the final decision of who would leave the competition. Based on that round I think it was obvious who was going to be eliminated. The judges felt that George really pushed himself on that round. They loved Emma and Leila’s dishes, Emma really redeemed herself with the successful flatbreads. The judges enjoyed the richness of Gareth’s sauce to accompany the venison but thought the balance was wrong with the tiny swipe of mashed potato and a large piece of meat. Gareth said “A place in the next round means so much to me, none of us want to leave.”
They waited nervously in a line waiting for the person’s name to be called. John said (much to my disappointment and my Mums) “The person leaving us is….Gareth.” As Gareth left he declared : “I’m really really gutted the other 3 were amazing you know, so that’s fine by me. It’s a shame I only lasted a week but it’s been a really really good week.” I don’t think it was particularly fair, George had an AWFUL first round on Monday and his presentation is horrendous he should have been the one to go.
As always Gareth left gracefully, although it was clear that he was devastated and wiped away a tear! 😦