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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 MasterChef champion.
But at the end of today's heat, only three will make it through
to Friday's quarterfinal.
I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants type cook.
It's no recipes, no rules, but that's the way things roll.
People say I don't take criticism very well,
so I hope I don't jump across the counter
and start trying to strangle Gregg!
It is going to be hard, and I'm prepared for it.
This is my chance to do it, and I want to do it.
Welcome to MasterChef.
This, your first test, is the market test.
You will have ten minutes to choose your ingredients,
and you'll have one hour and ten minutes to cook for us
one great plate of food. Ladies and gentlemen, to market.
In today's market are lamb neck and mince...
..chicken, clams and brown shrimps.
There's also a range of cheeses, nuts, grains and pulses.
And a selection of fruit and vegetables.
And some salt...
Lots of opportunities here, some really good stuff, yep.
So, it's narrowing it down is the issue.
They've got to play to their strengths.
They can do whatever they want!
If they love to do desserts, if they love to cook Asian,
if they love to cook Italian, it's there for them.
Let those ingredients work for you.
When I picked up the lamb neck, there wasn't much meat on it,
and I've just had another idea, so going in a different direction.
I want to have a more coherent idea of what I'm actually going to do
before I start chucking things in. But, yeah, I think I probably
need to hurry up and actually pick something now.
Ladies and gentlemen, you know the rules.
One hour and ten minutes, one great plate of food,
and it's got to be great, because at the end of this...
three of you are going home.
28-year-old advertising student Steve
lives with his parents in Basingstoke.
Cooking's a funny one, isn't it, because everyone does it every day.
And you can think you're quite good at it, and then, like,
meeting other people at university,
I was just like, "Actually, I'm not as good at it as I thought".
And then that really sparked the passion.
What do you love to cook?
I kind of like taking almost, like,
traditionally trashy flavour combinations,
you know, like burger and chips or fish and chips,
and then doing them with a, kind of, a nice twist,
like dress them up a little bit more, you know?
-Like smartening up junk food?
Yeah, exactly, exactly, yeah.
So I think I'm going to do a lamb ragout,
serve it with some roasted red peppers, a bit of wild rice,
heavily spice it.
Hopefully it should liven up the boring mince.
Now, he also has a jar of honey.
Lamb, vegetables, tomatoes, wild rice and honey.
I don't think honey should be going anywhere near a lamb stew.
Dad of two, Jamie, is director of a marketing company in Wrexham.
In other aspects of life, there's always someone telling you
"No, you can't do that, and no, you can't do that.
Well, with cooking, you can do whatever you like.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it's a complete disaster, but, you know,
it's something you can just get on with.
-What are you going to make?
-I'm going to make some, kind of,
I'm going to make flatbreads with that, a rice pilaf,
maybe some hummus, and we'll see how we get to with time.
Who do you cook for?
My wife, kids, friends, family, everyone piles into my house.
We're all big foodies, so I'm cooking every weekend for, like, 16,
20 people. So, yeah, it's pretty heavy-going.
-What's a foodie?
-Someone like me who consumes food,
and in ample quantities.
I want big flavours from Jamie, and I want proper, light flatbreads.
I want rice that's cooked all the way through and fluffy
and really well flavoured, and if he's making hummus,
it needs to be lovely and smooth and spreadable.
Great promise, Jamie's just got to deliver.
You've got 45 minutes left, guys.
45 minutes left.
Malaysian-born Zaleha lives with her husband and two daughters
My dad's from India, and he came to Malaysia with the British Army,
and my mum's a Malaysian, and my husband's British.
So in our household, it's like all sorts of food.
I do roast dinners, but I mostly cook, like, Malaysian curries.
Zaleha, what are you making?
I am making Malaysian street food called murtabak.
It's a pastry that you fill in with chicken and potatoes, curried,
and there's lots of spices.
And then you fold them in home-made pastry, and you bake them.
You cook them, basically, on a stove,
and I'll serve it with some onion chutneys and some dhal on the side.
If it's street food, can you make it look nice?
I'll try my best.
Making murtabak, making the dough is really skilful and quite hard,
cos you take the dough and you make it really thin.
And then you fold it over and over and over, and do it again,
so that when it's cooked, little tiny layers come up,
and the meat inside is just encased in these lovely crispy bits
30-year-old Sinead once challenged herself to cook a new dish every day
for six months.
Food tends to determine my holiday destinations.
When I went to China, I came back and I'd just eaten so much,
I became a vegan for a month.
I just needed to go back to the beginning, and just clean out.
The travelling's food related.
Sinead's been really ambitious by taking a neck of lamb,
braising it in red wine and shallots,
and she wants to serve it with a celeriac puree
and lots and lots of root vegetables.
That's great, but the lamb neck,
she's taken the meat off the bone itself, cut it into small chunks,
and put it into a pot with some wine and some shallots,
and put it in the oven.
My concern is, those little lumps,
when they're boiled will shrink and become really tough.
Who taught you to cook?
Myself, my mum, my aunt.
Just everyone. Cookbooks.
Can you remember when you started, what it...?
I remember making sandwiches for my lunchbox.
I had taramasalata and German peppered salami sandwiches,
aged four, which I think is enough salt to kill a child, but...
But I liked them, and my mum let me make what I wanted, so...
Ladies and gentlemen, you are over halfway.
You have just 30 minutes left.
After training to be an architect, Burnley-based Richard
spent five years in Spain working as a maths teacher.
So hang on. Born in Burnley, studies as an architect,
worked in Spain as an architect and ended up as a Spanish maths teacher.
-And now you're back to the exotic world of Burnley.
I am, and loving it.
Taken a year off to have a break from teaching.
I was going to be travelling a bit,
but I've come back from Italy early to be here.
I'm going to make some raviolis.
I'm going to fill them with some clams and shrimp,
and then I'm going to serve them
with an artichoke sort of sauce, effectively.
If you've been travelling around Italy,
I've got high expectations of this.
I hope I don't disappoint you.
I've been travelling around Italy in my van,
which only has a little stove in, so I haven't had access to a kitchen.
But I have been in Italy,
so my preparation has been eating a lot in Italy,
and making notes of good flavour combinations.
Richard's using surf clams.
They are massive, they're really big clams,
and they can be as tough as boots...
so I hope he's cooked them enough.
And if he hasn't cooked them enough, hopefully he's chopped them up,
almost minced them, so that they go through and you get
the flavour of clams.
54-year-old Peter spent 30 years in the police force
and worked his way up to superintendent.
I suppose policing in general is very much you're under pressure
a lot of the time, so through the experience of being a police officer
for all those years, I'm absolutely certain that'll have given me
some ability to react calmly in the kitchen.
-What are you making?
-I'm going to try and make you a curry,
a chicken and potato curry with a bit of a lemon relish,
some crispy onions, some boiled rice and some parathas.
-And you made the parathas?
Fantastic. Where did you learn to cook the food of India?
Well, I'm just very keen reading up about different things.
So there was a while back I did, kind of, home cooking.
I did home cooking and read lots of books, practice lots.
So that's why I've headed up with a paratha today,
I thought it was maybe showing a bit of skill.
-Why have you come on MasterChef?
-Well, I just thought it would
give me a challenge, you know? Something...
I golf every Saturday and I know how good I am,
I cook every Friday and I've no idea how good I am,
so I thought this would be an opportunity to come in
-and see how it was.
Peter is going to make us parathas.
Fabulous Indian bread, fantastic with a curry.
But it's the curry that I'm concerned about.
There's not liquid over the top of all that chicken and potatoes.
The top of the chicken's starting to dry out because it's
just been boiled and steamed away, and I'm concerned there's
not enough spices in there to make a really big curry.
40-year-old Alex works in the fashion industry in London.
I'm quite shy, so I would never kind of outwardly be competitive,
but I think inside I want to do well.
It's taken me five years to actually send the application form off,
so I'm terrified.
So, what are you making?
Hopefully going to make some goat's cheese and mushroom ravioli,
with a kind of chorizo and sage butter sauce.
-And a truffle?
-Oh, yeah, I've put some truffle in there as well,
and a bit of ricotta.
Are you a fan of Italian food, is that...?
I'm from Portugal, so not necessarily Italian,
but kind of Mediterranean, so...
Why didn't you do something Portuguese today?
This just kind of caught my eye, so I just...
I had limited time in the market.
Truffle, sage, goat's cheese, mushrooms, chorizo, all in one dish.
It could work, who knows?
Guys, you have three minutes.
You have just three minutes.
That means on a plate and finished in three minutes.
It's going to be a bit down to the wire with the rice,
as it went on a little bit later than I hoped.
And this is why I love MasterChef.
Seven different people with seven different ideas.
It smells and sounds fantastic all across the room.
Season it, finish it, and get it on a plate.
Stop! That's it, time's up.
Oh, my gosh, your curry smells amazing!
Mine's basic. Mine's super, super basic.
First up is advertising student Steve,
who's served his lamb ragout with wild rice and roasted red peppers.
There's nothing offensive about it at all.
There's the sweetness in there from the peppers and the tomatoes.
You've seasoned it nicely, and the rice is cooked.
But it's, it's...
an incredibly simple thing to do.
I'm hoping the honey didn't go in.
No, it didn't, but a little bit of black treacle did.
Right. It's really, really sweet.
-For me, a savoury dish...
-..especially a mince ragout,
should be savoury and spicy and have a couple of notes
and different things going on. It's just all very sweet.
It's easy on reflection, isn't it, to go, "Right, OK,
"it's a savoury dish, keep it real, real savoury."
But, yeah, on reflection a little bit disappointed, yeah.
It probably was sweet with those peppers, you know?
But there was stock in there, and red wine vinegar,
so I was trying to balance it, but...
Company director Jamie spiced his lamb koftas with cumin,
coriander and chilli,
and served them with mushroom and pine nut rice pilaf,
hummus and flatbreads.
You've got really good seasoning and you've got a nice use of spice
in the kofta.
I love you've got a bit of chilli in there, giving heat.
I think your presentation is all over the place,
but I think you've demonstrated a bit of cookery skill here.
I really like the flatbreads,
because you've got little charred bits around the outside,
and they make it a little bit bitter and sharp with the spiciness
of your hummus as well.
Your component parts are great,
and you've brought it together as a dish.
I think it's great.
Disappointed with the comments over the presentation,
but I thought overall good comments,
and fingers crossed I've done enough.
Mum of two Zaleha has made murtabak pastries filled with chicken and
potato, served with a dhal spiced with garam masala and cumin,
and an onion chutney.
This is the first time we've had murtabak on MasterChef.
-And I have to tell you,
as a man who's travelled Malaysia quite a bit, I love murtabak.
I appreciate all the work that's in here.
The fact you actually made your own dough, you made the filling.
Sometimes murtabak can be a bit greasy, and yours is not.
I believe it could probably do with a little bit more spice,
but I really like what you've done.
-I think it's really tasty.
The dhal, I think, is lovely.
It's creamy, and it builds a little bit of heat and spice.
You have sweet sharpness there with your onions.
I was expecting more.
I was expecting more flavour from this murtabak.
I like it, but it's difficult for me because I don't have
anything to compare it to.
It was exhausting, and I made my own pastry, so it was tiring.
But, yeah, I'm happy.
I'm really pleased that John likes my food.
Sinead, who works in financial services,
braised the lamb neck in red wine
and served it with carrots, beetroot,
turnips, celeriac puree and a lamb sauce.
Your celeriac puree and your sauce across the top,
I think that's really lovely.
You've got little raw turnips in there floating around,
which are really, really hard.
But the thing that is the issue is that lamb neck has gone dry.
-And it's gone dry because you boiled it in wine.
And that's what's going to happen, it's going to take out
all the moisture.
I don't know what to make of you.
You've got lovely sweet, smooth celeriac, but the main bit of it,
the lamb, you've messed up.
Very sweaty palms, yeah.
I had my hands on the table and when I walked away I just
saw this little, like, wet mess.
Maths teacher Richard's ravioli has been stuffed with shrimps
and surf clams, and served with an artichoke and white wine sauce,
and Parmesan shavings.
Your pasta's good. You've got flavour out of those fish.
The sweet shrimp and the almost salty-sweet clam is nice.
I love the artichokes with the saltiness
and the tang of Parmesan cheese.
I love that.
Parmesan cheese and fish I don't want.
There's no doubting that you have skill.
The pasta is well made, your clam is actually cooked,
you've made a really nice little reduction sauce.
But I agree with Gregg, cheese and fish, no.
I'm annoyed at myself for putting the cheese on at the end,
It's like I forgot what was in the pasta, you know?
I thought, "Pasta, I need some Parmesan."
Former superintendent Peter has made a chicken and potato curry,
served with paratha bread, crispy onions and a lemon rind relish.
You are producing sweet and spicy heat flavour in your curry,
but it's far too dry.
The chicken's going a little dry, there is nowhere near enough sauce.
-I like your parathas, I think they're great,
I think they're really lovely and crispy.
Peter, your lemon relish is not very nice at all.
-Because that is lemon rind. That is...
It's not even just bits of lemon,
that is the rind of a chopped up lemon with salt on it.
It's probably very good for your digestion.
The relish is, I suppose, an acquired taste.
It is quite a lot of nearly raw lemon,
and it's quite a strong taste.
I was quite happy with it, it was certainly a decent,
palatable meal I would think.
-This looks great.
-It's quite lemony.
It's meant to be sharp, though.
Fashion retail expert Alex's ravioli has been stuffed with goat's cheese,
ricotta, spinach, mushrooms and truffle,
and coated in a chorizo and sage butter sauce.
There's some really nice ideas here.
I really like the little tiny bits of chorizo across the top,
they're more like bacon.
But it could do with a little bit more oomph.
Truffle I can't get,
because I can't get the truffle through with all
the other bits and pieces that're going on.
I agree with John.
There is no truffle flavour in there,
and also your pasta's a little tough in part.
But I really like the flavour of that goat's cheese
with the mushroom,
and also that chorizo, of course, is giving a little paprika spice.
-I like it.
I feel relieved that it's kind of over.
It all just happened in a flash,
and much more terrifying than I ever thought.
A few first day nerves, I think,
but certainly a fair amount of skill...
..and a great variety of cooking style.
You've got to admit that Jamie did a great job.
Agreed. Jamie is my stand-out cook.
He's showing cookery skill and he made it taste nice.
I don't want anything else from a contestant.
Richard. What do we think of Richard?
I think Richard can cook.
The artichoke, cheese and fish does not belong together.
However, I'm willing to give that guy another go because he showed
a certain amount of technical ability there.
Zaleha made something really interesting.
She made murtabak, and she actually made proper roti dough.
You didn't think it was spicy enough,
I think it could have done with a bit more spice,
but the dhal was delicious. Really, really delicious.
I liked the flavour of Steve's mince,
you didn't however, and it didn't look great.
He may well have some great ideas,
but you need to come in here and show them.
Peter, the actual flavour inside that curry was good,
but that lemon relish on the outside was a very, very bad idea.
It was inedible.
Jamie, Zaleha and Richard are going through to the next round, right?
-Steve and Peter are going home.
So now we've got a conversation about Sinead...
What was wonderful from Sinead was the celeriac puree,
creamy and smooth, with the gravy.
The vegetables across the top I wasn't that enamoured with,
and the lamb itself was dry.
I liked the simplicity of Alex's two ravioli,
and the chorizo with the oil across the top, I think, worked.
I liked the goat's cheese flavour inside.
However, she put truffle in there that I just couldn't taste.
Which one of those ladies has shown the greater skill?
It's quite exhausting and nerve-racking,
so I don't know if I can do another day of this!
I'm hopeful that they can see what else I have to offer,
because I would really like to show some more of my cooking.
We've made our decision.
Congratulations, you're staying in the competition.
Sorry gentlemen, you're leaving us.
Thank you very much.
The third person going through...
The fourth person going through...
-Sinead, thank you very much.
A little bit sad, but, yeah, I can't take the tension, the nerves,
it's too much. So, yeah.
With hindsight, I probably could have done a little bit more.
So, yeah, it's sort of the way the cookie's crumbled, a little bit.
Maybe I just played it a wee bit too safe,
but I think I'll live off this in the pub for years to come.
You've earned the right to be here,
now you've got to earn the right to stay here.
You're not just going to present your food to me and John today.
You are going to serve your food to the three finalists from 2010.
Alex Rushmer, and the incredibly talented Dhruv Baker.
Your two courses, one hour and 15 minutes.
Do yourselves proud!
For somebody who likes to take his time with cooking,
to squash that into an hour and 15 minutes,
and to present to well and to get...
To remember all the little subtleties of your dish
that makes it unique and makes it special is going to be difficult.
I've got a little list of an order,
so hopefully I won't forget anything.
In the last challenge, you put lots of things together,
showed lots of skill,
but it didn't necessarily demonstrate
that you understood flavours coming together.
What are you going to do today to redeem yourself?
Well, I'm starting off with quite a classic dish for me.
Cep tortellini with a sage butter, pine nut and girolle sauce.
These are all classic combinations of flavours that I know work.
OK. And your main course is?
This summer, I've had a few barbecues,
so I'm going to try and get those flavours across.
But I haven't got a barbecue, so I'm using my griddle here.
It's barbecued hanger steak, sweetcorn puree,
baked potato and some lettuce.
Hanger steak can be tender if you treat it right, and if you don't...
-Yeah, it can be...
-..it's as tough as old boots.
And has no fat running through it, which means there's no moisture.
It's a... I know, I've given myself a challenge there, I know.
But that's my big, that's my biggest fear, getting that wrong for you.
I've stopped ordering a hanger steak.
Every time I have one it's tough.
So if he can give me a really nice, succulent hanger steak,
I'll be very impressed.
What I'm pleased about is Richard's dishes sound tasty,
and all the ingredients do belong together.
Portuguese food is a big part of my life.
I was raised eating it, and my mum's food is amazing.
Always wonderful smells coming out of the kitchen all the time,
so I'm doing this for her today.
So, for a starter I'm making you a Portuguese...
It's called pasteis de bacalhau, which is salt cod fritters.
Serving it with a lemon mayonnaise, and then, like,
a salsa of tomatoes and broad beans.
And the main course is carne de porco a Alentejana.
Pork and clams, so it's a southern Portuguese dish that's from where
my dad's from in Portugal.
It's quite a famous dish,
so if you go to Portugal you'll see it on all the menus.
Everybody cooks it differently,
which is something I've discovered about Portuguese recipes.
But I'm kind of cooking it the way my dad cooks it.
-I hope it works!
I'm just petrified.
I'm really out of my comfort zone.
I'm just quite shy, so...
it's difficult for me.
Is it John that's making you nervous?
Oh, I don't know. I haven't looked at him yet...
-..as he's been standing here.
The issue right now is, can she get it all done?
The cod croquettes,
she's got to make sure that salted cod has been boiled enough
and soft that she can pull it apart,
mix it with mashed potato,
roll it and breadcrumb it, then deep-fry it.
She's got to make her own mayonnaise and make her own salsa.
That's actually quite a lot of work to do.
However, I'm very, very hopeful.
Then she's got pork and clams.
Make sure the pork doesn't get dry,
and then the clams will give a little bit of saltiness.
My starter today will be fish cutlets with mango and pepper salad,
with home-made sweet chilli sauce.
My main course will be gulai pahang.
Gulai is a sort of chicken curry,
and it's from my hometown in Malaysia.
I have been told in the last round that my murtabak was not too spicy,
so, get ready for some spicy food today.
Why these two dishes?
The curry is something that reminds me of my mum.
She passed away two years ago.
But this is the dish that we grew up with, so it's special.
I've tried for years and years to get it right,
and my husband still says that it's nearly there.
-So you're still trying?
-Yeah, I'm still trying.
I'll make it because my husband loves it.
So, nice fishcakes, crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle,
with beautiful sweet mango.
I get that.
The second dish, chicken curry.
That chicken has got to stay soft and succulent, not dry,
and if she's going to use those spices,
they've got to come at you in layers
and build flavour upon flavour upon flavour.
Jamie, you did very well in the last round.
-Can you keep it going?
-Do my best.
I really tried to give it as much as I could last time.
This is an ambitious two courses.
-What is it?
-It's king scallops on a slightly spiced noodle
with an udon broth to start, and then a Balinese chicken,
which is chicken stuffed with lemon grass and ginger and coconut,
a mango and pineapple ketchup, and some coconut potatoes.
Potatoes in coconut? How does that work?
Well, it just kind of gives them a little extra edge.
I think just adds something. It's a bit of fun, actually.
What are you hoping to demonstrate here?
I want to demonstrate that I can work to time
and calmly under pressure.
Wow. Can you?
No, I'm freaking out!
We've got lots and lots going on with Jamie's menu.
We've got king scallops,
which he's serving with some noodles and an udon broth.
But he's making a thick broth with lemon grass, tomatoes
and prawn shells.
It probably has a home in no country whatsoever,
it's very, very eclectic.
The chicken, this Balinese chicken, from what I understand,
he's going to make a paste of lemon grass and ginger
and cook it under the chicken skin?
Well, that's all got to cook down, and these are big, strong flavours.
If he gets a bit heavy-handed with lemon grass or ginger,
that's that whole thing ruined.
I've got hundreds of concerns, and loads of things can go wrong,
so I need everything to go my way.
So, I think it's going to take every ounce of cooking ability
that I've got to get into the quarterfinal.
The only time I had any experience of doing this round
was cooking for the critics, which was in the semifinals.
So I was much further into the competition,
but I will still terrified.
And suddenly to be thrust into this sort of
pressured and semi-professional environment, it's really tough.
We're not expecting a new kind of food trend to emerge today,
we just want some tasty food cooked well,
with a bit of a kind of enthusiasm, a bit of love behind it.
And you can spot that, you can taste it.
It is relatively early days,
and so the temptation is to try and do too much,
because you're trying to prove everything at once.
So it's that incredibly tricky balancing act,
of which there's no answer, there's no golden ratio.
It's doing enough but not too much,
which is a ridiculously unhelpful thing to say.
-Good to be back.
15 minutes on your first course, are you going to be OK?
I can do it, I can do it.
Cep tortellini with chanterelles, pine nuts, sage and butter sauce.
I think that sounds pretty magnificent, to be honest.
You don't want the pasta to be too thick,
especially the tortellini where it doubles up around the edges.
But I've got high hopes for that, I think it reads beautifully.
Where are you with your tortellini right now, Richard?
They've just gone off the boil, but they're maybe a minute off.
Right, fine. And your sauce is made?
-All your garnishes are done?
-Sauce is pretty much done, yeah.
-Come on, let's go! Come on!
-I'm going, I'm going, I'm going.
He did it.
-How are you?
-Very good, thank you.
-There you are. So,
I've made a cep ravioli for you, with a sage, pine nut butter
with some girolles running through that and a bit of
Parmesan to finish. I hope you enjoy.
The pasta looks really, really thin.
You can almost see the filling through the pasta,
which is pretty admirable.
He's done a brilliant job at getting the pasta right,
and the technical skill required to do this is significant,
and he's done brilliantly at that.
I really like the effort that's gone into the filling.
There's a few little chopped onions in there which have been
nicely sweated out.
The chanterelles have been cooked really well.
The only thing it's missing is just a little pinch more seasoning
in the filling, and on the mushrooms itself, and it's that close.
Bar that teeny tiny pinch of salt, and...
But also that shows a bit of thought,
because he's used the Parmesan as a seasoning, so it's...
The thought's there,
it's just a minuscule fraction off being absolutely perfect.
Pasta's lovely. Perfectly made.
That is a grind of pepper away from exceptional.
I'm really impressed with Richard.
15 minutes, that's all you've got...
-..till those steaks go out.
-Are you winning?
-I think I'm OK.
Now, what am I missing from this? Garlic.
He's got to spend some time and love with the hanger steak so he cooks it
right, and the only way you can do that is pay attention to it.
It's not something you can whack on and then come back ten minutes later
and flip it over and cross your fingers.
Happy with your steak?
I would like it to have been resting more than the time that I've got
-Well, I can't help you there.
-No, neither can I.
Baked potato, corn, lettuce and the hanger steak -
I mean, this is a big, big dish.
So, will it be presented as a very delicate interpretation of it?
Yet to be seen.
-What's left to go on there?
And the other?
-And that's it?
-You're a minute over.
I tell you what, he has grafted.
It's a big plate.
What you've got, a sweetcorn puree with hanger steak on top,
and it's been laid to rest in an anchovy, parsley and caper sauce,
a baked potato, and lettuce that's been just charred,
and with a ranch dressing.
-I hope you enjoy it.
I like beef with a bit of chew to it,
but there is quite a lot of texture.
I mean, I'm just about finished chewing.
OK, it's not the most tender piece of meat, but hanger isn't,
and I don't mind meat with a bit of texture.
A slight hint of bitterness from the lettuce, offset with the sweetness
of the sweetcorn, it just brings everything together.
For me, the star is the little jacket potato.
That is so tasty and really decadent and rich and buttery.
It just needs a touch more seasoning, especially on that meat,
and the whole dish would be lifted. It would sing.
Love the crispy potato with the real buttery mash inside.
I like the flavour of the dressing,
but the sweetcorn puree's a little bit wishy-washy.
The steak is chewy.
This is a rushed dish, and it tastes like it.
Yeah, exhausted. That went so quickly,
but I managed to get it out, and they said I was a minute late
but I think it was closer to 20 seconds. So, not bad.
So Alex, how're we getting on?
OK. I'm just about to make my mayonnaise.
And your croquettes, do you have to shape them or what?
I'm going to quenelle them - quenelle them, and fry them.
OK, fine. Onwards and upwards.
Deep frying done well is actually quite a technique.
The oil really has to be at the right temperature.
It can't be too cool, or else the fritters will be incredibly greasy.
And likewise it can't be too hot,
because then the temptation is to pull out the fritter as soon as it's
started to colour, and you've got a fritter that's not done on the inside.
You need acidity, I think, with something like a salt cod fritter,
which the lemon mayonnaise should deliver.
Is your mayonnaise is not working?
No. It's really annoyed me because I know how to make it,
it's just all the wrong consistency,
but I haven't got time to redo it now.
Nice colours, very vibrant.
Nice. Like them.
-I do like them.
-No, no mayo.
Alex has served her salt cod fritters
with a tomato and broad bean salsa.
You're missing the lemon mayonnaise,
but I've put a wedge of lemon on there for you.
-Hope you enjoy.
The salt cod, as its name would suggest, is quite salty,
but she clearly knows that and to temper that, the salad is almost...
It's really tasty, but it's slightly under seasoned.
The squeeze of lemon juice over the top just lifts the whole thing.
The lightness you've got there,
it's almost like a sort of tempura lightness.
It's got that beautiful texture, and inside, it's silky smooth.
It's spectacularly good.
I could eat an indefinite number of these.
I tell you what, lovely little fritters.
With some mayonnaise, it would have been fantastic.
But these are great. Really very, very good.
OK. You've got 15 minutes now.
OK. Yeah, it's coming.
-You're going to get there on time?
-Well done, Alex.
What can you fault with that? You've got clams, you've got pork and you've got chips.
Wiggling your toes in the sand, sitting by the sea with a glass of white wine.
You know, life is good.
I really hope there's going to be a sauce in there,
to use the chips to mop up a really tasty sort of salty sauce.
What else needs to go on there, Alex?
Just a little bit more of the juice and some of the coriander.
-Yeah, I'm ready to go.
-OK. Let's go.
I've cooked you carne de porco a Alentejana,
which is a typical dish from Southern Portugal,
and it's, basically, pork and clams with some chips, so I hope you enjoy.
It's visually quite sort of understated,
but it's so beautifully seasoned.
-And the pork's tender and the little salty clams.
I mean, they're really not chips, they are cubed things,
but they are perfect for this.
And I'm trying to work through the ingredients in the sauce.
You know, there's a bit of garlic and some white wine,
there's some paprika, a touch of coriander,
which I wasn't expecting which is really, really good.
That little bit of freshness.
It creates something more, clearly more, than the sum of its parts.
Yeah. Understated, but wowee, the flavours,
it's just perfectly judged.
I like the paprika around the pork, and loads and loads of garlic,
and I love all that white pepper around those clams.
The potatoes in there to soak up all the juice.
Yeah, I think it's really tasty.
Yeah, I'm glad... I'm glad it's over, to be honest.
It's just something else in there.
It's like a big bubble of pressure and I've just never experienced
anything like it.
Eight minutes on your first course, please.
-Are your scallops going on?
-If you get them on now, you'll be fine.
I think it's almost a shame to cook seafood like scallops with spices.
I like the flavour of the...
I don't want it to hide amongst the spiced noodles.
It feels like you could spend four hours making a proper prawn broth
and kind of reduce it down, smash up the prawn heads to get lots and lots
and lots of flavour in, so if they do that, job's a good one.
Just to plate the starters up now.
-And what's stopping you?
So, we're going to go.
Good, good, good.
Let's go, Jamie. Go get them.
-That's not what I expected.
-I expected a clearer broth.
Hopefully, the wine's been flowing.
Maybe cloud your judgment slightly.
I've made you king scallops with a spiced noodle and an udon broth.
Do you know what? Actually, he's cooked the scallops pretty well,
but the whole thing is sort of a mono-texture, unfortunately.
There's no... There's no... It's all very soft.
And there's something clashing, which I think is the
fish sauce, and so all of those wonderful spiky notes
which should give it complexity and depth,
have kind of just fallen like a damp squib,
and the scallop, I'm afraid, has just been lost in that.
I'm a bit saddened by it. I'm not enjoying it, I'm afraid.
Tomatoes and prawn shells, to me,
is the start of a Mediterranean fish stew.
To then bring Asian spices into it just feels odd.
The scallops are cooked nicely, the noodles are OK,
but the whole thing's lacking the wonder and the majesty of the seafood
that's sitting in that bowl.
15 minutes for your chicken.
We want Balinese, not on your knees. All right?
Balinese chicken, fragrant rice, coconut potatoes,
mango and pineapple ketchup.
This sounds great, doesn't it?
Hoping for a bit of heat. I've got a really spicy palette.
I want to taste some heat.
Three minutes from plating.
Fantastic. Well done, you.
I'm not sure what to make of the coconut potatoes,
but I think the mango and pineapple ketchup is going to be sweet and sharp
and fresh, and just lighten everything up.
Right. Ketchup on.
-Go, go, go, go, Jamie. Go get them.
I'm worried about that. That's making me nervous.
OK, guys. I've made you a Balinese chicken,
stuffed with coconut and ginger, lemon grass, a fragrant rice,
coconut potatoes, and served with a mango and pineapple ketchup.
It's funny old business, this.
I'm struggling to comprehend quite how it all goes together.
The chicken tastes like it's almost stuffed with frangipane.
Yeah, it's like... It's like jaggery.
Yeah, it's like he's got a Bakewell tart filling.
And then the sauce is like a smoothie.
I'm baffled, if I'm honest.
But the potatoes are delicious.
They're beautifully crispy on the outside,
light and fluffy on the inside, but I don't get the coconut bit.
I think there's too much going on.
It completely misses the mark for me, I'm afraid.
The chicken is dry, the filling inside is just of lemon grass
and really, really harsh, and the filling is sucking out all the moisture of the chicken breast.
I like the pineapple sauce.
I like the sweetness with the heat of the chilli, and I like the crispy
potatoes, but honestly, what I like about that dish ends there.
That was incredibly tough.
That was the toughest thing I've ever done with cooking.
You know, Christmas dinner for 28 people, easy, compared to that.
That is so hard.
I'm just happy that I got two plates of food out that I was fairly happy with.
-How are you doing?
Not good. I haven't cooked the rice.
The rice is, like, 15, 20 minutes.
But the rice goes with the main course?
-You've got enough time for that.
-I hope so.
-You're not panicking unduly, are you?
No, I'm not.
Really hope she manages to achieve a nice little kind of crunchy on the
outside, nicely kind of strongly favoured fishcake, nice and moist,
delicious fish in the middle.
-How long's it going to take?
-It's going to take just a few more minutes,
-just to get it brown.
-And all the accompaniments are done?
Lots of kind of heat and spices in there,
tempered with that mango and pepper salad. I think it sounds delicious.
-Is that it now?
Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. Off you go.
It's nice. Really nice.
Today I've made for you fish cutlets and I serve it with mango pepper
salad and home-made sweet chilli sauce.
This is exactly what I was hoping for.
It has got all the flavour I was expecting, and more.
It is laden with wonderful layers of spice.
It's got that kick of chilli, which is merging on hiccup-inducing,
which is how you kind of want the chilli to be.
What she's got really well is the contrasting bits and pieces.
That kind of nice, sweet, sticky, spicy chilli sauce to go with it,
and then the really kind of fresh and refreshing kind of salsa on the side.
Just absolutely delicious.
This dish has been cooked by somebody who has an enormous amount of pride in what they do.
It's vibrant. It's alive with flavours.
And then you've got all that lovely fruit as well, which has also got
little flecks of chilli in it. John, that's lovely.
That is dancing in my mouth.
I've got a little bit of spicy sweat upon my brow.
Satisfaction, they call that.
Now, Zaleha, you haven't got your rice on, have you?
-How long does the rice take?
-I hope it's about 15 minutes.
Right. Cos that's all you've got.
I want that curry to be laden with spice, almost that fiery heat.
I'm hoping it's this kind of rich, golden turmeric bowl of delight.
Oh, that rice is touch-and-go, isn't it?
Touch-and-go on the rice.
-Imagine serving a curry in Malaysia without rice.
The bit I'm actually really excited about is the pickle.
I think when you have a dish like that,
you need something just to refresh the palette.
-Your chicken cooked?
Brilliant. Is it how you want it?
-So all we are waiting for is that rice?
-You're four minutes over.
-Is it done?
-We've got to go now, Zaleha.
-I think that's it.
-Off you go. Well done. Five minutes over.
I hope that rice is cooked.
-Sorry for the delay.
That's all right.
Today I've made for you gulai pahang.
It's sort of chicken cooked in spices and coconut milk,
tomato rice, and pineapple and cucumber chutney.
She's a little bit late, but you'd
-almost queue up for this kind of food.
I would wait another hour to eat this.
The depth of flavour - it's just so rich and so intensely flavoured,
and the chutney or the pickle at the end just weaves it all together and
it's just incredible.
One of my favourite bits is this little potato here,
which has just absorbed all those lovely spices.
It's rich, it's warming, it's really, really comforting.
This just ticks all the boxes.
That lady has done that chicken great honour.
And we've got heat, and we've got spice that's making my lips numb.
I've done my bit.
It's a huge relief. A huge relief.
I probably put way too much to do,
but I just want to push myself to the maximum.
I don't want to go home.
I thought it was a great ground. Solid cooking from these guys.
Really solid. Some great ideas, some really good skills on show.
On the whole, I'm really impressed.
Well, you asked for Zaleha to give you a bit more spice after the first round,
and she did that for you.
She had to convince you, and you seem quite happy about it.
She struggled a little bit today with timing,
but that lady's flavours - John, they are vibrant and alive.
I loved Alex's little fritters.
Thought they were absolutely delightful.
She didn't manage the mayonnaise.
I'll forgive her because I thought they were great.
The pork and clam stew wasn't really a stew.
However, for me, the flavours were wonderful.
We know Jamie to be a decent cook. He proved that in the first round.
I think his touch is fine, but these flavour combinations were...
Well, they were unusual, John.
Well, I think that Jamie's just gone out on a limb.
I think he wants to prove that he is different from everybody else.
We know he's a good cook, but, frustratingly,
those two courses didn't quite work for him in this round.
Richard really pushed himself and was really up against it.
I loved his tortellini.
I think the cep filling inside that tortellini was delightful.
The main course, not without mistake, though.
The steak itself, slightly chewy.
The corn puree, a little bit watery.
Cos he was rushing around.
Unfortunately, one of these cooks has got to go.
-Who are you going to say goodbye to?
I would really love to show them I'm good enough to carry on in the
competition. If I get to the quarterfinal,
there's every chance I can kick on.
I'd love to go all the way, but, like, one thing at a time,
and if I can get through today, I'll be the happiest man.
We have made a decision.
One of you is leaving us.
very well done, ladies.
You are quarterfinalists.
..and last quarterfinalist...
-Jamie, sorry, mate. Good to have met you.
Thanks very much indeed. Take care. Bye-bye.
I feel a little bit of regret,
but I think I possibly could have done slightly better.
But, you know, everyone's got to have their time to go.
They were three great cooks to cook with, so, you know,
I wish them all the best.
It's huge being a MasterChef quarterfinalist, can't believe it.
I'm so happy. I was very, very scared.
I thought I was going home for a second.
Feel like it's a really big achievement.
I'm really proud. I need to...
Yeah, build my confidence a little bit and try and stay calm.
I'm just overjoyed. So, so happy.
It's going to be my husband and my two girls,
they're going to be the first to know.
I am ready for more. Bring it on.
Tomorrow night, it's the quarterfinal.
And Richard, Zaleha and Alex
will be joining Louise, James and Jess to fight for their place,
cooking for one of the country's top restaurant critics.
This is a pudding that I like and I will remember.