In this programme, the nine remaining amateur cooks had their skills tested in the MasterChef kitchen, with two cooking challenges that showcases their creativity – but also shows the contestants’ competitive edge.
In Part 1 our Judges revealed their favourite childhood dishes and the contestants used that for inspiration to create their own dish. The contestant who excelled became the gatekeeper in Part 2 – the Pork Challenge where he selected cuts of pork for all the remaining competitors to cook. Tested to the max in each task, the contestants had to prove they were up to the challenge if they wanted to make it to the next round. The pressure was on, as another elimination loomed.
THE TASK: Our MasterChef judges revealed their favourite childhood meals to contestants in the MasterChef studio. Consisting of a Main Course and Dessert, the meals are simple and are reflective of their childhood memories. Dylan’s childhood meal is Chicken Noodle Soup and pancakes with Lemon and Sugar. Nick’s childhood meal is Fish Fingers, Homemade Chips and Spaghetti Hoops and Rice Pudding with Mashed Banana and Strawberry Jam. The contestants were instructed to take inspiration from the ingredients and the dishes and create their own MasterChef dish. They had to choose one Judges’ Childhood Meal but they could choose to be inspired by one dish or both dishes. With a pantry of ingredients also inspired by the Judges meals, the contestants had just 10 minutes to choose what they wanted to cook with an hour and a half to create their dish and bring the judges back to those old nostalgic days.
Nicha: Nicha followed Dylan’s pancake childhood meal. She said she overcomplicated things on Emirates and wanted to keep things straightforward this time. Dylan was worried that it sounded easy, and perhaps too easy. However, she did a great dish which Dylan said “If that’s simple… 10 out of 10”. MENU: Pancake with strawberry mascarpone and citrus syrup.
Brian: Brian went down Nick’s ‘Fish & Chip’ route. Nick and Dylan felt his dish was quite adventurous and hoped that he would break away from the other guys and stand out with the amount of work he was undertaking. Nick thought his hake with potato cake, polenta chips and fish ravioli was a great take on his childhood memory. Dylan said Brian’s dish was the one he was most looking forward to, thought there was a real complexity to it and that he did a fantastic job. MENU: Hake with herb crumb, potato cake, polenta chips, lemon hake ravioli and tomato basil zesty salsa.
Conn: Conn also went the pancake route and was trying to remember a childhood dish of his own – Crepe Suzette. However his dish failed terribly – Dylan described it as ‘My childhood nightmare”. MENU: Crepe Suzette with strawberries and citrus cream.
Jacinta: Jacinta tried to combine both of Dylan’s childhood dishes, which Dylan told her would take some skill. However at judging, Jacinta disappointed. Dylan felt her vision wasn’t clear, there was no finesse and thought it was like something he would see at a carvery. Nick felt she got confused. MENU: Savoury chicken pancake
Terry: Terry did Fish and Chips and kept the dish simple. Nick really liked it, thought it was fresh, light ‘It’s a winner’. Dylan felt that at this stage of the competition he should be pushing himself more, especially with his competence. Dylan also felt that he needed to think on his feet, especially if there is not something in the Pantry he wanted. “Everyone else who is cooking here today is looking to stand out from the pack and I don’t think yours did.” MENU: Fish and chips with lemon crème fraiche and tomato ketchup.
Andy: Andy did a take on Dylan’s Chicken Noodle Soup, as well as incorporating the pancake batter to make a Yorkshire pudding. Nick really liked how he used the inspiration correctly and the use of his ingredients was really good. MENU: Chicken noodle soup with Yorkshire pudding and seared foie gras.
Sinead: Sinead did Fish, Pasta and Chips in her twist on Nick’s dish. Dylan’s biggest complaint was ‘there wasn’t more of certain things’, needed more sauce, more olive oil on pasta etc., but thought she accomplished what she set out to achieve. MENU: Hake and tomato pasta with sweet potato chips and semi sundried tomatoes.
Fidelma: Did a pancake dish which Dylan and Nick loved. Nick thought it was excellent. He thought it was a really nice dessert. MENU: Pancake mille feuille
Tamarin: Tamarin’s pancake dish was let down by her ice-cream not setting in time. However, the guys liked the rest of her dish which Nick said was well thought out. Dylan thought all the flavours were there, but would have loved the ice-cream. MENU: Lemon ice cream, strawberry compote, basil compote and spun sugar.
After their attempts to put their stamp on the Judges’ Childhood Meals in Part 1, the contestants were back in the MasterChef Kitchen the following day for Part 2 and their second challenge. The Judges revealed that the person who excelled in the task on the childhood memory dish and created the best dish of the day was Brian. The rest of the contestants had to leave the Kitchen and wait in the Chill-out area, whilst the winner of yesterday’s task Brian became the Gatekeeper of the task – The Pork Challenge. With 13 cuts of the finest Irish pork laid out in front of him, he was given tags with his name and those of his 8 competitors. He had to choose which cut of meat he wanted for himself and then select a cut for each other contestant. With cuts varying from the straightforward to the most difficult available, competitive streaks were revealed by the selections made – who was perceived as the biggest threat, and who was perceived as the weakest. Would he use any of the more straightforward cuts, or would he give everyone one of the more challenging cuts?
The cuts divided out are:
Brian – T-Bone
Nicha – Tail
Andy – Trotter
Terry – Jowl
Sinead – Cheeks
Fidelma – Hock
Tamarin – Collar
Conn – Spare Ribs
Jacinta – Belly
What he left were the easier cuts of: Rack, Chump, Porchetta and Fillet.
The contestants were called back to the kitchen where judges revealed the task – and what their MasterChef competitor chose to challenge them with. They were given 3 hours to cook a dish with their pork cut and given a rolling pantry, which they could choose ingredients from at any time during the task. With some of the cooking times on cuts taking contestants right to the wire, their skills and creativity were tested right up to the last minute.
Brian: Brian joked as he started cooking that everyone ‘was starting to warm to me again a little’, following his dishing out of the pork cuts. The guys were on the fence with his dish, and hoped they hadn’t rattled him. At tastings they also felt this. Dylan thought that it showed a lot of creativity but felt the dish was a bit ‘beyond him’. Nick thought he could do more with presentation and that he needed to rein himself in a bit and think about 4/5 components and let everything flow. PORK DISH: Seared T-Bone of pork with apple cider sauce, pickled mushroom, and salted fennel on a toast with sweet potato puree.
Tamarin: Tamarin got the Collar of Pork, which she had never cooked before. She did it in two ways, as a slow-roasted piece and mincing the rest and putting it in a pork pie with a toffee apple and cubed butternut squash. Dylan thought it sounded ‘really interesting’ and Nick was also impressed. However, they worried that with Tamarin, her ideas are good, but it’s her execution. Her dish was great though and Dylan called it “a really sexy plate of food!” Nick told her “You’re Back!” PORK DISH: Roast collar of pork with pears, onions and sage, a pork and leek pie served with butternut and cider gravy and a toffee apple.
Conn: Conn got Spare Ribs, considered one of the easier cuts of meat. However, he was worried that he would have to get them ‘spot on’ as they are one of the best cuts. Dylan and Nick chatted about his meat cut and Dylan expresses concern that if Conn served him just ‘ribs’, Conn would be in real trouble. At tasting, Dylan didn’t like the dish, and complained that Conn had served 2 portions of food on the plate. He found it too sweet and ‘didn’t like it’. PORK DISH: Honey spiced spare ribs with potato fondant and butternut squash puree, lemon asparagus and carrots.
Terry: Terry received the jowls, which he had never worked with before either. Nick felt it would be a fantastic plate of food, but worried whether it would taste good. At tasting, Nick felt he needed to think more about seasoning, the dish was bland. Dylan thought his meat was still too fatty. Terry had hoped that more of the fat would render away, which did not happen. PORK DISH: Braised pork jowl with black pudding, potato cake, glazed carrots, balsamic apples and a cider shallot sauce.
Nicha: Nicha received the tail from Brian, but revealed to Nick and Dylan that she has cooked with it before, but in home-cooking making broths from it. She says she ‘loves Brian so much’ for giving it to her. Afterwards they discussed how it being the first flag that Brian set in and it completely backfired on him. Dylan – “He threw her a curveball and she’s taken it on the chin”. At tasting, her apple jelly had melted. Dylan loved the pork flavour, but didn’t like how she used the skin as a casing. PORK DISH: Pork Tail croquette with cannellini bean puree, broad bean salad and apple jelly.
Andy: Andy got the Pork Trotter and was not fazed at all. Said he wanted to concentrate this time on his plate and work on presentation. At tastings, Dylan told him “I would love nothing more than to do a collection and send you to Art Class” at his atrocious presentation, but said “what you did today with Pigs Trotter, for me it’s got loads of heart and is an absolute winner!” PORK DISH: Rillettes of pork with a mustard and butter sauce, pomme puree, buttered cabbage and star anise infused carrot puree.
Fidelma: Fidelma tried to make a terrine with her pork hock, and was nervous about getting it set in time. She also experimented by setting a poached quail egg in the middle, which Dylan said was ‘ambitious’. At tastings, her ham hock works perfectly and Dylan felt that she pulled it off. PORK DISH: Ham hock terrine
Jacinta: Jacinta got the Belly of Pork and decided to do it three different ways. At tastings they felt that she overcomplicated her life and she could have done a lot less and achieved a lot more. However Dylan added that she had performed better than in her Childhood meal task and was improving. PORK DISH: Crispy pork belly with caramelised black pudding
Sinead: Got the cheeks which she hadn’t cooked before and decided to poach them in milk. At tasting, Dylan highlights what he had flagged with her in her childhood dish – using more sauce – and criticised her about it again and said this was her weakest dish to date. PORK DISH: Braised pork cheek with lentils and black pudding in a wine reduction, Parsnip crisp and parsnip puree.
ELIMINATION: At the end, it is Conn who fails to impress on the day and is asked to leave the MasterChef Kitchen, leaving 8 contestants entering Episode 7.