Episode 3 turned up the heat as the final 16 MasterChef Ireland contestants tried to impress the palates of the MasterChef judges. In a unique twist on the ‘You On A Plate’ personality cooking challenge, the Contestants think their challenge is to create a dish which portrays their personality and must represent themselves and their passion for cooking on a plate. They spent 10 minutes choosing their ingredients from the MasterChef Pantry in preparation for cooking their dish.
However, Nick and Dylan put the pressure on when they informed the contestants that they are no longer cooking their Personality on a Plate, but in fact will be cooking with the ingredients of the person next to them.
The contestants were told to swop places with the person beside them and create a stunning dish using only the ingredients in the box belonging to the other contestant. While some were shell-shocked by the twist this early in the competition, they had to focus on the task ahead as at the end of the task 4 contestants were getting eliminated from the Final 16, leaving just 12 contestants continuing in their battle to become MasterChef Ireland 2012.
With some contestants cooking with the main ingredient for the very first time, the pressure was really on. Others were completely out of their comfort zone cooking with ingredients they were not used to. Some struggled more than others and the tears flowed as they faced the threat of losing their apron.
Dishes from Final 16:
Sinead Considine: Sinead was put out of her comfort zone when she swapped her box with Nicha Maguire’s box of Thai ingredients. She plated up a dish of Chicken with sweet chilli sauce and Thai salad of coriander, chili, tomato, cucumber & lime and Basmati rice. Dylan felt it was a tough box to get and that he wouldn’t order or pay for the dish she presented.
Brian Topping: Brian swapped his box with Dee Casey. He cooked Veloute soup with scallop, langoustine, pea and caramelised shallot. Dylan thought it was light and interesting but would have liked more depth and flavour. However he felt Brian had made a really good effort.
Conn Mac Cormaic: Conn swapped his exotic ingredients which he hoped to make a Thai soup with Caitriona Nic Philibin, and was left with a box of dessert ingredients instead. He made Lemon Soufflè, sable biscuits with caramelised pears. Conn felt desserts were the weakest part of his cooking and he struggled with his timing for his soufflé, putting it in the oven too early and it collapsing as a result. Dylan thought dessert wasn’t Conn’s strong point. Nick felt the pressure got to him and that he shouldn’t have attempted a soufflé if he couldn’t cook it or get the timing right.
Tamarin Blackmur: Tamarin swapped her ingredients with Terry Lyons and cooked ‘Tuna with wasabi, crème fraiche and pickled salad’. She received mixed reviews from the Judges, with Dylan stating he had expected more from her given the first audition dish she produced. He found the dish a bit bland. Nick says seared tuna is one of his favourite foods, but Tamarin’s dish was too dry and needed more flavour. Tamarin revealed that it was actually the first time she had cooked tuna.
Terry Lyons: Terry swapped his box of ingredients with Tamarin Blackmur and ended up cooking Rack of lamb with a selection of hummus dips and a red wine reduction. Nick thought it was a nice simple dish, while Dylan thought he struggled with the box of ingredients. Dylan felt that it wasn’t a whole dish and that his sauce wasn’t reduced enough and was like ‘dishwater’.
Andy Spencer: Andy swapped his ingredients with Dani Quinlan and cooked Seafood tagliatelle with Dublin bay prawn bisque. Though Andy was confident and happy with his own dish, Dylan criticized his bisque and said he had used the wrong type of sieve and as a result the bisque was “grainy” and “looked like sick”. Nick felt that it had the potential to be good but it lacked refinement. Dylan felt Andy’s dish was one of the biggest let downs of the day as he had said he had been expecting so much more from him.
Fidelma Boyce: Fidelma swapped her dessert box of ingredients with Simon Morris. She served Hake and mussels with tomato, red pepper, fennel sauce, served with cubed potatoes. Nick thought the presentation was lovely and invited him in to eat. Dylan also loved the dish and said he “could taste every note” and she had impressed him.
Cathy Gerrard: Cathy swapped her box of ingredients with Nick McClune and cooked Caribbean spiced chicken with citrus mango salsa and a rum caramel mango drizzle and flat bread. Nick felt she had a great palate but questioned if she had the skills of a great chef. Dylan felt a bit sorry for her with the box of ingredients that she was given and she did her best with what she had. However, once again Cathy’s presentation skills let her down.
Dani Quinlan: Dani swapped her box of fish ingredients with Andy Spencer and cooked Chauteabriand with colcannon, fat chips, pancetta and cabbage with a beef stock reduction. However she completely overcooked the meat. Nick felt that while she worked hard, she had “destroyed” the beef and he was disappointed given the expensive ingredients she had to work with. Dylan felt her errors were down to lack of experience and a lack of finesse and criticised her judgement at putting so much food on the plate.
Caitriona Nic Philibin: Caitriona swapped her box of ingredients with Conn Mac Cormaic and made a Thai soup with prawns. Dylan thought the dish was full of flavour, but felt that she didn’t push herself on the day – it was a simple bowl of soup.
Dee Casey: Dee swapped her ingredients with Brian Topping and cooked Pan seared rib-eye steak with bubble and squeak cake in a mushroom crème fraiche sauce with chive. Dee felt she had pushed herself to the limit in this challenge. Nick thought she did a good job.
Jacinta Caraher: Jacinta swapped her ingredients for her ‘Passionate Tart’ with Joe Somers and so cooked Steak and celeriac mash with red wine onions. Dylan thought the dish was more homecooking than MasterChef.
Joe Somers: Joe was not happy about swapping his box with Jacinta Caraher, but relatively confident with his new ingredients also. He made the Judges Orange and chocolate tart with white chocolate custard, raspberry coulis and passion fruit coulis. Nick thought the dessert would be lighter, but thought Joe had a real passion for food. However, he felt the dish presentation was like an “abstract painting”, leaving Joe confused if this was a good thing or a bad thing!
Nick McClune: Nick swapped with Cathy Gerrard and presented a dish of Pan roasted Moroccan spiced quail, carrot + fennel citrus salad, Red onion + coriander flat bread. Nick had never cooked quail before this challenge. However, he impressed the judges and Nick complimented him on the dish especially as it was his first time cooking with the main ingredient.
Simon Morris: Simon swapped his ingredients with Fidelma Boyce and was faced with cooking a dessert – something he described as his ‘nightmare box’. He presented a dish of Rhubarb crumble with custard to the Judges. However, he struggled during the task attempting to make a custard and tried a number of attempts to get this correct. At presentation of the dish, Nick said that while they wanted to see if contestants can think on their feet, he felt Simon could have done better with the time he had. He felt that the presentation was ugly and “the custard is not a custard”.
Nicha Maguire: Nicha swapped her box of ingredients with Sinead Considine. She cooked Lamb fillets with fennel salad and potato fondant and white balsamic vinegar glaze. Dylan loved how she stayed true to herself with the dish, even though they had flipped the rules and was really impressed with what she produced. Nick thought the dish was delicious and felt she really thought about what she was cooking. Nicha gets applause from all her fellow contestants after her judging.
In the end, the amateur cooks that made it to the next stage in the competition were: Simon, Nicha, Nick, Joe, Jacinta, Tamarin, Terry, Brian, Conn, Andy, Fidelma and Sinead. However, Terry, Simon, Conn and Jacinta were singled out for specific critique on what they need to improve. Simon was warned on his presentation by Dylan; “Neat clean plates – you are in big school now”.
Terry was told by Dylan that they will never try and trick them, but his dishes must join up and stand strong in the future.
Jacinta and Conn were both told it was “time to shape up” and they had kept their aprons by “the skin of their teeth”.
Eliminated in Progamme 3: Caitriona Nic Philibin, Dee Casey, Cathy Gerrard and Dani Quinlan.
Cathy said while she loves cooking, she now thinks competitive cooking was not for her.
Dee felt she achieved what she came to do in the competition. “I will never forget the comments about my audition – they used two words “exquisite” and “outstanding”, and that says it all”.