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MasterChef is back,
searching for the country's best amateur cook.
Go, go, go, go, go!
-You've got a towel on your head.
I have. I'm very hot.
Each week, 14 new contestants battle
for a place in Friday's quarterfinal.
This is a gastronomic triumph.
Only the best will make it through to the final challenges.
Please! Quick, come on, guys.
It looks absolutely stunning.
All different people from all walks of life,
but they have one burning ambition.
Sharpen the knives. It's MasterChef time.
These seven home cooks all think they've got what it takes
to become MasterChef champion.
But at the end of today's heat,
only three will make it through to Friday's quarterfinal.
I'm very much a carnivore,
so I think I was a dinosaur in a past life or something.
So I absolutely love cooking meat.
Strategy today? Cook something pretty simple.
Don't panic and cook something crazy.
Gregg is a Bermondsey boy, like me.
I'm hoping he's not going to be on my side,
because I don't believe in that sort of thing.
Of course I'm hoping he's on my side!
Welcome to a brand-new MasterChef competition.
Try and hold your nerve. Try to enjoy it.
You're here because you love to cook,
and that's all we want you to do.
Through those doors is a market
stocked full of the most fantastic ingredients
from all around the world,
and we'd like you to cook us one plate of food.
It can be sweet, it can be savoury.
Most importantly, we'd like it to be delicious.
Ladies and gentlemen,
may your first test begin.
Today's market ingredients include beef mince,
There's also a range of cheeses, nuts, grains and pulses,
and a selection of fruit and vegetables.
Lots of things to choose.
I've already changed my mind twice.
Off the bat, it's quite a lot
just to try to formulate a dish really quickly,
so it's just a case of trying to be quite concise
and hope it all comes together at the end.
We're looking for raw talent,
and this market challenge is their opportunity to show us
how good they could be.
What they've got to do is formulate a plan very quickly.
They can't grab everything and hope.
It is a little bit daunting, but I'm just trying to stay focused
and just try and do what I usually do every day,
and stick with that.
I've got something in mind that I've done before,
so fingers crossed we're on safe territory.
One great plate of food. One hour and ten minutes.
At the end of this, three of you are going home.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Mum of three daughters Louise works as a fitness instructor.
I grew up in Llanelli, south Wales. I've never left.
All my family are still there as well.
I love, I love John and Gregg.
I'm so excited.
You know, I'd love to give Gregg a little cwtch. That's a cuddle.
I don't suppose I'm allowed. But I'll suppress the energy,
and just stay cool and hold back.
You seem remarkably comfortable.
Erm... Do I? It's the Welsh in me, yeah.
-Are you a Welsh rugby fan?
# And they were singing hymns and arias
# Land of my fathers
# Ard hyd y nos. #
Do you know, I've got goose bumps, Gregg.
You're the only man who's done that for me.
John, take over, son!
I love the fact that Louise is making her own pasta
in the first round of MasterChef.
She's making us tagliatelle with meatballs
and a tomato chilli pepper sauce.
She knows how to feed a family, that's for sure.
Those meatballs are huge.
She's got to make sure those meatballs are cooked
all the way through.
-What is that, mate?
-I need to picture in my head what I'm doing.
Do you cook better than you draw?
You can be the one to tell me that!
24-year-old black belt martial artist James
works in a wine shop in Oxford.
I've been doing judo now for 20 years.
I always train pretty hard in that, so they'd better be nice!
Are you OK up there, James?
Very good up here, thank you very much!
Welcome to MasterChef.
-What are you making, young James?
So I'm doing some cod
with a little bit of a classic French butter sauce,
like a beurre blanc, I'm not too sure if that's how you pronounce it,
a cauliflower puree, some leeks, oh, and a bit of samphire as well.
Hopefully, something glorious comes from it, otherwise...
We'll see, won't we?
For some reason or other,
James has decided that purple cauliflower is a nice accompaniment
to his classic cod, samphire and beurre blanc.
But unfortunately, it will be like the cod has swum
into the purple ocean.
Cook the cod perfectly, James, please.
Guys, 30 minutes have gone, which means you've got 40 minutes left.
Yorkshirewoman Jess has played football,
basketball and hockey for her home county.
I'm really excited to cook for John and Gregg.
And do you know what else I'm really excited about is,
you know the woman with the really attractive voice
that starts talking about the food? "Jess has cooked..."
You know, that bit. I'm really excited.
I do know she's not here today!
Jess is intriguing,
because on her bench she has soy sauce, sesame seeds,
chorizo, butternut squash, duck and blackberries,
alongside some bok choi and some garlic.
I'm either going to be bowled over or bowled out.
I'm making pan-fried duck breast
with a butternut squash and chorizo rosti,
just to add a bit of saltiness. I've also done a blackberry sauce.
Most of my recipes involve bold flavours,
so expect something kind of a little bit unusual, a little bit different.
-I think that's good. That's eclectic.
-What do you do, Jess?
-I'm a dental nurse, actually,
and I'm also a musician as well and songwriter,
so I do a bit of everything. It all involves the mouth, you know.
35-year-old Ashley loves to cook with his seven-year-old daughter.
-Are you a busy man, Ashley?
-I am, yeah.
I run a music department at a cathedral.
We have three cathedral choirs.
We have a sung service every day of the week.
We have the fourth-largest cathedral organ in the country to look after,
so I have to play that.
What are you making?
Recently, my wife and I went on holiday to Venice,
and we had what they call a guazzetto,
you know, this wonderful, Venetian, rich, red wine fish stew.
So I'm sort of doing my take on it.
Big Venetian fish stew?
-That's the plan.
I would like to think I'm reasonably at ease with pressure,
because I have to deal with a lot of it at work.
You know, I've played the organ on the BBC World Service
to millions of people.
But I don't know whether in the context
of actually being in the kitchen,
the pressure will get to me in a different way, so we'll see.
The thought of a lovely, rich, sweet,
spicy stew with lots of fish in it is fantastic.
The sauce has to be voluptuous, and that fish has to be cooked just so.
If he cooks that fish too much, it becomes dry and it falls apart,
and the stew is finished.
You have 25 minutes left.
Just 25 minutes left.
Print engineer Terry is a keen scuba diver,
and has hand-dived for his own scallops.
I grew up in Bermondsey. My mother's a really good cook.
My nan was a fantastic cook,
and for me and my cousin she always did a "gone wrong" cake.
Too many eggs, nice and flat and dense, fantastic taste.
I'm not going to do it here.
Forgive me, I love Bermondsey, where we're from,
but it's not a culinary hotbed of the UK.
-It's pie and mash every day of the week.
-How many pies do you have?
-Only two pies.
Right, I'm going to play the spoons, you get a washboard. Let's go.
-What are you making for us now?
I'm doing a mushroom risotto with blue cheese
and some tempura vegetables.
Why tempura in a risotto?
I just like the difference in texture.
A little bit crunchy,
a bit of a contrast to the mushrooms, blue cheese.
I think it works, but that's down to you.
-Good luck with that, mate.
I've had sushi and tempura, absolutely.
But I've never had a mushroom risotto
with blue cheese and tempura veg.
26-year-old Rachel grew up in Scunthorpe,
and now lives in London, working as a sales consultant,
I'm making for you a courgette and goat's cheese risotto,
with a walnut and mint pesto.
-Why this dish?
-It's...risotto, you know, it's Italian,
that's the kind of food I like to cook.
It's really tasty, and it's quite colourful as well.
Who taught you to cook?
My dad for, sort of, savoury dishes, which is probably what I'm best at.
And my mum does some great desserts, so...
-I think we should have Mum on here.
-Yeah, I know.
My parents have been great, and particularly my mum.
I went over to hers the other weekend and cooked her six dishes
that she had to eat within two days.
Pesto and goat's cheese in a risotto?
I'm wondering if they're all necessary.
I'm hoping the courgette survives within that lovely risotto.
I'd like to see a bite of vegetable, still a bit of crunch,
and I don't want too much goat's cheese because that goat's cheese
will be really powerful.
You've got 15 minutes left, guys.
Just 15 minutes, please.
Furniture designer Fiona cooks at home
for her husband and two daughters.
I'm hoping, sort of like, to stick with, sort of like, something,
sort of like, simple and classic but with a little bit of a twist.
Hopefully, I'll come up with something that comes out
really well at the end and not have them running for the hills!
-How are you, Fiona?
-Where are you from?
I was born in Blackpool, and I now live in the south-west of Scotland.
I've got eight dogs, horses, two giant rabbits.
My daughter collects waifs and strays,
so that's why we have eight dogs.
You've got a menagerie!
-Yeah, just a touch.
-What are you making for us now?
I am doing an oven-roasted cod loin with pancetta, a fennel sauce,
a crispy herb quail's egg,
with leeks and potato.
Have you got the pancetta around the fish?
It's just underneath the fish,
to give it flavour when it cooks in the oven.
Fiona, it sounds like you've got a lot to do.
-Yeah, I have.
Fennel and cod could work together. Fennel, cod, leeks, potatoes,
quail's egg, crispy herbs, I'm not quite sure.
I'm pleased with them. Yay!
It's all going off, that's for sure.
There's lots of ambition, lots of good smells,
lots of great promise.
It's now about the delivery.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have just four minutes.
All that work, think about your presentation, please.
It's a thick bit of cod.
Let's just hope that's cooked all the way through.
You have 60 seconds, and that's all you have.
Jess, you've got to hurry up.
Quick, quick, quick, quick, quick!
That's it, time's up!
-It looks superb, mate.
-It looks really good.
I haven't managed to see yours yet.
No, don't go over, don't do it, don't do that!
It looks amazing.
Yeah, but I don't know how the cod is cooked.
Fiona, bring your plate up, please.
First up is furniture designer Fiona.
She's made roast cod with a panko and herb coated quail's egg served
with pancetta, leeks, fennel,
potatoes and a fennel sauce.
On here, you've got some great flavours.
Your veloute with celery and fennel running through it
is absolutely delicious, and it's silky smooth, as it should be.
There's no need for a piece of fish skin
with some Parma ham attached to it which you can't eat.
That is about as chewy as a rubber boot.
Fiona, this fennel is too big for the plate,
and you've left a great big lump of inedible stalk.
In saying that, your fish is cooked really well
and it's really nicely seasoned.
You have demonstrated to me that you can do things.
Blind panic and terror.
I couldn't believe I left the skin on the fish.
It was a basic error I should probably have picked up on, but...
The big, hulking lump of fennel will probably, sort of like,
follow me to my dying day.
Print engineer Terry has cooked a mushroom and blue cheese risotto
topped with tempura vegetables, chilli,
courgette, red pepper and sage leaves.
I like the texture of your risotto,
and I like the flavour of your tempura.
The problem is, as the tempura's sitting on the risotto,
it's going soggy.
And of course, what you want a tempura to do is be crispy.
Lots of fiery black pepper,
crispy vegetables across the top including very heady sage,
quite bitter and sharp courgettes,
chilli, which of course is ferociously hot.
And the mushrooms have disappeared, because
then you've got salty, blue cheese as well.
-Sometimes you've got to dare, don't you, Terry?
And you've definitely dared there. That's daring, for sure.
The comments weren't great.
I cooked the food that I like to cook.
I just don't think it worked for me this time. I'm gutted.
Dental nurse Jess has made pan-fried duck breast, bok choi,
crispy shallots and a chorizo and butternut squash rosti,
served with a blackberry sauce.
The duck flesh is cooked nicely.
-Love the combination of butternut squash and chorizo.
That's a nice idea.
The thought of having chorizo and blackberries on the same plate with
duck and bok choi, I was a little bit unsure about.
However, somehow or another,
you've made this all come together as a dish.
Look, there could be promise here, Jess.
But you've got to give yourself time to put it on a plate.
It's nerve-racking, isn't it?
Cathedral organist Ashley is serving a Venetian fish stew made with cod
and mussels in a tomato and red pepper sauce,
with battered cod, lemon zest and toasted ciabatta.
The base flavour of your sauce is good,
but the whole thing needs to be cooked longer and slower.
Your tomatoes are still whole, which means that they haven't
actually broken down, and they will become sweet.
And then once that stew is really rich,
you drop your fish in for moments,
because your fish has now become very dry and quite chalky
and a bit too hard.
The piece of fish across the top is nicely cooked,
but of course it won't stay crispy sitting on wet.
We wanted a concerto, and we got a ditty.
It's not a bad ditty, but it's not a concerto.
I thought I'd done a good job,
so I was a little disappointed
that they didn't feel it was more flavoursome.
Sales consultant Rachel has made a green and yellow courgette
and goat's cheese risotto with a mint, walnut and Parmesan pesto.
I so wanted to dislike it,
as you've taken a classic risotto
and a classic pesto and messed them up and mixed them in together.
But it actually tastes nice.
What can I say?
Thank you, thank you, Gregg.
Your textures are good.
Your flavours are good.
My issue here, Rachel, is that I don't know about skill.
Because I've got some grated courgette,
some chopped courgette and a bit of pesto on some cooked rice,
and I don't know much more about you.
What I wanted to show you today was that I can do flavours,
and then I hope I get the chance to show you I can also do techniques.
Fitness instructor Louise has made fresh tagliatelle pasta
with a roast tomato, red pepper, chilli and basil sauce,
topped with meatballs.
You've got massive meatballs there, Louise.
They're like the biggest meatballs I've seen in years.
Works for me.
Completely and utterly works for me.
Your pasta is a great texture, neither too firm nor too soft.
I'd say bang-on.
And even though the meatballs may be sizeable, they're cooked throughout.
Not bad at all.
Louise, I think this has got great heart.
I really like that sauce.
As you take more and more on,
you get the warmth of a little bit of chilli,
you get the sweetness of pepper, you get the sweetness of tomato.
Your meatballs, I'd like them to be a bit smaller.
But you know what? First round of MasterChef, I think it's great.
-Great start, Louise.
Thank you very much.
Oh, my God, it was fantastic.
They loved it.
There was an issue with the size of my balls.
I'll have to remember next time, smaller balls.
But I'm thrilled.
Finally, wine retailer James has cooked pan-roasted cod
on a bed of leeks with a purple cauliflower puree,
samphire and rosemary salt, served with a beurre blanc.
I love your puree. I love the way you cooked your fish.
I think you've got really good flavour in your beurre blanc,
and I love the idea of the rosemary salt.
It's an absolute collision of colours that it looks like you've
turned the fish into a kaleidoscope, but I like the boldness.
I think you've got great promise.
Your fish is cooked absolutely beautifully.
I like the soft leeks underneath.
The smoothness of your puree is really good.
I'm not a big fan of the colour, but as Gregg says,
at this stage of the competition you being bold,
standing out from the crowd, good on you, James.
I think it went better than I possibly thought.
It was edible. Everything came together, just about.
Yeah, OK, I think.
Well, if that's a sign of things to come, bring it on.
Because I tell you what, there's a fair bit of invention out there.
And lots of really good cookery.
I've got a couple of people who are safe, for sure.
Louise's pasta and meatballs was very, very good.
She had a plan and she fulfilled it, and it was tasty.
The lady, as far as I'm concerned
at this early stage of the competition, can cook.
I don't like James's presentation.
However, I think that puree was as smooth as anything.
That piece of cod was cooked absolutely beautifully,
and he dares to be a bit different.
I agree with you on James. I think he's got real promise.
There's one person who I believe is going home, and that's Terry.
Tempura and risotto doesn't sound good, and it doesn't taste good.
Terry, I think, went for a gamble. It didn't pay off.
Unfortunately, you only get one shot.
There's somebody else that I don't think really came up to the mark,
and that was Ashley.
It was a tomato-based,
not-very-well-flavoured soup stew,
with fish in it that was overcooked.
I think you're probably right. Ashley's done his dash.
We've now got a conversation about Rachel, Fiona and Jess.
Two go through, one goes home?
I'm not sure Rachel showed an enormous amount of technique.
Basil, mint, walnuts, Parmesan, goat's cheese, courgettes,
all together on one plate, and you said it was great.
I'm worried that... If she got lucky.
Jess's combination of ingredients was pretty crazy, right out there.
Spanish sausage, chorizo, and butternut squash with duck?
Presentation wasn't great. She was very rushed at the end,
but I enjoyed the flavours.
Fiona cooked a really nice piece of fish,
made a really nice veloute, nice sauce,
but gave us a great big chunk of unnecessary fennel
and gave us a quail's egg that was also,
in my mind, unnecessary.
You've got the skin of the fish which is stuck on ham,
which you can't eat.
Regardless of how well that piece of fish is cooked,
you can't eat the rest of it.
I know I like cooking, I know I like flavours
and I put some odd things together, but I want to learn. I want to grow.
I really want another chance to show them what else I can do.
It's so hard to show enough in one dish.
There were some things I need to improve on,
but it wasn't a complete car crash, so it's just a waiting game now.
I'm just going to have to wait and see.
Who stays and who goes, John?
It's a really tight call.
Well done, everybody.
Three of you are leaving the competition,
but I think you can leave here with your head held high.
Congratulations. You two are definitely staying.
Gentlemen, sorry, you're leaving us.
Thank you very much.
Now we have to make a decision.
The third person leaving us...
Fiona, thank you very much indeed. Thank you.
Oh, it's been fabulous.
I mean, I wouldn't change it for anything.
I mean, I got onto MasterChef.
I got a chance to show what I can do,
even if it didn't necessarily work out the right way
that I wanted it to.
Gutted. It's a shame. I was looking forward to staying in.
I stuck to what I like. I stuck to what I enjoy to eat.
It didn't work out for me.
Inevitably, I'm disappointed, because I've had a great day
and I was just getting into it.
I can go back to being a musician now.
You are all cooking for a quarterfinal place.
And that means at the end of this, one of you will be going home.
You are not just serving your food to John and me today.
You are going to deliver your food to three very important guests:
Two of last year's finalists, Steve and Giovanna,
and last year's MasterChef winner,
the incredible Saliha.
Two courses. Four plates of each course. One hour and 15 minutes.
Ladies and gentlemen, let's cook.
OK, right, focus, focus, focus.
I have a plan.
I've got all of the ingredients
and the notes and the timings in my head,
and I've taken the decision not to take on too much.
Whether that's going to be my downfall, I don't know,
but what I do think is, I'm going to get that food out on time.
I'm making a spiced lamb mincemeat and aubergine dish
with a yoghurt tahini, followed by a lime and coconut cheesecake.
What is it about this lamb dish that you really like?
The flavours, and that it's presented well,
because it's tricky presenting mincemeat.
-Yeah, how do you do that?
Put a lovely colourful things on top of it,
so I've got coriander, tomatoes. It should look attractive.
To make her North African lamb dish look good,
she's putting things on top.
She did that with the risotto, she's trying it again now.
But I tell you what, it's risky.
It is double risky.
This is the messy bit.
It feels awesome to be cooking my own food today.
I have been practising.
Family and friends have eaten these dishes over and over again.
For my main course, I'm cooking Asian-glazed fillet of beef
with crispy shallots, bok choy, and a carrot and ginger puree.
For my dessert, banana sticky toffee pudding with caramelised pecans,
a vanilla whipped cream, and chargrilled banana.
You, once again, have an interesting collection of ingredients.
Yeah. Yeah, I'm doing quite an eclectic menu,
but that's... You see, that's the kind of chef I am.
I do like to cook different types of food
from different areas of the world.
So I just want to demonstrate that I can do different flavours,
different flavour combinations.
How do you chargrill a banana? Does it not fall to mush?
No, it doesn't, actually. It doesn't. It stays quite firm,
but it gives a really nice bitterness
that offsets the sweetness.
So, a glaze for the beef that's got soy sauce, sugar and chilli,
and then we've got a butternut squash that's sweet.
It shouldn't work, but who knows?
I thought that about her duck dish in the last round and it worked.
Dessert, a banana sticky toffee pudding, fantastic.
I'm really excited because I'm cooking from the heart today.
It's a dish my family absolutely love.
I'm concerned about the plating and making it look the same
and making it look nice, but I have got a husband and three children,
so plating up five meals is my norm.
For main, I'm doing butter chicken with a spinach pilaf rice,
onion bhaji, green chutney and raita.
And for my dessert, I'm doing a pineapple fool with a tuile biscuit,
charred pineapple and some mint.
The food of the subcontinent of India is varied
and it's very exciting and you're just about to present it to Saliha,
who is probably one of the best at it I've ever seen.
I know. Why?
Why have I done that?
Well, if I'm going to give it to anybody
and get any sort of feedback,
criticism, why not? That's probably the best one to try it.
Have you timed this?
I haven't timed the both of them together.
I'm not at all concerned about the menu compilation from Louise.
I think it sounds lovely.
What I am concerned about is whether she can actually get it done or not.
There's a lot of work going into that main course. A lot of work.
Big day. This is my food, so I can't muck this one up.
James is going really classic.
He's got a piece of mackerel.
He's serving it with beetroot and horseradish.
What a fantastic combination.
Main course, breast of duck, he's serving it with some kale crisps,
some carrot puree, and he's got some purple carrots,
which he's roasting.
James has got beetroot. It's purple, right?
In the last round, he gave us a purple puree.
What is it with James and purple?
What do you want to demonstrate to those guests?
Good flavour combinations cooked well, presented well.
The food that you would want to kind of pay for in a restaurant,
that kind of... Hopefully. That's what I WANT to demonstrate.
Wow. You are aiming for restaurant-quality food already.
Aiming. Got to aim high.
Excited today for this challenge. It's going to be hard
cos the other contestants are a lot better than I thought
they were going to be, which is really annoying.
It is a really difficult challenge
and I was pretty scared at this point in time
because I had Ping and Dean and Thomasina judging my food
and I know how well they'd done.
So I'm sure that they're feeling really nervous right now.
I'm kind of feeling a bit nervous for them.
Since MasterChef finished, a lot has changed.
I'm doing loads more cooking.
I'm working with Alison and Lorna from the last series.
We are doing lots of food festivals.
It's just been really, really fun.
It's definitely worth it, but it's very tough.
You realise what, sort of, professional chefs do every day
and it's really hard.
I think my advice for doing this round is just to keep focused
on what you're doing, try not to think about who you're feeding.
Just get down there, cook your food, do the best you can,
and hope for the best.
-So lovely to be back.
It's a really tough one today, though, isn't it?
-It is, yeah.
-I am looking forward to it, though.
-I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with.
Oh, my God. There's so many pans.
You've got four minutes, Rachel.
-You look a little bit tense.
I just...I wanted five minutes to serve.
-I think that sounds great.
She's not giving a lot away, though, is she?
Well, I think if it's that simple,
-it has to be spot on, though, doesn't it?
-Yeah, it's good.
Good. You need to get some stuff on the plates now, Rachel.
-Otherwise, you're going to run out of time.
Is that firm enough to quenelle?
No, I mean... No. But when I say quenelle,
I mean present it as nicely as I can.
Keep your nerve, keep your nerve.
You are officially over time now.
Go, go, go, go, go. Stop. Stop.
-Go. You're late.
-OK, I'm going.
-You're late. Go, go, go.
That's the most stressful bowl of mince I've seen for a long time.
Hi. Hi, everyone.
I have cooked for you a spiced lamb and aubergine dish with a tahini
yoghurt, so I hope you enjoy.
I really love the pine nuts and the pistachios in there.
I think it's really nice having that little crunch.
I don't get a lot of tahini in the yoghurt.
I'd like a load more.
I am really feeling the lack of seasoning
and I think if there was more seasoning in it, it would be
a really different dish.
It's a pleasant dish, just lacks a little bit of oompf.
We know that Rachel can deliver good flavour.
This has got really good flavour.
But the issue is still not demonstrating a lot of skill.
And all that Rachel had to do
was make some flatbreads to go on the side.
Just something more than just mince in a bowl.
OK, fresh pistachios.
-When you went into the dining room...
..did they look scary?
-No, they all had big smiles on their faces.
All right. Let's keep those smiles on their faces
-and get the desserts out on time.
I am not a cheesecake fan.
-She might change my mind.
I think they're so nice, especially if the crumbs are all, like,
melty and buttery and crumbly,
and then the cheesecake is really nice and light and airy.
What's got to go on top of those now?
-Lime and nuts and some petals, right?
For dessert, I've cooked a lime and coconut cheesecake,
so I hope you enjoy this.
The cheesecake itself is just so light.
I'm just surprised it hasn't fallen into a puddle.
She's done so well to set it.
I can't taste any coconut,
but I don't really care because it tastes lovely as it is.
The lime zest comes through lovely,
even before you get it to your mouth.
Nice and creamy. It's actually not too heavy.
I could probably just finish this in another two, three mouthfuls.
I'm a complete cheesecake convert.
It is so good.
-I don't get any coconut at all.
What I do get is sweet, crunchy nut base,
and a really fresh zing of lime.
That works for me.
I think the texture of the base is wrong and instead of being crispy,
it's a bit chewy.
I mean, it went as good as it could have done,
but the lamb dish wasn't presented good enough.
I don't think it will be enough.
You look a bit messy.
-You know you've got a bin here, don't you?
-Oh, do I?
-If you want to have a clear down at any stage.
I will do. I will do, definitely.
-So, we've got Asian-glazed beef fillet
with carrots and ginger puree,
butternut squash, crispy shallots and bok choy.
Wow, it's a lot of stuff, isn't it?
I'm a bit worried for her because I know there's not very much time
and there's loads of things that she's got to get done
and I think we all fell into that trap somewhere along the way
of doing too much.
-You have got four minutes, Jess.
Thank you very much. That's good.
-Are you on time?
-Yeah, I think so.
-How is your steak?
-It's looking good.
-Are they all medium rare?
Yeah, one of them is in the oven, just because it was slightly under,
so I've just put it in there just to...
Right. Yeah, that's OK.
-You've got three more things to put on this plate?
I can do it. I can do it.
A lot of work there, Jess.
-Right. I'm ready. Can I take these through?
-And on time.
-Just made it, Jess.
-Thank you very much.
-Smile at them, smile at them.
I shall do. I shall.
-Do you mind if I give you that one?
-Oh, yes. Thank you very much.
-Wow. This looks amazing.
I made for you Asian-glazed beef with toasted sesame seeds,
a little bit of butternut squash just roasted,
some bok choy and some crispy shallots.
You know, the beef's cooked really well.
It's rare, but I like it like that.
Some people may be a little bit put off, but I think that's really nice.
I think the soy glaze on the beef is really nice,
all the extra things on it are delicious,
I'd just like more of them because they really are so tasty.
A little half a teaspoon of that puree is a little disappointing.
It's like a tease. "I'll tease you with your veg."
That's a brilliantly cooked,
really nicely seasoned piece of beef that tastes slightly sweet,
it tastes salty of soy and it's got a hint of sesame.
I want butternut squash with my beef.
There's not enough veg for it to work.
I haven't got any room over there.
-Have a clean down.
-Yeah, I will do.
But you've got 15 minutes for dessert.
OK. That's absolutely fine.
-Banana sticky toffee pudding with caramelised pecans,
chargrilled banana, a toffee sauce and vanilla whipped cream.
Bananas are a little bit tricky to work with, actually,
because it depends on the ripeness of the banana that you get.
If the bananas are quite ripe,
you can end up with just mushy baby food and caramel.
You've got a minute, Jess.
Are you having a good time?
It's...it's quite stressful, but in a fun sort of sadistic way.
Just the cream to go on and then that is it.
-We are done.
-That looks nice. Let's go.
-Thank you very much.
I shall take these. Oh, sorry, John.
You were in the way.
Get out of her way, John. My sort of pud.
-Thank you. OK.
-Thank you very much.
Today, I've made for you a banana sticky toffee pudding
with caramelised pecans, a toffee sauce, chargrilled bananas,
-and a vanilla cream. Hope you enjoy.
-Thank you very much.
It's really soft. The texture is beautiful.
The sauce is amazing. I think the pecans are a real winner.
The only downside of this dish for me is the extra bananas
because they've gone a little bit mushy and not quite as caramelised
as perhaps she would have liked.
Do you know what? If she'd have just put that cake on a plate
with pecans and that lovely sauce, I'd have been a happy bunny.
It's really, really nice.
I don't think I could have picked fault in it.
Her toffee sauce is slightly bitter.
It's not too sugary.
The sponge is really light.
It's moist. That is lovely.
I don't see any reason to try and chargrill a banana,
because it just sort of goes a bit soggy and sloppy.
The pudding, however, with the sauce, is delicious.
That was absolutely crazy.
In a good way.
I loved it. Could have been tidier, though, but...
..I'm pleased, I'm pleased. Yeah.
Come on. Come on.
-Is your chicken being cooked yet?
You've got about 12 minutes.
We've got trouble at the mill here, haven't we?
We have. I was going so well.
-I thought I was, anyway.
-Get your rice cooking, then your sauce on.
To make a butter chicken which is just buttery enough,
to make the spinach pilaf so that water isn't coming out,
and the onion bhajis, like, really crisp and tasty,
and the green chutney flavoursome and balanced
is, actually, really hard.
This is the kind of food I eat at home,
so I know how tricky that can be.
You have got four minutes, Louise.
-I'm going to be late.
-How long, realistically?
Another three minutes on top of the four.
-Because your chicken's not cooked yet?
So what do we need to do now?
Make my sauce, onion bhajis, and finish off my chutneys.
-Oh, my word. Everything.
I said I thought she would struggle
because she hadn't timed the two dishes together.
You can rescue this, but you're just going to have to push really hard.
-Rice is cooked, chicken's now finishing off,
bhajis are in the fryer, right?
-One of them are.
-One will do, right?
Here we go.
We are now officially over time, Louise.
Oh, what a mess.
At least you don't give up, Louise.
-That's what counts.
-I don't give up.
-No way. Absolutely not.
-Right. We can go.
-Yeah. We can go.
-Tell them you've got a flat tyre.
Oh, dear, dear.
If that tastes great, I will forgive her.
Hello. Hi. I'm so sorry I'm late.
-You're here now.
-Nothing goes to plan quite.
Oh, we understand.
I'm afraid there's no raita.
I just couldn't get the time to put it on there.
-There you go.
So today, I cooked you butter chicken with spinach pilaf rice,
a green chutney, onion bhaji.
-ALL: Thank you.
-Thank you. Bye.
I think the chicken's quite nice and soft and tender and the sauce
that it's in is quite yoghurty. It's quite nice.
The chutney's not really a chutney. It's just some herbs,
although they taste very nice
when you mix them in with everything else.
The chicken is lovely and moist. It's a nice, rich sauce.
It tastes really nice.
I love the sort of freshness from the coriander.
My bhaji's really nice.
It's almost like an old-school, English curry house kind of curry.
I think the flavours are good. I love the flavour of the bhaji.
I love the flavours inside the rice
with all the chilli and the cardamom that's there.
If my delivery was late but tasted like that,
I would forgive the driver.
-15 minutes for dessert, yeah?
Pineapple fool and charred pineapple with a coconut tuile.
-Oh, my God. Coconut tuiles.
-I'm feeling, like...
-Nervous for her.
-..the rising panic.
Oh, gosh. That does make me a bit nervous.
Yeah, yeah. It's a brave, brave thing to do.
Louise, you've got three minutes left.
-Where are your tuiles?
-In the oven.
-How long are they going to take?
A couple of minutes.
You are going to give me a heart attack.
-That's it. We are there.
-Got two of those.
Put that smile on your face, Louise. You did it. Come on.
-Off you go.
-Go, go. Go, go, go.
Here I come.
There you go.
And so, for dessert,
I have made you a pineapple fool
with charred pineapple and a coconut tuile.
-Hope you enjoy. Thank you.
-Thank you, Louise.
SHE EXHALES LOUDLY
I don't know. That was just...
I felt everything was going fine. Everything was going to plan.
It was all going great. And then, just... I don't know,
the last 20 minutes was just absolute chaos.
I'm feeling a little bit deflated.
-The flavour's absolutely lovely.
There is no way on earth
I would have even dreamed of making a tuile biscuit.
That takes a bit of guts.
I really like the tuile.
You get a good hit of coconut.
The fool has a slightly grainy texture,
but I have to say that the roasted pineapple was nicely caramelised,
it was quite yummy.
It's creamy and smooth
and it's got that beautiful tropical sweet pineapple.
It's a tropical delight.
The whole thing is really messy.
She could have spent a little bit more time making it really lovely.
-13 minutes on your first course, James.
So, last off, we've got a mackerel, beetroot and goat's curd.
Classic combination, that, isn't it?
That's a dish that can be done in so many different ways.
I love mackerel. Love beetroot.
Everything there goes really well.
OK. Young man, are you going to be on time?
I think so, yeah. I just need to plate up the starter.
This is the beetroot.
I'm liking this, James.
-Just a little bit of goat's curd, yeah.
You've got a minute, James. You are right up to the wire.
-Nice dish. Done?
Take it away. Good lad.
I've cooked, for my starter, pan-fried mackerel with a little
beetroot and horseradish puree,
some goat's curd, dill oil, pickled apples,
and some little fresh dill on top, so I hope you enjoy.
-Thanks very much, James.
The mackerel's beautifully cooked
and the skin is, like, salty and crispy.
The beetroot's really earthy.
For me, this is the best thing I've eaten all day.
I totally agree.
At this stage of the competition,
to make stuff like this is really accomplished, I think.
-I think that apple is absolutely inspired.
It takes it away from that just standard combination and it just
gives it another little twist and for me,
that is enough to make that really stand out.
The fish is cooked brilliantly.
Really, really nice. Really nice.
For me, as an amateur home-cook producing food like that
in this round, I'm very impressed.
-Any problems with the jus?
Yeah, maybe not quite reduced down enough.
Just trying to cook off the red wine flavour, so it's not too alcoholic.
You've got just over five minutes. Is that jus going to turn out OK?
It will do, yeah.
I hope so.
-I mean, again, it's very classic, isn't it?
-Yeah, definitely so.
If that duck is cooked perfectly,
then the battle is half-won, I think.
-Don't lose it, now. Keep it together.
You're doing really well.
There we go.
You have two minutes, my friend. Two minutes.
-What is that?
-This is a little sage salt dust thing.
Good-looking dish, James.
-That is fantastic.
-Take it away.
Good lad. Look at that.
Thank you very much.
Oh, thank you.
-Look at this.
-Thanks very much.
So, for main course, I've done pan-fried duck breast
with a carrot puree,
some kale crisps, some little pickled blackcurrants,
some toasted hazelnuts,
and then a little kind of sage-duck salt thing on the side,
with a red wine and apple caramel jus.
-Hopefully, you enjoy it.
-Thanks very much, James.
The duck's really nice and pink and soft
and the sage dust is really nice,
though I'm usually quite sceptical of dusts.
I just thought that the whole thing
worked really, really well together.
I was worried that the kale crisps would be too dry,
but they actually just melt, don't they? They are so fine.
He's knocked it out of the park, as far as I'm concerned.
Really, really good.
His duck skin could be a little bit crispier.
His sauce could be a little bit thicker.
But on the whole, what a great dish for this round.
Look at the skill on show. Look at the presentation.
And he is only going to get better.
I think we've both eaten well.
I think our guests have eaten well.
And our decision now is who stays and who goes.
Listen, James looks like he may have the makings
of a very, very good cook indeed.
He said, "I want to cook restaurant-standard food."
Well, he wasn't far away.
For an amateur out of a home kitchen,
that is quite extraordinary,
what James did today.
The other one who's really impressed me today is Jess.
I get nervous of people that mess about with food cultures,
but Jess can do it.
That beef with the sesame, bok choy, absolutely lovely.
Sticky toffee pudding from Jess, got to see more of Jess.
Got to eat more of her food.
That means we've now got a conversation
about Rachel and Louise.
HE SUCKS TEETH
Louise gave herself way to much to do today in the time frame she had.
She wants to prove that she knows lots and lots and lots
and I think that ambition is great.
But if you can't deliver, you can't deliver.
Louise was my pick of the cooks from the first round,
making her own pasta. The second round, she is going Indian.
When I tasted those dishes, I loved her chicken and I loved that fool.
In the previous round,
Rachel cooked for us a risotto with some pesto and I said to her,
"I want to see some more skill."
I've seen in this round flavours, and bags of it,
I'm still to see the skill.
Listen, she made a cheesecake.
She made a kind of aubergine, North African lamb ensemble.
It wasn't particularly ambitious, but it tasted good.
If I get through, which is a long shot, work on timing is crucial.
Once you've got that little taste for it, you just...
..you don't want to let it go.
You just kind of want to keep coming back.
That round is what MasterChef is all about.
What you four have done is made our decision really difficult.
The contestant leaving us...
Oh, my God.
-Sorry, Rachel. It was very close.
I did not deliver enough today and everyone else, I think,
was far more ambitious.
I'm just sad to be leaving so soon.
..but, you know, it's been such a great experience.
Well done, you three. You are MasterChef quarterfinalists.
I don't know if I can talk.
I have the biggest lump in my throat at the moment, but...
I really need to nail my timing.
I've got to get that right next time
because I know there's no other chance.
-Wow. Amazing. Really, really good.
It's a great feeling. That's a really good feeling.
Quarterfinalist has an amazing ring to it. I cannot wait.
I'm so thrilled, so thrilled. Can't believe it, actually.
On Thursday night,
seven more home cooks battle for a place in the quarterfinal.
I think I probably need to hurry up and actually pick something now.
It's going to be a bit down to the wire with the rice.
Come on! Let's go. Come on!
You know, you'd almost queue up for this.
It's probably very good for your digestion.
Out of the thousands who applied, 56 amateur cooks have made it through to compete over four weeks of heats, ready to produce some of the most inspiring exceptional and unusual food ever seen on the series.
In this first episode, the first seven hopefuls need to pull out all the stops to prove to judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace that they have the potential to rise above the rest to become MasterChef 2018 Champion.
This year sees the return of the MasterChef Market, stocked full of the best-quality produce from across the world, including meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, pulses, grains and dairy. The challenge is to invent and then cook one dish using anything from the market. This time the featured ingredients include beef mince, duck breasts, pancetta, cod and mussels. The contestants have an hour and ten minutes to dazzle the judges and prove they are good enough to stay in the competition. After tasting all seven dishes, John and Gregg decide which four cooks are good enough to stay, while three are sent straight home.
The four remaining cooks now have one more challenge standing between them and a quarter-final place. They must cook two courses that will excite not just John and Gregg but also some very special guests. Some of MasterChef's most inspiring winners and finalists return to judge the food of this year's new contenders to the throne. In tonight's heat, the contestants must attempt to impress MasterChef 2017 finalists Steve Kielty and Giovanna Ryan and 2017 champion Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed.
After the four hopefuls have cooked, John and Gregg decide which three contestants deserve to take the next step in the competition and go through to Friday's quarter-final.