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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.
Fire up those ovens, rattle those pans!
It's MasterChef time.
Let's discover some incredible, creative culinary talent.
These seven home cooks all think they've got what it takes to become
But at the end of today's heat,
only three will make it through to Friday's quarterfinal.
Oh, my God, this is unreal.
Seriously, it's like I've been transported to another planet,
I'm rather petrified to cook for John and Gregg,
but they're human, so as long as I don't poison them,
it should be OK.
I just feel excited and I just can't wait for the competition to start,
then get into the kitchen and start cooking.
You can come in here and you think you're amazing
and then, actually...
-..you're really bad.
Welcome to MasterChef.
You are our last batch of contestants
in this year's competition.
We don't know if we've found our winner yet.
It could well be one of you.
In through those doors,
we have stocked our market full of the finest produce
from around the world.
You have ten minutes to choose your ingredients, then you'll have
one hour and ten minutes to cook us one fantastic plate of food.
Select well. Off you go.
Today's market ingredients include lamb loin, chicken thighs,
scallops, salmon fillets and prawns.
There's also a range of cheeses, nuts,
grains and pulses, and a selection of fruit and vegetables.
The market challenge is a brilliant challenge
because of its versatility.
They haven't had a chance to practise,
but they can cook whatever they want.
I think I have a plan, I think I know what I'm cooking.
I'm excited to get all of it.
The dish has got to be really good, so I think that everything I'm doing
right now should hopefully get me that place through to the next bit.
You can be as creative as you like, as classic as you like.
All I want today is something really delicious.
There's too many things to pick from,
I can't decide what I'm making.
So it's all a bit of a...
Who knows what's going on in my head?
Ladies and gentlemen, at the end of this, three of you are going home.
One hour and ten minutes, one great plate of food, let's cook.
28-year-old Anders was born in Thailand,
but grew up in a small town in Sweden.
I am inspired by Sweden when I cook.
I've been here for seven years, so cooking is a way
for me to connect back to my home country.
I like to try new things, try new techniques,
and if it doesn't work, well, I'll do it a different way.
Are you making something Swedish today?
Yes, I'm making a bit of Swedish twist.
So I'm going to poach a salmon and I'm going to make a quiche,
I'm going to make a Stilton and pear quiche to go with it.
You've got a stick of rhubarb there, where's that going to go?
I might put it in simmering liquid.
In the liquid you cook the salmon, you might cook it
-with a bit of rhubarb?
-OK, have you done salmon and rhubarb before?
-Have you served salmon with a cheese quiche before?
-I have indeed.
-How was it received?
It was good, but, you know, it's all about taking chances,
and I'm not here to play it safe.
I want to try things out and see, and hopefully you'll like it.
-Is this a mascot?
-Yes, it's my lucky horse,
but we'll find out if it's lucky or not.
He seems very, very confident, he's making his own pastry.
The fact is, it's the combination of flavours,
and I don't know how a pear inside a quiche cooks with egg
without going all watery.
Anybody else brought a mascot with them?
Looks like Anders is well in front of you lot, then.
IT manager Greg has been cooking since he was eight years old.
Growing up, food was kind of everything in the house.
My mum was an amazing cook.
She taught me the basics, and just watching her...
Just, yeah, it was like being a student, really.
Greg, what are you going to make for us?
So I'm doing pan-fried scallops, I'm going to do pickled fennel,
I'm doing roasted fennel, I'm doing a ham crumb,
I'm doing a citrus reduction that I'm going to put over the top of it,
and I'm going to do some fried ginger.
You grabbed those scallops pretty quick.
Yeah, I just felt comfortable with them.
-I like seafood.
-And what's the secret to a magnificent scallop?
Just seared, just not overcooked, a little bit of a crisp
-on either side.
-Brilliant. And how far do you think you could go?
I'll find out in about 50 minutes.
Greg's got scallops he's going to serve with three types of fennel.
It could be really nice. It's the presentation of it,
because we've got bits of fennel and we've got bits of scallop,
and I don't know what holds it all together.
25 minutes have gone.
29-year-old David from Essex is a railway engineer.
I started out as an apprentice fixing trains, getting underneath,
Now I'm working in the office, and on my lunchtime I'm in the
kitchen cooking everyone lunch.
I'm a feeder, yeah, definitely I'm a feeder!
David's making ile flottante, floating islands.
Meringue's usually in a quenelle shape,
which will be poached first and then sit inside creme anglaise
or custard. Classically served with caramel across the top
and scattered with toasted almonds.
That custard should coat the back of your spoon.
If it coats the back of your spoon, it's the perfect consistency.
If he gets this right, I'll be very, very happy indeed.
David, you're smiling now, but you've got a very concentrated look
-on your face.
-Yeah, underneath that concentration is a lot of fear.
I haven't prepared for this at all.
You can't practise for a market challenge, can you?
I kind of... Last night, I was thinking what would be in there.
And the thing that I know that's guaranteed to be in there
is milk and eggs, so it's a celebration of milk and eggs.
Lucy lives with her parents in Bangor, Northern Ireland,
and has been cooking for ten years.
I like to cook Italian food.
This has kind of come from my mum not really cooking Italian food,
so I branched off to something that she couldn't tell me what to do.
I'm a bit confused. So I kind of want to do something that I know
tastes good and not kind of muck around too much.
-So I'm going to go with some butternut squash gnocchi
with sage butter, with some crispy pancetta.
Even gnocchi, for me, this time is probably
a bit short, because it's best if I can get it in the fridge.
I've never, ever, rested my gnocchi.
Really? That is brilliant news for me.
Lucy's gnocchi sounds very, very tasty.
That butternut squash has to be dry enough so it can mould,
and hopefully she doesn't put too much flour in
so that it goes all stodgy.
My question, is it enough?
You have 30 minutes left.
Nisha, who works in finance, enjoys planning her holidays around food.
I think I'm quite a global cook.
I will often go on holiday and think, "Oh, I loved that,"
and it'll be a week later and I'll be missing that food
so I'll make it.
I'm doing a Jamaican dish, taking me back to my holiday in Jamaica.
I'm doing jerk chicken, rice and peas and coconut milk,
with a mango salsa.
How are you making the jerk seasoning?
So I blended all the different...
The main element is Scotch bonnet and allspice.
It's got that, with ginger, garlic, bits of sweet, bits of sour,
blended it all together to make a marinade.
Have you made jerk chicken before?
-I love jerk chicken.
-Do you like jerk chicken?
-Oh, good, good.
It's that flavour of barbecue with jerk chicken that makes it
really lovely because you get little bitter, dark bits along
with your spice and sweetness and sharpness and the heat.
It could be really nice.
33-year-old Scott's cooking has been inspired by his
six months spent travelling.
I'm really quite out there when it comes to the way that I think
about food. I love to add a twist to it and give it some new life.
Scott's got an almost deconstructed Thai curry type affair going on.
He's made a green Thai curry paste, he's put that across some chicken,
he's taken the skin off to make crispy chicken skin.
He's got some pak choi with some carrots.
I'm usually not a fan of Asian food which is played with.
However, Scott might have something about him, who knows?
John hates Thai food.
-I've heard different...
Do you want to reconsider?
No, no, no. I think I'll be all right with that.
Is it Asian that you love, or are there other cuisines as well?
Well, I travelled for quite a while,
so I did quite a lot of South America as well,
and I like all the South American cuisines and stuff over there.
Did a few cooking lessons as well.
What do you want from this experience?
I want to kind of show people that cooking...
It looks hard, but it's not as hard as you think.
You have 15 minutes.
Chartered surveyor Erin regularly throws dinner parties
for friends and family.
Everyone's welcome at my house,
and I love cooking for big groups of people.
An invention test might throw me,
but I've just got to pretend
I'm at home in my flat, cooking for whoever's just turned up.
-What are you making, Erin?
-I'm making lamb loin with pearl barley,
aubergine puree, with a carrot and butternut fritter.
How are you cooking your lamb?
I've just fried it off and now I've put it into the oven,
and I've marinated it in some cumin,
some golden syrup and a bit of soy sauce and garlic.
I'm guessing you've probably never had this combination
-of ingredients before?
-I've had something similar.
-What did you have that was similar?
And where was it and who cooked it?
I cooked it.
Everyone liked it, it was really nice.
Carrots, potatoes, golden syrup,
garlic, aubergine, pearl barley and lamb.
Hey, and that's not one of the weirdest combinations
in the room today.
You guys have got two minutes.
30 seconds to do whatever it is you are going to do
to finish your plate.
Time's up. Stop.
Well done. Well done.
-Yours looks great.
Yeah, it's not, the custard... It tastes nice,
but it just didn't thicken up.
Scott, up you come.
Here you go, lads.
Graphic designer Scott has made a Thai green chicken curry
with pak choi, shaved carrots, pickled radish and rice,
topped with crispy chicken skin.
You've got that piece of chicken really, really well.
-I mean, that's tender.
And your salty, crispy chicken skin is also lovely.
However, I find the pickled bits of veg too sharp, too sharp.
Your sauce is pretty vibrant, it's sharp and it's sour,
but it's unbalanced.
It's more of a chicken rice stack with a green curry dressing.
I wouldn't say it was my best cooking,
but I can actually say that it's a dish that I'd say
was good enough for me.
Chartered surveyor Erin has cooked a loin of lamb
in soy sauce and golden syrup,
served with pearl barley, aubergine puree,
and carrot, mint, potato, and butternut squash fritters.
Good in parts, interesting...
..unusual in parts.
Your lamb's cooked really nicely.
It's brown on the outside, it's pink in the middle, it's nicely seasoned.
The pearl barley, yeah, it's got a bit of give, that's OK.
Your aubergine puree, lovely and smooth.
It's gone sharp and quite spiky, almost like lemon juice.
Highly unusual. What is it, Erin?
There's supposed to be a drop of balsamic vinegar in there,
but I put a bit too much in, which is why it's gone too sharp.
But everything's been made really nicely.
Your lamb's cooked really, really well.
I'm pleased to say I can't taste all the soy and golden syrup
on the outside, because that was all in your fat and that's disappeared.
I like your potato, carrots, and butternut squash fritters
with all the mint, because the mint goes with the lamb.
There's nothing wrong with the bits your plate,
it's just they're an unusual combination.
I think I cooked everything well.
But I agree with the puree, the vinegar shouldn't
have been in there.
I wish I did things differently, but the pressure in there
is just unreal.
Nisha has made jerk chicken, coconut rice and kidney beans,
and a mango, chilli and lime salsa.
Love the tropical mango!
You've put some lime in there as well, so it's already sharp.
Your rice is nice and I like the crunch of those kidney beans.
Your chicken flesh is nicely cooked, however your skin is not crispy,
and that is the mildest jerk I have ever tasted.
-But it's a nice looking dish, that's pretty well cooked.
You've got some really good flavours on there, Nisha.
Really nice flavours.
I love the fact you made your own jerk seasoning.
Your chicken is moist and cooked all the way through, because you've left
it on the bone, I like that.
I'd like a little more spice in all that, Nisha.
I'd like it to be JERK chicken!
At the moment, it's a bit jerk chicken.
My God, I am relieved that's over.
I feel a bit more relaxed now.
I am kicking myself just not putting more chilli in.
Sales consultant Lucy is serving butternut squash and potato gnocchi,
crispy ham, and a sage and butter sauce.
Those gnocchi aren't badly made.
There's not enough flavour in there.
-There's not enough seasoning in there and that butter sauce
-has no flavour.
I forgot to taste everything.
-But, Lucy, I've got to believe you cook a lot
-better than this at home.
Your sauce needs to be a lot more spiky and a lot more well seasoned.
Even a big grind of Parmesan cheese across the top might give it
a bit of life, Lucy.
I bet you would like to walk in here and have another go, wouldn't you?
-I'd like to let you have another go.
I kind of knew that was coming.
I just got so flustered and it was one of those things.
How can you forget to taste your food and season it?
IT manager Greg has pan-fried his scallops and served them
with fennel puree, pickled and roasted fennel, fried ginger,
ham crumb and a citrus reduction.
I am impressed that you cleaned your own scallops,
and I don't mind your modern presentation.
I think you've cooked your scallops really, really nicely.
You've been really bold with your flavours.
Salty ham, warmth of deep-fried ginger across the top,
with fennel and cream and scallops all on one plate
with fennel fronds.
I think it's really daring and it's working.
Creamy texture of a mild aniseed flavour across that scallop,
with the powdery saltiness, that is that dried ham,
is really nice.
Really, really nice, Greg.
When I saw the scallops, I was, yeah, I knew exactly...
I got a bit of tunnel vision, I knew exactly what dish I was
going to do. So, yeah, happy, very happy.
Marketing advisor Anders has poached his salmon
in citrus fruits and rhubarb,
and served it on micro herbs,
with a caramelised pear and Stilton quiche.
Salmon, pear, Stilton altogether?
I'm here to be converted, Anders.
I have some good news...
..and I have some bad news.
The good news is - you know how to poach a piece of fish,
because that fish is cooked really beautifully.
However, your caramelised pear and Stilton quiche is a disaster.
It's a disaster in flavour, and it's a disaster because the egg,
although it's cooked around the outside,
the inside is a swimming pool of Stilton and caramelised pear
with egg across the top of it.
You obviously have enough cookery skill
to poach a piece of fish brilliantly well.
-So, one side of the plate, I love this cook.
The other side of the plate, I'm really scared of this cook.
I love salmon. It's a very Swedish fish.
Then I think I went a bit crazy with grabbing the Stilton and the pear
and just mashing everything together.
But I didn't come here to play safe, so...
Finally, it's railway engineer David,
who's made poached meringue floating on vanilla custard,
topped with caramel and toasted almonds.
David, so close.
As you can see, your creme anglaise is too runny.
However, your floating island is perfect.
It's got the flavour of marshmallow and the texture of marshmallow,
so it dissolves in your mouth.
That's a really nice meringue, it's a good caramel.
I'm impressed that you would come in here and, first time ever,
attempt something so technically challenging.
I wanted to show them that I've got a bit of technical skills
and that I know dishes.
Hopefully my bit of knowledge will come across to them.
An interesting round.
We definitely had some good cooking.
We had some very unusual cooking.
I totally agree.
-Dish of the day for you?
-Dish of the day for me was the scallops.
I can't ask for more from a contestant at this stage
than that they cook properly and they bring flavour.
And Greg succeeded on both those tasks.
Next up, for me, Nisha and her jerk chicken,
her rice and her mango salsa on the side.
Her chicken, although it needed a bit more spice, was well flavoured.
I really loved the mango, the rice was cooked well,
the chicken flesh was cooked very well.
It wasn't perfect, however at this stage,
Nisha appears to be an accomplished cook.
So we've got Nisha and Greg going through.
Anybody else that you want to put your hand up for?
David, with his floating islands, with the caramel and the custard.
It wasn't perfect. It wasn't perfect.
The custard needed to be thicker. However, the meringue
was good, the island itself was good.
That's classic knowledge, and I think David's got potential.
I don't know what sort of cook Lucy is because she seemed to be
so nervous. The gnocchi wasn't well flavoured.
The sauce, John, that sauce was nondescript.
It definitely had no flavour.
I don't think she did herself any justice,
-so I think Lucy goes home.
I tell you the frustration for me with Anders is that Anders obviously
has technical ability.
He can poach a piece of salmon perfectly.
He can make pastry which is really, really good.
He can caramelise a pear.
But he doesn't understand what doesn't belong together.
The quiche was inedible, obviously.
But even if he had made it properly...
I still wouldn't have wanted to eat blue cheese and pear with salmon.
So let's agree, Anders goes home.
And that leaves a discussion about Scott and Erin.
Erin can cook lamb.
Most certainly she can make a puree.
But some of her flavour combinations are really unusual.
What's balsamic vinegar doing in an aubergine puree?
Scott made his version of a Thai green curry.
The chicken was cooked really nicely,
his rice was cooked nicely. It was under-seasoned.
The sauce wasn't spicy enough and it wasn't well-balanced,
and there was pickled vegetables around the outside which were
very, very sharp.
He can cook OK, but he hasn't necessarily delivered the flavour.
One of these, I honestly believe,
deserves a closer look, needs to cook again.
I'm so geared up for the next round.
I want Gregg and John just to be able to say,
"Yep, this guy's got promise and we think he can go all the way."
I'd love to come back another day, really,
and show them what I can do and what works well together, hopefully.
No-one wants to go out in the first round!
As John explained at the start of the day,
we can only take four of you through to the next round.
congratulations, you are through to the next round.
That means we've got one more place to give.
The fourth person going through...
..is Erin. Congratulations.
Anders, Scott and Lucy, guys, thank you very much indeed.
-Thanks for everything.
Today, I think, was just one of those ones where pressure
got the better of me. It's disappointing that I didn't get
to show them what I can actually do.
I did think I took a risk today, but it is also part of
the competition and I wouldn't like to have done it any other way.
I wanted to go further, but it's been so much fun.
The thing is, I've got one of these and I'll go away with my head
held high, and I'm going to keep on going.
Today is an occasion because you are going to present your food
to three very special guests.
2011 finalists -
Tom Whitaker and Jackie Kearney,
and 2014 champion Ping Coombes.
You probably don't need me to tell you it's going to be tough.
We have three quarterfinal places to give.
The last three quarterfinal places in this year's competition.
You've got to do two courses in one hour and 15 minutes,
four plates of each course.
At the end of this, one of you will be going home.
Ladies and gentlemen, let's cook.
What are you making, David?
I am doing a harissa-marinated rack of lamb
with a baba ghanoush, with leeks, pomegranate and a burnt lemon.
Dessert, I'm doing a classic chocolate fondant
with an orange cream on the side.
Both risky dishes. Why so risky, David?
If I pull it off, I think it's impressive, shows skill.
The lamb has to be cooked beautifully,
he wants it smoky and bitter and crisp,
and he wants the aubergine to be the cooling element.
Nice to see that David's actually making his own harissa.
But that harissa, he's got 12 whole chillies!
David is picking two things to cook that have proved extremely tricky
on MasterChef over the years.
I'm nervous for him.
I'm a risk taker, and everyone tries to do a chocolate fondant
and if they mess it up, they're usually out,
so it's make or break.
I'm really feeling good about the next challenge.
I'm confident, I know what I'm cooking.
Cooking for large groups of people, you do need to have a bit of a plan.
But if you've got a glass of wine and a couple of friends over,
then it doesn't really matter if you eat at ten o'clock, does it?
I've got a lamb fillet with a mint and yoghurt dressing,
a tabbouleh and crispy kale.
It's a lemon, pistachio and courgette cake
with Chantilly cream and then some macerated strawberries.
Now, you said to us before that you were going to prove to us
-that things weren't unusual.
However, we've got strawberries and courgettes with a cake,
The strawberries give it a bit of sweetness,
because the lemon's quite sharp.
But then the courgette really is a pulp, isn't it?
Yes, it gives it moisture, it gives the cake moisture, yeah.
-It doesn't have any flavour?
We've got a fillet of lamb,
which she's marinated with some North African spices.
I think that's absolutely fine.
But it's her dessert that concerns me.
It's not about the actual courgette, it's about getting it done,
because, at the moment, there's still whole courgettes
on that bench.
25 minutes have gone.
Cooking my own food, yeah, it gives you a level of comfort,
and I've done both dishes several times, so I'm comfortable with them.
But I don't want to get a bit complacent with that
because that's when mistakes happen.
The clock's ticking. Yeah, I've got to nail it.
His first course is a chilled cucumber soup he's calling gazpacho,
which is flavoured with horseradish,
served with a little crab salad floating on a disc
of pickled daikon.
I just hope we don't have too much soup to crab.
I want to be able to taste the cucumber and the crab together.
His main course is a Keralan fish curry, with loads of curry leaves,
turmeric, mustard seeds, served with a mustard seed mashed potato.
He is certainly playing with big, big flavours
and quite delicate fish.
It's a question of balance.
-Why these two dishes?
-I'm in love with seafood and fish.
From a young age I was introduced to seafood by my mum and dad.
Started off with prawns and whelks and winkles and all that,
jellied eels, right through, and I continue loving to eat
all sorts of fish and seafood,
and these are personal favourites of mine.
How would you feel about a quarterfinal place?
I'd be doing cartwheels.
I would be doing cartwheels. Yeah, I'd be really over the moon.
Is there room for two Gregs in the later stage of the competition?
You've got more Gs than me.
I'm quite obsessed with MasterChef, it's a bit sad, really.
Even my second son, when I was pregnant with him,
I named him after the winner at that time, which was Dhruv Baker,
so, yeah, my second son is named after a MasterChef winner!
Nisha, what are your two courses?
I want to showcase something you might not have had before,
some of my home cooking.
My first course is lamb keema puff pastry pie
with a Bramley apple, mint coriander chutney.
-What's your main?
-So we're going on to a Goan salmon curry.
Normally, Goan curry is served with white fish,
but I really like salmon.
Why these two dishes?
Well, I seem to make this salmon curry quite a bit
and everyone just likes it, so it's a crowd pleaser.
So I thought if everyone likes it, hopefully you do.
Wow, I tell you what, it's a great reason, Nisha.
She's making dishes which have classic origin in India
but with a twist. We've got minced lamb with puff pastry...
..and then salmon inside a fish curry?
Think about salmon as being quite a dense, heavy,
very, very flavourful oily fish,
and I think about curry as being something quite summery and vibrant,
and I don't see how curry and salmon work together.
But I may be proved wrong.
I think my advice to them today would be -
focus on the dish that you're making and believe in what
you're doing, because if you believe in what you do,
it really does take you to a new level
and you can be the best that you can be.
What I don't want to see is someone trying too hard,
not thinking about their flavours,
just style over substance,
because food, at the end of the day, has to be delicious.
For me, taste is the priority.
Once you're in a room where people are actually actively
critiquing your food, you have that pressure in your mind
where something that you maybe thought was good,
you think, "Is it as good as I thought it was?
"Do I really want to put this on a plate?"
I've got the fear already, I'm not even cooking.
David, you've got 15 minutes to go.
Shouldn't they be marinated in your harissa?
They should be. Slightly behind schedule,
but hopefully I can pick up the pace.
I actually find lamb quite a difficult meat to cook,
out of all of them, because it goes from being raw
to being overcooked in a very, very short space of time.
Lamb is going on.
This should be bitter, sweet and sour underneath that lamb
and a smokiness with the baba ghanoush,
and it's a case of whether those flavours are there.
You've got five minutes.
What have you got left to do?
Crush my garlic for my baba ghanoush,
finish my lamb off, plate up,
cook my leek, which is not going to go well because
I've not got enough room in my pan.
-Shall we drop the leek?
-I'm probably going
to have to drop the leek.
How long have we got left on that lamb?
Some bits are done.
Pomegranates go on there and what else?
Come on, come on.
-And my lemon.
-You're three minutes over.
Come on, David.
Done? Don't forget to smile.
Nice-looking dish. Late, but nice-looking.
First off, apologies for the delay.
Today, I've cooked for you harissa-marinated lamb cutlets
with a baba ghanoush, with pomegranate and coriander,
and a burnt lemon.
-I hope you enjoy.
-Thank you, David.
The harissa is really good.
I like the spicing into it, it's just right up my street.
But I think some people might find it too spicy.
I think the baba ghanoush needs more seasoning
and a little bit more smokiness.
It tastes a little bit wet.
But actually, the meat's cooked pretty well.
The flavour's nice, it's reasonably pink in the middle.
It's not flawless, but we all know what it's like when you're
running out of time when you're trying to get food out on a plate.
Whoa, that's hot!
He hasn't been shy on flavour in any way at all.
Lamb's cooked really well.
I like the sweetness of the pomegranates around the side.
Good dish. Loads of spice.
15 minutes on this dessert.
How long are they going to take to cook?
The fondants have got to be in the oven for eight minutes exactly.
With an orange cream and pistachio crumb.
If it comes out of the mould and it's not right,
there's nowhere to go.
You've got three minutes, are they cooked?
They will be in two.
They're coming out.
-Let's go, let's go, let's go, let's go.
So, for you today I've made a chocolate fondant
with an orange cream and pistachio topping.
-Excellent, thank you.
-Thank you, David.
Look at that bad boy.
The fondant is beautifully made.
The cream is beautifully balanced.
It's just delicious.
The orange zest and the flavouring in that Chantilly is so, so good.
I reckon that isn't so much an oozy filling.
I reckon that's cake mix not cooked.
That little bit in the middle, it should be warm chocolate coming out.
And it's not, it's cold cake mix in the middle,
which means it's uncooked.
That's the problem with it.
It's another five minutes cooking and another five minutes resting.
Oh, my God.
I'm out of breath, I don't know why.
The time just goes.
Just an hour...
It's just unbelievable how quickly it goes.
Erin, you've got 15 minutes on your main course.
Erin is giving us a lamb fillet with tabbouleh,
crispy kale and a yoghurt dressing.
It'll be one of those dishes that is about execution.
If the lamb's well cooked and it's well seasoned and it's well rested,
then it'll be nice.
-How's your lamb?
-Yeah, it's good.
Two minutes, Erin.
Nice. Really very nice.
-Ready to go, ready to go.
Oh, thank you.
-Thank you so much.
Today, I've cooked for you lamb fillets with tabbouleh salad,
crispy kale and a yoghurt dressing.
-Thank you, Erin.
The lamb is well cooked, pink, just how I like it.
But, for me, I think it's under-seasoned.
It needs a little bit more spicing.
It needs a little bit more oomph, I think.
The yoghurt sauce...
it's got a nice minty flavour to it, but, for me, there's not
enough complexity in the flavours here.
I think the tabbouleh's really lovely.
That bulgur wheat taking up lots of lemon juice and olive oil
with lots of parsley and tomatoes running through it.
The yoghurt is sour and sharp.
We've got the saltiness coming from the kale,
I think that's really good.
Brilliant, you've got 15 minutes.
-What have you got left to do?
-Just got to make the Chantilly cream.
-Cup of coffee?
Get on with it.
Now, I do like a bit of vegetables in my cake,
so I hope they get this right.
There's so much water in courgette, if you don't get that water out,
the cake's going to be soggy.
You've got strawberries to put on there?
-Yeah, and I've got cream.
-And lemon curd.
Bit of thought gone into this one, Erin.
Yeah, I've tried lots of different types of presentation with this one.
-Right, I think we're done.
-OK, go, go, go.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
Thank you very much.
So, today I've made for you a courgette, pistachio and lemon cake
on a pistachio crumb, with strawberries and Chantilly cream.
That cake's actually quite moist. Given that it's so tiny,
she managed to actually keep the moisture in there.
The cake itself is not too overly sweet,
but everything else is sweet, apart from that lemon curd.
It needed more of the lemon, because I think the lemon is nice.
It cuts through it really well.
I think the cake's the best thing on the plate.
It's actually got zesty flavours running through it,
it's got nice pieces of courgette in it, plenty of pistachio.
The courgette is just a texture and taking up moisture.
The cake is as soft as you like.
And then you've got lovely, sweet macerated strawberries,
which are almost cooked in that juice and sugar with the lemon curd.
I like it.
This is good stuff, John.
It's good stuff.
Just glad it is over. It's so tiring.
Why we put ourselves through this, I don't know!
Greg is making spiced cucumber gazpacho,
with crab salad and pickled radish.
That kind of starter is right up my street.
Light, fresh, contrast of flavours with the spice and the sour
and the sweet from the pickle.
-What's left to go on there, Greg?
-Just the gazpacho
and a little bit of herb on the top.
Come on, mate, you need to push now.
You've got two and a half minutes left.
There's so many subtle flavours in it.
Cucumber's subtle, crab's subtle, and...
if you lose those things, then there's no point having them
in the dish.
Can we lift the rings?
Take them, take them, take them.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
So I cooked for you a spiced cucumber gazpacho with a crab salad.
I hope you enjoy it. Thanks.
I think it's a great-looking little dish
he's done here, actually.
I feel it's a little bit fur coat and no knickers.
The gazpacho is very watery
and then it's just, you know, some herbed, dressed crab
on the top.
It's a concept that actually is really good.
The crab itself is really tasty and very sweet.
I like the idea. His idea is good.
The crab is beautifully sweet, as it would be,
and there's a slight hint of horseradish in that gazpacho.
It's a subtly flavoured dish.
-Works for me.
-Very well summed up, Mr Wallace.
It is as subtle as anything and I think it's delicious.
I love sea bass, and I think if it's got tonnes of sauce all over it,
it might not taste of sea bass.
The spiced mash...
I don't really know what to expect with it.
-Happy with the flavour?
-Not on the potatoes.
I didn't get to do the mustard seeds and toast them.
So is that without mustard seeds?
Yes. It has got some turmeric.
It's jangled everybody's nerves a bit, that dish, hasn't it?
It's an exciting thing being a judge, though, isn't it?
-You don't know what you're going to get!
What else has got to go on here?
That's it after the fish.
-Just the sauce?
-No herb dressing or anything like that?
-No, it's all in there.
-Righto. Righto, mate.
Greg, go, take it away.
For his main course, Greg's served sea bass
with a Keralan curried coconut sauce and a spiced mash.
I think the fish has been well cooked.
The skin, unfortunately, he didn't get crispy.
There's no seasoning in the mash, and the sauce doesn't have an oomph.
It's on the sweet side, but I don't mind that.
Flavours-wise, there's quite a lot of spices through there.
But curry sauce on mash - no.
-No. Just no.
The curry sauce, I really like.
It's very, very creamy, it's got a lot of warmth
and it does creep up on you, and he's got some great flavours.
I'd like to see some green on there.
However, I really love the way he's cooked that fish.
The fish is beautiful. And I love the flavour of that curry sauce,
I really, really love it.
I had a right struggle with my mash.
I've made mash for, like, 10,000 years.
Just shows you what the pressure does.
Nisha, you've got five minutes and your puffs don't look
-like they're cooked.
-OK, I've turned up the heat.
I'll start plating. So as soon as they're done, I'll whack them on.
I'm really excited about this.
She's got a lot of things that I like in there
and I think it's going to taste really good
if she gets the spicing right.
That chutney needs to be perfectly balanced,
if it's just going to be the two items on the plate.
How do they look, boss?
Oh, I could have done with another two or three minutes, but we don't
have the time, so I'm just going to have to serve them, I'm afraid!
Got to serve now, Nisha, please.
-Off you go.
-There you are.
-Thank you very much.
Today, I've cooked for you a lamb keema puff pie,
and it's served with a coriander, mint and Bramley apple chutney.
-I hope you enjoy it.
-Thank you, Nisha.
-Thank you very much.
I really like it.
Pastry's cooked really well, the filling's really nice,
the meat's not dry or chewy.
It's nicely spiced without being over the top.
The use of the Bramley apple in that chutney is really clever.
It adds freshness, acidity
and then cut through that spicy lamb.
That chutney is inspired and I love the filling.
Really well spiced.
I love it.
The heat, the spice...
It's like someone's stuck a chilli in your ear.
You've got ten minutes, Nisha.
-Are we doing well?
-I think so, yeah.
I'm just going to wait for my rice to cook.
My curry's done. That's just on a very low heat,
just keeping it warm. And my rice is...
nearly there! It's cooking.
Goan spices are pretty mild.
So, again, I think with her, it's all about the spicing.
Are you happy with all your elements, Nisha?
Do you know what, my rice is a tiny bit off.
Dusting of coconut...
And the kachumber.
-That looks nice.
-Go. Smells great.
-Go, go, go, go, go.
-Oh, God, these are quite heavy.
Thank you, Nisha.
Today, I've cooked for you a Goan salmon curry,
with some cumin rice and some kachumber.
-Thank you very much.
-Thank you very much.
I love the way the layers of flavour start to build up
and then that heat comes in at the end.
And, for me, when someone does that, they understand how
to use their spices.
She has taken care not to overcook the fish,
I think that's a really accomplished thing to do.
And then she makes the rice, you can see that it's
nice and fluffy, and it's flavoured with cumin.
I just want to eat the whole bowl.
There is something really wonderful about the flavours in that curry,
because they are subtle,
and they dance and they come up, and you've got the crescendo
of heat and spice,
and the smokiness of turmeric, the sweetness of cumin.
Rice is lovely and free-flowing.
It's really very good, isn't it?
The salmon is flaky and that curry is mild and it's creamy,
and the whole thing is a little bit yummy.
When I was nearly there and I had completed nearly everything
and I could see the finish line,
I was really elated and I felt really happy.
So, it's a big challenge, I'm just glad I managed to get
all eight plates out to them.
This round, I think, is one of the toughest rounds in the competition.
That pressure is huge and, of course, they're all fighting it out
for a quarterfinal place, but a good fight it's been, I think.
My stand-out contestant today was Nisha.
She has got flavour oozing out of her fingertips.
Those little savoury pies with that fantastic sharp,
sweet apple chutney was a knockout.
Followed on by a beautiful, mild, salmon curry.
I'm with you. I think Nisha's food today was outstanding.
Once you pick Nisha from the bunch...
the rest of it's a bit of a fight.
It is a fight, because the other three all had dishes
which polarised us,
where some stuff we really liked, some stuff our guests didn't like.
Let's start with David.
I liked the spice of the lamb cutlets,
I liked his aubergine puree.
But David was really late.
He did get his chocolate fondant out on time
and the guests in the dining room enjoyed it.
But we agreed that that was undercooked.
It shouldn't have been that wet.
Erin cooked for us a piece of spiced lamb,
she served with tabbouleh, some kale on the side of that.
It had a lovely yoghurt dressing on the side, which was sharp.
I really liked the tabbouleh
because there was loads of lemon in there.
-I loved Erin's cake.
It was soft in the middle, it was almost crispy on the outside.
I thought it was great flavours. However, our guests,
they liked the cake, but they thought the rest of the dessert
was too sweet.
You and I really enjoyed Greg's starter with the crab,
the herbs and that cucumber gazpacho.
Our guests thought it was a nice idea,
but it didn't have enough flavour.
We both said that it was very, very subtle
and we liked its elegance.
Greg's main course was very, very bold.
I have to say, the fish was cooked really, really well.
And the sauce was very vibrant and full of flavour.
The guys in the dining room weren't completely convinced.
All I can say, with my hand on my heart,
was I really, really enjoyed it.
Food's very emotional, isn't it?
You know, one person's caviar is another person's corned beef,
so we'll see.
The dessert might swing it for me to stay.
I'm not sure if the main is strong enough,
but it would be great if I could go through today.
These other three contestants, they're brilliant cooks,
so I couldn't even put into words how...
..it would make me feel to be in that quarterfinal place.
Three of you are going through to the quarterfinal.
One of you is leaving the competition.
me and John and the guys in the other room
thought you were fantastic.
You are a quarterfinalist.
I thought I was gone!
..you are going through to the quarterfinals.
David, thank you very much indeed.
I did myself proud just to get this far in the competition and make it
through a round. At least I got one feeling of elation,
so, yeah, I'm happy with that.
Very, very well done.
You, of course, are now MasterChef quarterfinalists.
It won't sink in till I get home.
Yeah, I can't believe it. I can't believe it.
It's a dream.
The standard's just going to get higher and higher,
but I'm having so much fun.
I just want to keep having this fun, it's so good.
I can't wait to tell my husband, to see his face.
Yeah, quarterfinalist! It just sounds unreal!
Yeah, I'm truly speechless, and I'm never speechless.
Tomorrow night, it's the last of the quarterfinals.
Greg, Erin and Nisha
will join Chris, Lynn and Kenny
to fight for their place...
Just the eggs and I'm done.
..cooking for one of the country's top restaurant critics.
This is a gastronomic triumph.