Tuesday, February 10, 2009


It's the three best losers from the last series tonight. Before we've started Gregg's little voice piece at the start shouts to us "THIS WILL CHANGE LIVES!" as if it's something important, like X factor or Gladiators. Well, if the contestant wins this round, and the next, and the next after that, then they get an awful job cooking food all day for hard to please diners. Otherwise, they get to enjoy their 15 mins & it's back to the day job. Unless Gregg intends to disembowel the losers and serves their guts up to Torode on a bed of wasabi.

Tonight we've got -

Mark - big eared, big nosed, Ricky Sbragia/prop forward type. Ex Forces. Can probably catch his own food before he cooks it, expect a main course of wild elk or somesuch.

Rachel - pretty blonde, scary pale blue killer eyes, posh Dublin 4 West Brit accent. Housewife, wants to open a deli, husband on €150,000 a year I'd say, no less.

Anna - Nice plain Northern lass, seems a bit dull, but goes raspberry red in the kitchen when under pressure. Her voice stays steady and dull at all times.

First up is 'stamina day.' They've got to go to a posh London hotel to cook breakfast. 100 daft sods with money than sense have turned up. Who eats breakfast in a posh restaurant with la-di-da waiters and that? Revolution, backs, wall, etc. And the food is more Little Chef than haute cuisine. You can have eggs, lots of eggs - poached, scrambled or in an omelette. Then there's the bacon, sausage and I think I spot a pot full of simmering baked beans, presumably out of a tin. I wonder how much they charge? I'd bet there's not enough notes to wipe your arse from a fifty.

The omelette is the only fancy part, because it has little crunchy bits in it, onion or peppers or somesuch. Rachel is on omelette duty but she screws up the first one, it flops all over the plate like well trodden dog's mess. She pronounces herself "confused" by omelettes, probably not the best idea when you're on national TV auditioning for a catering role. But her second omelette is nice and crispy. The mumbling Italian chef in charge gives her a grudging thumbs up.

Anna is in charge of poached eggs. She screws up her first lot, I don't know how, how many ways can you screw up poached eggs?

Mark is in charge of scrambled eggs. He doesn't screw up. I suppose if they had a fourth contestant he'd be in charge of minding the toaster.

Then the contestants are flipped and tossed into a black cab and it's off to Kensington for the day shift. At another, virtually identical posh restaurant the contestants have to design and prepare their own main courses for more eager paying punters. "THIS IS SERIOUS!" bawls a grinning Gregg. Gordon Brown, Barack Obamas, Shimon Peres, The Talibans, are you watching? They're going to COOK! FOOD!

So, Rachel chooses big ole prawns with their shells and tails left on, sitting on a bed of couscous, with chorizo. I bloody hate having to shell my own prawns. Anna chooses sea bass and new potatoes. Mark has steak and spud rosti, with some foul looking green paintlike sauce pished all over the rim of the plate.

Torode and Gregg keep hovering about, sticking their grinning mushes through gaps in shelving like a pair of culinary peeping Toms. I would have been tempted to 'accidently' tip a pan of hot oil over the pair.

Mark is perfect at first but as the orders keep coming he cooks a steak for too long on one side. The chef informs him of the complaint and he goes puce, swears loudly and looks like he's going to cry. But he pulls his s-h-one-t together after that.

Anna keeps slightly burning the sea bass and the chef makes her throw it in the bin. Oh the humanity! It was only slightly singed, surely Gregg could have eaten it. I wish me & Stenchbreath were there, we'd have fished it out the bins.

Rachel's dish goes down a treat. She wins this round, despite omelette confusion early doors.

Back to Masterchef HQ for a two course meal. I may have missed some of this bit due the multifariousness of ingredients involved.

Anna - Mutton, spuds, carrots & beans. Then Yorkshire puddings stuffed with bananas, with a cinnamon and toffee cream. I must admit that both of Anna's courses looked delicious. They got the thumbs up from Gregg but Torode said the pudding was 'unrefined' and too sweet.

Mark - Wild mushroom and truffle soup, with giant croutons. The giant croutons seemed to be ridiculous loaf-sized lumps of fried bread that didn't fit in the little soup bowls. For mains he did salmon on a bed of spuds with a load of lonely asparagus spears stuck on the side of the plate. The asparagus didn't go down well, out of place and had 'too much iron' according to Torode. The Torode/anemia rumours untrue, then. Gregg thought the soup insipid.

Rachel - Poached lamb & boulangere(?) spuds, then a macadamia and chocolate cake with a raspberry couli (ie sauce) squirted all over the plate like something from Hammer Horror. It all went down a treat, apart from the raspberry mess which the judges found 'overpowering.'

And thus to the rousing strains of 'Tonight, Tonight' by Smashing Pumpkins Rachel was declared the victor. For her, 'the dream continues.' For the vanquished 'the dream is over.'

No comments: