Last week, Joe and Nick hung up their aprons in a surprise double elimination, after failing to impress in the kitchen with their Emirates menus, leaving just ten hopefuls vying for the MasterChef Ireland title.
In last night's programme, the ten final MasterChef contestants were put into some of the coolest restaurants in Dublin to really test their skills, cooking for real diners in real kitchens, under the watchful eye of each restaurant’s Head Chef.
The remaining 10 MasterChef contestants were tasked with undertaking a service in one of five top Dublin restaurants; Locks Brasserie, Coppinger Row, 777 (pronounced Triple 7), San Lorenzo’s and Isabels. With 2 contestants in each restaurant, each taking a lunch or dinner service, they were told they would be guided by the head chefs in each and judged on their performance during the day. These chefs had no idea what the contestants have cooked to date.
In each restaurant were:
Head Chef: Rory Carville:
Nicha (lunch) and Terry (dinner)
Head Chef: Temple Garner
Conn (lunch) and Andy (dinner)
Head Chef: Niall O’Sullivan
Tamarin (lunch) and Fidelma (dinner)
777 (Triple 7):
Head Chef: Eamon Connors
Simon (lunch) and Jacinta (dinner)
Head Chef: Edward Daly
Sinéad (lunch) and Brian (dinner)
The five Head Chefs then travelled to MasterChef HQ the next morning, where they discuss with Nick and Dylan how the ten contestants performed and choose their best from the day.
Rory in Lock’s felt both Nicha and Terry were very consistent. Everything went ‘like clockwork’ with Nicha, he said. She was hands on, blended in well with team, tasting all the time palate was good. However, he felt she could pick up the pace a little more.
Terry came across very well and was consistent throughout his service. Rory thought he was a bit shy and nervous, but felt if he could overcome that he would do great. Though he struggled to choose between them, Rory did pick Nicha as his best performer on the day.
Ed in Coppinger Row thought Sinead coped very well during her restaurant service. He found her composed and very well organised. However, he felt she was a bit ‘too positive’ at times and not aware of what was going on around her.
Brian was also very composed, cooked every element of his dish from start to finish and every single plating was perfect. Ed thought that his flair was very good, but he was a bit slower. In spite of this he picks Brian as his best performer on the day.
777 (Triple 7):
Eamonn in 777 (Triple 7) found both his contestants very strong. Simon was very busy for lunch service, but Eamonn felt he did well and his elements were very refined. However, he felt that his nerves got to him a little, and he should have been a bit more prepared with prep.
Eamonn thought Jacinta did very well - “excellent actually” and had definitely ‘moved forward’. He did feel that Jacinta did need to focus slightly more on the task at hand, but still chose her as his favourite from the day.
Temple in San Lorenzo’s felt that Andy’s age was a real advantage in this competition. “He uses what he knows and applies himself to this task”.
Temple enjoyed working with Conn but felt he needed to control his nerves a bit more. However, he also thought Conn was very aware of his surroundings. Temple felt there was very little in it and both had excellent palates. Ultimately, he chooses Conn as his strongest performer of the day.
Niall in Isabel’s thought Tamarin did a great job with her dish and integrated well with staff. However, he did feel she lost focus a bit towards the end, and he had to get her to replate some of her dishes.
Fidelma had a busy starter service and Niall found her the more nervous of the two. However, she didn’t let this affect her food and he said she got ‘stronger and stronger’ as she went on through service. Niall picks Fidelma as his best performer of the day.
The five best performers - Nicha, Brian, Conn, Fidelma and Jacinta- are revealed in front of all the contestants and these are given immunity and get to watch the 5 losing contestants - Terry, Sinead, Tamarin, Andy and Simon - face a pressure test in studio and fight to save their apron.
The five losing contestants undertake the ultimate culinary challenge – trying to make a Raspberry Soufflé. The contestants get the ingredients to make one soufflé – with three ‘chances’, but no recipe. Trying to find the right consistencies with all the soufflé elements, from the perfect Crème Patisserie to the right raspberry coulis, the pressure is really on. If they mess up their first attempt, they have the option to try again, as 2 more trays of ingredients are provided with all the ingredients for the perfect soufflé.
Once they have produced a soufflé they are happy with they can present it at any time. However, time is against them as they only have 1 hour to serve Nick and Dylan their best soufflé… do they serve their first effort, do they try and better their first attempt but risk making an error, or do they try and perfect it to the very end and use all three chances? With timing, precision and patience to the fore, the challenge tests all the contestants and only five will survive to fight another day.
Simon: Simon struggled with the task. Even though he had three chances to make the perfect soufflé, Simon just used his first attempt and served it up to the judges in 15 minutes when he had lots of time left to attempt another. He also didn’t place it on its presentation board and had no raspberry garnish, which Judges were critical of.
Andy: The judges didn’t like Andy’s soufflé. Thought there was too much Crème Pat mix in it. Dylan had thought Andy, who loves his classic dishes, would have excelled at this task and didn’t know what he was doing. At one stage, Andy started cooking soufflé with raspberry on top in the oven.
Terry: Terry made best soufflé of the day. It took him twice as long as everyone else and he was last to finish. Dylan thought this was a smart move as he really thought about the task and took his time and ‘he played his cards right’.
Tamarin: Tamarin had never made a soufflé before the Pressure Test. Nick thought it was ‘a brave attempt’ as she had not cooked one before, while Dylan could not understand why ‘she ran up with the first thing she could muster’.
Sinéad: Sinéad also had never made a soufflé before. Nick felt it wasn’t a bad attempt, it had colour and flavour. They both said it was the ‘second best’ of the day behind Terry’s.
Dylan and Nick put through Terry, Sinéad and Andy first. Dylan tells Tamarin that she was ‘pipped at the post’ by Fidelma in the restaurant service, but with today’s task that ‘really a MasterChef contestant should know how to make a souffle’.
However Dylan says that they still remember that brilliant audition dish that she produced and want to see ‘that flash of brilliance’ again, putting her through. Nick tells Simon that his soufflé was ‘appalling’ and unfortunately that both he and Dylan feel Simon is lacking composure and attention to detail and cannot go any further in the competition.
Simon says he really enjoyed the whole MasterChef experience and is still going to follow his food dreams. He agreed with Nick and Dylan’s decision, saying “I kind of deserved it!”