It's the second week of heats, and seven more hopefuls need to pull out all the stops to impress judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace.
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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.
In the MasterChef kitchen, I feel like I might be a little bit crazy.
I might talk a little bit more than actually cook.
So I live with a flatmate at the moment,
so he's the lucky one.
He gets to sample all my dishes.
I'm looking forward to cooking for John and Gregg,
to be honest - I don't really fear cooking for anybody,
because I can cook.
A very warm welcome to the MasterChef kitchen.
You are here, I'm guessing, because you love to cook
and you have a burning ambition to get better and better.
This, your first challenge, is the market test.
We want you to cook for us one great plate of food.
Choose wisely, there's some great ingredients in there -
and play to your strengths.
Ladies and gentlemen...
ten minutes to choose your ingredients, off you go.
Today's market ingredients include venison...
..chicken, Parma ham...
..sea bream and pollock.
There's also a range of cheeses...
..nuts, grains and pulses...
..and a selection of fruit and vegetables.
I'm trying not to go blank.
I'm all right, I think.
Fish is something I really love to cook,
so it made sense for me to go straight to the fish.
For me, this is one of the most exciting parts of the competition,
because this is where we get a glimpse of our cooks' potential.
They've only got one opportunity to impress.
They can cook anything they want.
It's not like going to the supermarket
and having a load of time.
It's a bit nerve-racking.
Ladies and gentlemen, one hour and ten minutes.
At the end of this, three of you are leaving us.
Oh! These weigh a tonne!
27-year-old George is from Bristol and works in IT recruitment.
So, I'm at MasterChef because it's something I've always wanted to do,
but really my sister's been nagging me since I can't remember, really.
She's always thought I was a pretty good cook.
Your bench looks tidy. It almost looks professional.
How much cooking do you do, George?
Not enough. Not as much as I want to, but as much as I possibly can.
I guess my main passion is Cypriot food.
My old man's Greek Cypriot, so I take a lot of inspiration from him.
And what does Dad think of you coming on here?
Very proud - but he keeps on telling me not to screw it up,
so, no pressure.
What are you going to make for us?
So, I'm going to do a pan-roasted piece of pollock
served on samphire, celeriac puree, with some girolles,
tarragon dressing and some braised fennel, as well.
George's dish sounds great.
Crispy skin on the fish, the fish cooked beautifully.
Fish and mushrooms, fantastic -
but then we've got fennel on top of that, and samphire.
I wonder if there's one thing too many.
29-year-old Kate lives in Cornwall with her husband,
two daughters and six hens.
I've just been cooking like an absolute lunatic.
My girls have already been commenting on how much I'm cooking
and making them taste things!
So, yeah, it's a big deal for me, and I'm very excited.
-What are you making?
-I'm making a slight variation
on my dad's ghormeh sabzi, which is an Iranian stew
with fresh herbs, kidney beans and lime,
and, traditionally, lamb.
So, I'm going to do it with some venison.
Have you ever cooked this dish with anything else but lamb?
Kate's bench smells amazing.
However, the spinach and herb stew can't be overcooked
and taste like mulch, it's got to be really well seasoned and delicious.
The venison has to be soft and still pink and not dry and overcooked.
Exciting food from Kate - but food we've never seen before.
A lifelong Manchester City fan,
56-year-old Chris is a grandfather of four.
I've got a galley kitchen, so it's quite narrow.
People, when they walk into the kitchen,
seem to think that's the best place to stop and talk.
That frustrates me greatly.
I like to be in my own zone.
Mither me at your peril.
Chris, you're chopping an onion like a pro!
-Am I really?
-Yeah. How much cooking do you do?
I do all the cooking. My wife can burn water!
What are you making for us, Chris?
We're doing char-grilled polenta with cabbage
stuffed with vegetables and some golden raisins,
a little bit of bread.
I was a greengrocer - love people that cook veg.
-Thank you very much.
A stuffed cabbage leaf, classic French, is called a chou farci.
It's usually made with a mixture of mincemeat
which has been flavoured very well,
then it's cooked using a tomato sauce or something similar.
Instead, Chris has got a parcel full of vegetables, golden raisins,
carrots, celery, cabbage, Parmesan cheese and char-grilled polenta.
I don't know. We may be in for a culinary discovery.
You've had 30 minutes. 30 minutes gone.
Former A-level theatre studies teacher Aimee
would like to open a tapas-style restaurant.
I think I'll be quite composed.
I'm hoping that my game face will kick in.
I come from a drama background,
and I'm quite good at putting on a brave front
even when, you know, inside I'm pretty nervous.
I don't know what to make of Aimee just yet,
but I think she's up for a bit of a challenge.
She's doing us a piece of pan-fried pollock,
she's got some potatoes, some radishes, some crispy ham,
and she's serving the whole lot with some samphire and some aioli.
That fish is going to have to be fall-apart, translucent
and absolutely wonderful.
What part does food play in your life?
Food is my passion.
So, it's when I've had a really stressful day, which is most days,
once I've got my 20-month-old daughter to bed
I escape to my stove,
and it's just, you know, a couple of hours for me, really.
34-year-old estate agent Gaurav cooks at home
for his wife and two-year-old daughter.
I find cooking very therapeutic.
It's my chill-out time.
I don't know whether the MasterChef kitchen's going to be therapeutic,
but, you know, at home it's therapeutic, for sure!
What're you making now?
It's basically a celeriac puree with the venison,
bok choi and a red wine spiced reduction.
There's a little bit of star anise,
a little bit of cinnamon, and some mushrooms, as well, to go with that.
Interesting mix of ingredients.
-Fingers crossed, right?
What Gaurav's got to do is make sure his venison's cooked properly,
his celeriac puree's lovely and creamy,
his red wine sauce is sticky,
and you can taste the spice he's promising.
Guys, you've got 20 minutes left.
54-year-old Mary is from Coventry.
At my job, I do the admin side of our business -
but I don't do as much as I used to, now,
because what I like doing the best
is looking after my granddaughter, Lola.
She just relies on me for chocolate buttons.
-She doesn't really eat my food much!
Mary's got a breast of chicken.
Underneath the skin she's stuffed lots and lots of chopped ham
and loads and loads of garlic,
and cooked the whole thing so the skin's crispy
and it's very, very buttery.
She's serving it with the crowd-pleasing roast potatoes,
which look as crispy as you like,
some buttered carrots and a chicken sauce.
It could be really delicious.
I just hope, with everybody else's cooking,
it's going to be enough to get her through.
-What's your style?
-Probably home cooking.
I've got a stone bake oven, I love cooking in that outside -
I've got a fire pit, I love setting fire to meat and stuff like that.
I love cooking for people because it brings the family together,
and I like them telling me it's good, as well.
Sarah grew up on a farm in Harrogate
and used to help her dad milking the cows.
I would like to say I'm a methodical cook.
However my boyfriend would say otherwise, as would my sister.
They'd say I'm really, really stressy,
don't like anyone else in the kitchen -
which is also true, as well,
because when I'm cooking I literally want to be the only one cooking.
I am making a white chocolate and raspberry brownie
with pistachio brittle, a lime meringue,
like, mini ones, and then a raspberry coulis.
-Hopefully you like it.
What's your job?
I'm currently training to be a primary school teacher.
I was in the military beforehand, so...
In what capacity were you part of the military?
I was in the military police.
-Did you do any tours?
-Yes, I did.
The Falkland Islands and Afghanistan,
and then I served in Cyprus for just short of a year, as well, so...
Being the only pud maker in the room, I wish you luck.
Thank you very much. Absolutely no pressure at all!
A great brownie puffs up as it cooks,
and the outside is lovely and crispy and stodgy.
That's the whole idea of a brownie.
I don't want a cake, I want a brownie.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have just ten minutes.
In control. Just about ready to go to plate, so...
Panic, panic, panic!
Quick, quick, quick, quick, quick, quick!
That's it! Stop. Time's up.
Let's see yours, where's yours?
I had loads of time, and then I didn't have any time at all.
-It's so hard to know how it's gone, don't you find?
Look how amazing everyone's looks.
Oh, my God. Whose is that one?!
Chris. Please, come and join us.
First up is photographer Chris.
He's serving a cabbage leaf filled with carrot, fennel, golden raisins,
breadcrumbs, thyme and parsley,
on a bed of polenta with chopped tomatoes
and a beef and red wine sauce.
It is very unexpected, it's very individual,
and, for me, it's very delicious.
Inside your stuffed cabbage leaf
is a lovely array of very well seasoned vegetables,
and your rich beefy sauce around the outside I really like.
I'm not convinced.
The cabbage leaf is well cooked, so are the vegetables,
but the sweetness of tomato and the sweetness of raisins,
really sweet dried fruit, against polenta and a red wine sauce...
That sweetness seems out of place to me.
Oh, God, it's scary.
I think I might have just overdone the garnish,
but, you know, that's the way it is.
Aimee has made pan-roasted pollock topped with julienne potatoes
and is serving it with green beans,
aioli, samphire, radish and crispy ham.
You've got some very, very good flavour combinations on there.
The saltiness and crispiness of that ham is lovely...
..but the fish is slightly overcooked, the skin isn't crispy,
and I don't think you can crisp it up, so get rid of it -
and there just is not enough chips, beans, aioli and ham.
Your aioli is seasoned absolutely beautifully, I love it.
It's strong with garlic, it's lovely and creamy,
and it goes really nicely with the bits around the plate -
but right now, I'm sad to say, your fish is overcooked,
and I want a lot more of your good bits.
I would serve that again, it's just, you know,
I would probably think about serving it in a very different way.
Estate agent Gaurav has made pan-roasted venison
with a celeriac mash, bok choi,
shiitake and girolle mushrooms, served with a red wine sauce.
I would prefer the venison a little more cooked.
There's one bit here that just looks raw.
You've got a girolle mushroom, which is a delicate little mushroom,
and you've got a shiitake mushroom that almost beefy.
The bok choi, when you bite into it it releases a load of juice.
Well, that juice is washing away flavour.
Your venison is undercooked, in my opinion.
Your celeriac puree needs to be a lot finer.
I was really excited about your sauce,
cos you promised me the flavours of spice and star anise,
and there is that wonderful aniseed in the background,
but I'd like a lot more of it.
I can smash that dish,
as in, like, I can make it really, really, really, really good,
but, you know...
Oh, well, what can you do? Let's see.
27-year-old George has cooked pan-roasted pollock
on a celeriac puree
with braised fennel, girolles pickled in lemon juice,
samphire and a tarragon dressing.
I like the butteriness of the fish. It's salty...
..but those mushrooms taste like they've been kept in a pickling jar.
They're far too sharp.
It's too sharp for the mushroom
and it's also too sharp for the rest of the dish.
What I like is your use of tarragon.
With the samphire and the butter, it's really, really lovely.
Your fennel, the bit without the core that's still left inside it,
is lovely and soft and goes really, really nicely
with your very, very creamy celeriac puree.
I think there's decent promise,
but there's definitely mistakes on this plate.
When I was cooking my dish I thought this is looking all right,
the dish is good.
Maybe I took my eye off the ball a little bit.
Mum of two Kate is serving pan-roasted venison
on an Iranian stew of kidney beans, spinach, coriander,
fenugreek and lime...
..with a salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion, mint and honey,
creme fraiche dressed cucumber topped with lemon zest,
and saffron rice.
That salad was the first thing I tasted.
I've got the freshness of mint
and the mildest sweet undercurrent of honey,
which is absolutely delicious.
Then I eat a bit of the meat, which is beautifully tender,
and then I get stuck into that bean, herb, fenugreek and lime,
which is just stunning. These flavours are new to me.
That is a delight.
The rice is beautifully cooked and soft,
but yet there's a little tiny bit of saffron across the top.
There's a lovely sharpness of your bean stew.
Your venison is actually taking the place of the lamb,
cos it tastes like lamb - how you've done that I'm not quite sure.
Everything goes really nicely together.
I'm obviously completely delighted.
I just feel a bit shellshocked, actually, to be honest.
Company administrator Mary has made roast chicken breast
stuffed with shallots, garlic and Parma ham,
topped with mushrooms and sage,
served with carrots, roast potatoes and a Madeira and chicken sauce.
Mary, it's not a great looking dish.
However, you can cook.
Those potatoes are soft in the middle,
they are crispy on the outside.
There is a perfect shine across your sauce.
The skin of your chicken is crispy on the outside,
it's beautifully moist in the middle
and it's got a lovely saltiness of ham.
-That is lovely.
Your dish needs a bit of polish.
It is the diamond in the rough.
It's probably a three carrot diamond rather than an 18-carat diamond!
But it's good. It's good, good food.
I'm feeling really, really good.
I love the fact that I put three carrots on the plate.
My plates are usually absolutely massive, piled high,
so it's very elegant and small for me.
Finally, trainee primary school teacher Sarah
has made a white chocolate and raspberry brownie
topped with crushed pistachios,
a pistachio nut brittle
and lime meringues with a raspberry coulis.
I love your raspberry coulis, I think it's delicious,
and I really like your brittle.
It's a cake - and the reason for that
is that you've got raspberries in there,
and very thick white chocolate with lots of sugar.
And that's making the whole thing very, very dense.
I like it.
That is not a bad brownie.
It could be a little bit more moist,
and your meringues could be a little bit lighter.
However, I think that's a brave and pretty accomplished delivery.
I was sweating up there.
I was happy apart from the few errors...
..but, you know, that's life.
We've had a great day, I think we've eaten very well.
What that does mean is a tough decision.
I think we've got two ladies who are just brilliant cooks.
Kate may not just be the standout cook of this round,
she may be one of the standout cooks in the competition,
because that Iranian food she cooked for us, John,
was an absolute delight.
I love Kate's food, and I hope she's got more up her sleeve.
Kate goes through to the next round.
Next person, and you and I loved her, is Mary.
When Mary brought the dish up I thought, "Really?"
It looks a little bit amateurish.
Its flavours were far from amateurish,
its textures were far from amateurish.
That is good food.
There were quite a few issues with Gaurav's dish.
Venison is not cooked enough.
Bok choi not quite at home in that dish.
I think it was a great idea,
unfortunately the delivery let the whole dish down.
For me, I think Gaurav is off the pace.
Chris' invention intrigues me.
Cabbage and beef sauce, soft polenta with vegetables.
I really liked it, you were not quite so enamoured.
I'm eating a thick savoury dish with polenta
and a beefy sauce, and all of a sudden I got a raisin.
It's like someone's emptied muesli into it.
Aimee made a really heady, garlic-rich aioli...
..but the fish was overcooked.
For me, the jury's out. I don't know.
George cooked for us a classic dish, really.
On the whole some tasty, tasty flavours,
but for some reason or other
he decided to try and pickle his mushrooms
so they'd become sour and sharp.
The problem is, George is a decent cook in a room full of good cooks.
I'm impressed with Sarah.
The meringues, although not perfect, were more than edible,
and we had a decent tasting brownie, and she made a coulis.
But the brownie was just this stodgy brown chocolate cake,
because it had white chocolate and raspberries inside a chocolate mix.
It definitely wasn't my best cooking.
If I get further on I'd like to show them
that there's definitely more to me than just a brownie.
As soon as I came out, it's like you want more.
It would be amazing to have another opportunity.
I'd absolutely, dearly love to go through,
and I think now that I've got my bearings
I can probably be more confident doing that the second time round.
I really, really want to go through.
I've got way much more to show and way much more I can do.
That was really good cooking.
It's lovely to taste, it's really tough to judge.
For us, there were two outstanding cooks today.
Congratulations. You two are going straight through to the next round.
The third person going through to the next round...
Well done, George.
The fourth and final person going through to the next round...
Gaurav, Chris, Aimee, thank you very much indeed.
It was a tight call, I have to tell you.
I kind of half expected it
when I knew I'd split John and Gregg's opinion.
So, disappointed, but never mind.
Today's competition was really good.
It's very much a roller-coaster.
I feel positive. Gutted, but positive -
and even though I only got this far, I still feel that, you know,
I'm taking so much from it.
You are all fighting it out for a quarterfinal place.
At the end of this, one of you will be going home.
You have the honour today to present your food to two finalists
and a winner of MasterChef.
Tony Rodd, Emma Spitzer, and the winner Simon Wood.
Three great finalists - you have got to impress them.
Ladies and gentlemen, one hour and 15 minutes, two courses.
I'm feeling very lucky to be in the competition right now.
I wasn't entirely happy with how I performed in my first challenge.
Moving forward, I need to stick to what I know.
Big flavours, bold flavours, and not try to be too fancy.
I'm cooking a roasted rack of lamb with cauliflower two ways.
I'm doing a puree and I'm doing kind of like a pan-roasted,
with some courgettes.
Are there Greek influences here in your lamb, do you think?
Well, I'm going to be seasoning it with a little bit of cumin,
but this is actually kind of my take on one of my dad's favourite dishes,
but he does a slow roasted, for five hours, lamb and cauliflower,
kind of, one big pot kind of thing.
Have you fed your recipe to your dad?
Yes, I have. He was impressed, actually.
-My second course is going to be rose muhallebi
served with pistachio praline and a raspberry sauce.
Muhallebi is made with milk, isn't it?
Rose water scented, quite strong...
-..and it's set with cornflour.
The best way to describe it is kind of like a set custard,
similar to maybe a panna cotta.
I've never had one of these muhallebis, these set custards -
but flavoured with the sweetness and spices that he's using?
I love the idea of that.
I'm really happy to be in the competition still.
It's a very strange combination of incredibly stressful,
really scary and completely exhilarating.
So, it's a weird sort of cocktail, but it's extremely addictive.
I'm making kuku sabzi, which is an Iranian herb frittata,
as your starter, with marinated cucumber salad -
and then I'm straining some yoghurt,
and I'll hopefully quenelle that on the top with nigella seeds,
which again are used a lot in Iranian cookery.
You are going to put yoghurt on an omelette?
I love it. It's really fresh.
It's not heavy, it's...
I think it's a really lovely way to start a meal.
Your main course is?
Is rack of lamb with pommes Anna and a courgette sauce.
Well, I have to tell you, your food was so impressive in the last round
-all you've got to do is just impress us again.
OK, that settles me a bit.
Lamb and potatoes, they're going to be great.
It's the starter which is going to be the one.
That's the big question mark.
Kuku sabzi, a frittata or a baked omelette
with lots and lots of herbs.
I've never had a baked egg with yoghurt,
I've never had an omelette with yoghurt, but who knows?
For my main I'm roasting a chicken breast,
and I'm making a red Thai curry sauce to go with that
with a carrot and peanut salad...
..and for dessert - I went to India and I loved chai,
and actually I dreamt the recipe one night.
Mini cardamom and orange doughnut fritters
on a masala chai custard.
You are obviously cooking Thai.
Mm-hm. I do love a bit of spice, a bit of chilli.
After the comments from the last round,
what do you feel you need to do now?
I need to definitely smarten up the presentation.
-Make sure I've got loads of flavour in there.
Great. Mary, looking forward to it.
-Are you going to have enough time to do it?
-If you two go away.
-We will do.
If Mary can deliver a really good pungent, strong, hot,
lip-smacking red curry sauce to go with the chicken,
I'll be really happy.
Loads of work.
Crispy fritters in masala chai cardamom custard.
That could be very sweet.
She's got to be very, very careful.
Oh, good Lord!
I am cooking a mushroom risotto with truffle oil,
with a fillet of sea bass and a Parmesan crisp,
and then, for pudding, sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce,
a bit of cream and then a little bit of sugar work.
What sugar work are you doing?
I'm going to try and do one of those basket things,
but I've never done it before, so I don't know how it's going to go.
-Have you honestly...
-? Honestly never done it before,
I've just watched videos, so it could go really wrong.
-Your pudding's in the oven?
-Yes, it's in.
And you haven't got your risotto on the go just yet?
-No, not just yet.
-You've got 30 minutes to go,
and you haven't started cooking the risotto yet.
It's going to go in now.
If Sarah's only given herself 30 minutes to make that risotto,
she's in danger of having that rice not cooked.
Then she's got the very difficult job
of trying to highlight the delicate flavour of fish
while using truffle and cheese and asparagus.
That's a gargantuan task.
That will be done. It will. It's going to be done.
My life since MasterChef has changed phenomenally.
I now own my own restaurant
in the heart of the city centre, fine dining,
and it's my dream come true - and it's all because of MasterChef.
Thank you. Table three.
If you've got that desire and passion to go a long way,
then this is the perfect springboard for it.
It's a pretty difficult round, this one.
You've got to balance between something that's easy
but also something that's going to blow the judges away.
I remember cooking for a couple of contestants,
and one of them was Dhruv Baker.
You know, I'm happy with that, I'm not delighted -
but then if I went to a friend's house for dinner and got this,
I wouldn't be at all upset.
I was pretty devastated by that,
because I thought my food was pretty good.
I like to think I'm always sympathetic.
You have to take into consideration the nerves, the time restraints -
but I'd like to be honest, as well. I think it's important.
Good health. Lovely to see you guys again.
My biggest concern is how that lamb's cooked,
because we want it pink in the middle,
and all too many times we see a raw bit of lamb being served,
or it's gone grey.
-George, you've got four minutes.
-How's that look?
-Yeah, it looks good.
Looks good. I'm quite happy with that.
-How's your sauce look?
-Sauce looks good.
Where's your cauliflower puree?
Cauliflower puree is here.
Where's your courgettes?
-On the hob.
-Right, you've got lots of plating up to do,
and you've now got three minutes.
What's left to go on, George?
Just the sauce.
Go, go, go, go, go! Go!
Big smile on your face, George. Well done, mate.
-How're you doing?
-Very well. How are you doing?
-Very good, thank you, very good.
Today I've cooked a roasted rack of lamb for you,
served with cauliflower two ways - one is kind of pan roasted,
with a cauliflower puree, as well, some courgette,
which is done in mint and parsley, and a lamb sauce.
I hope you guys enjoy.
First of all, it smells good.
-Everything about this says "eat me now".
Love that cauliflower - I mean, I could eat that all day long,
absolutely love it.
The fat on the lamb's been rendered down just enough,
and the outside's nice and crispy,
yet it's still pink in the middle, which is great.
I think that George has absolutely nailed this.
It's possibly the best plate of food I've eaten at this table,
and we've had some good dishes.
George has cooked his lamb beautifully, and it's crusty,
and lots and lots of cumin, and that makes the whole dish come alive,
and it's got that authenticity with the food inspired by his father.
The flavour combinations are different.
-15 minutes, then dessert.
-Are you all right, George?
-What's the matter?
The caramel has burnt...
How long does it take to make a caramel?
-Not 15 minutes, mate.
-Come on, George.
So, for dessert, George is making us a rose muhallebi,
which is a set custard,
pistachio praline, and a raspberry sauce.
This is a dessert I tend to do myself,
and the key is getting it set in that short space of time.
I'm waiting for the caramel to caramelise, basically.
Erm, yeah, it's not quite there.
That is annoying.
-How's your custard?
-The muhallebi, it's in the blast chiller.
-That's all you've got.
-That's not set, son.
-I'm going to go for it.
-You're going to turn it out?
George, you can't turn them all out, George, that one won't turn out.
That is liquid, son.
Right, we'll keep it in.
We'll flood it in raspberry sauce...
All right, OK. Are we going to serve any brittle?
No, it's not really brittle, it's just chewy.
OK, cool, thanks, guys.
-There you go.
-There you go.
I have made for you a rose and vanilla muhallebi,
served with a raspberry sauce.
The praline didn't work, so it's not there.
-I hope you enjoy.
Thank you very much, cheers.
I'm pretty pleased with the lamb.
The muhallebi, I tasted it before I set it,
so it tasted good.
I just hope I haven't over-frozen the outside
and the inside's just wet.
Fingers crossed, they like it.
You can only taste the rose when you take the coulis off.
Yeah. It's just too overpowering, the raspberry coulis.
I find this a bit of a let-down.
Ooh, ooh, look at that.
It's like milk jelly with raspberries on top.
All I can taste is raspberry. I can't taste anything else.
The raspberry is delicious, but that's the predominant flavour,
and this dessert is supposed to be about the custard.
So, Kate's given us kuku sabzi
with marinated cucumber salad and strained yoghurt.
I've no idea what it is, but it sounds great.
I love marinated cucumber and strained yoghurt,
I think that's a really, really nice combination.
Kate, you've made a triangular green egg.
At this stage, I agree, that's exactly what it is.
You've got two minutes, Kate, what have you got left to do, please?
I've got my cucumber salad, yoghurt, and radishes,
and nigella seeds, and some oil.
You've got about a minute left, Kate, and looking good.
There we go, there we go...
Come on, come on, come on.
Today I've cooked for you kuku sabzi,
which is an Iranian herb frittata.
I've done you some marinated cucumber on the top
with some strained yoghurt and nigella seeds and radishes.
It smells fantastic, it's really well presented.
If this tastes as good as it looks, then we're in for a treat.
Technically, it's very good,
but it doesn't deliver on flavour like it promised.
The tastiest thing on the plate is the yoghurt.
If you eat anything else on there without it, it's really quite bland.
It's lacking in maybe a little bit of acidity in there,
something just to lift it a little bit.
I like all the components together, and I like the idea of it,
but it's a bit flat, it needs a bit more seasoning,
it needs something else in there.
I really like the flavours, the herbiness.
However, I'm not sure I like the texture.
I quite like the rubbery texture, I think it's really interesting,
but I think it's one of those things that's going to divide the crowd.
Roasted rack of lamb, it's battle of the lamb in the kitchen today.
Served with courgette, as well.
Again, it's about how the lamb's cooked in that space of time.
Five minutes to serve this lamb, please.
Is the lamb cooked the way you wanted it, Kate?
That's under, for me.
-It's not raw...
-..but it's very, very pink.
-Come on, Kate, you can do this.
-OK - I'm just annoyed.
-Courgette sauce, yeah?
Let's go, let's go.
That lamb, that lamb, that lamb.
For your main course, I've made roasted rack of lamb,
which I've served you with pommes Anna,
a courgette sauce and some herb-dressed courgettes.
-I hope you like it.
I feel irritated that I undercooked the lamb.
That was definitely the hardest two courses I've ever cooked.
There's a lot of pressure.
The lamb's been cooked nicely in the middle, it's still pink,
but my fat's not rendered down at all,
and that's just confidence to leave it in a pan
a little bit longer before it goes in the oven.
I was intrigued by the courgette sauce,
cos I've never had one before, so I liked the idea of it,
but the sauce is very watery, as I thought it would be,
with it being courgettes.
It's a shame. The flavours are all there to work with,
but they just need lifting, again.
It doesn't have the depth of flavour that I've seen from Kate
so far in the competition. However, it's still a good dish.
Mary, where are you? You've got 15 minutes to go, where are you?
I'm doing pretty well, I think I'm organised...as I can be.
Are we going to get this out in 15?
So, Mary's giving us roast Thai chicken breast on a red curry sauce,
with carrot and peanut salad, rice and crispy rice noodles.
It's just getting the balance of flavour right,
and not making it too spicy.
It sounds really nice.
-Three minutes left.
-We want your food to be smart, Mary.
-Yes, I know.
Come on, Mare, get your act together.
You got 30 seconds, Mary.
Yes, it's coming now - sorry, sorry, sorry.
I'm putting those in these little dishes, if they fit.
-Let's go, please.
-OK, thank you.
She's so messy.
-Thank you very much.
I've made for you a roasted chicken breast on a Thai red curry sauce
with a peanut and carrot spiced salad and some crispy noodles,
-and I hope you like it.
-Thank you very much.
I think, presentation wise, she could be a little bit cleaner,
but I'm looking forward to eating it, cos it really does smell great.
I think that this delivers flavour, heat, aromats,
everything you'd expect from Asian food in bucketfuls.
It's really tasty, it's a good plate of food.
The chicken is so tender, which is gorgeous.
I think Mary's done herself proud with this,
I think it's really tasty.
It's not easy to cook Asian food, it really isn't.
It's a real marriage of flavours,
that you've got to get the balance exactly right,
and Mary's got it exactly right.
It's fragrant, I absolutely love it, I think it's delicious.
It's not a classic Thai dish in any way at all,
but you know what I like about Mary? Her food tastes great.
It needs to be smartened up, but it's really tasty.
So, Mary's dessert is a mini cardamom orange doughnut fritter
with masala chai custard,
which, I've got to be honest, I'm really excited about.
I'm not a huge doughnut fan, I tend to find them quite heavy and doughy,
so if she gets those right, then I'll be quite happy.
Mary, how's your custard?
Yeah, it's thickening now, it's doing well, my custard. Good.
I'm going to get these out in a sec.
I don't want them too dark, but I want them cooked.
-You've got a minute left!
Oh, I know, I'm done, I'm done, done here.
Look at that, Mary, we might get presentation on this dish.
Right, don't run out, go.
I like the look of it, Mary.
Nice. Anything else to go on the plate, Mary?
-No, that's it, my darling.
-OK, let's go!
-Thank you, sweetheart.
-Well done, Mary, well done.
-Thank you very much.
I've made for you some mini fritters
flavoured with cardamom and orange
on a masala chai custard,
with some pomegranate seeds and toasted salted pistachios.
-Hope you like it.
-Thank you very much.
It looks absolutely stunning, and I just want to dive in.
It's not like anything I've had before.
They're different, and I love the size of the fritters.
I do think they're a tiny bit heavy in the middle, that's just my taste.
I really like this.
I'd like a bit more cardamom, I'd certainly like more orange,
but the custard's nice, and I quite like the fritter,
I don't think it's too heavy.
I'm going to finish this, I think it's stunning, beautiful dish.
I do really like her custard.
Thick, creamy, not too sweet, and the cardamom makes it almost smoky.
-Doughnuts, a little bit dense.
-They're not light and fluffy,
they should puff up and become lovely and light,
but they're almost, sort of, biscuit in texture.
I loved it so much, it was the best.
I loved it!
You have 16 minutes, Sarah.
-16 minutes on your main course.
Oh, that's gone so quick! Oh, my gosh.
Don't let me down, risotto.
Come on. Cook!
One of the tricky things is for her to make sure
that that rice is cooked perfectly.
Not stodgy, not overcooked,
but also it's got to be cooked through.
If she gets that really heady truffle flavour,
that could be a winner for me.
How's your risotto looking?
It's getting there. It is getting there.
All right. You've got five minutes, yeah?
-Your cheese crisps are in the oven?
They're not going to be done.
These will. These will.
-Your fish will be done,
but you don't think your Parmesan crisps will?
Not by the looks of the oven, no.
Why've you taken out of the oven?
Because I think they are done.
I'm going to put them back in.
I'm just in a bit of a panic now.
Take a breath, you'll be fine.
Are you happy with the risotto, Sarah?
Yeah, I am, actually.
The fish is on the way.
You are a minute over.
-Which isn't bad.
-Are we ready to go?
just the Parmesan crisps - if they are crisps.
Let's have a look.
What? What are you "Oh, no-ing" about? It looks fine to me.
There, they're done. No, they're not.
Yeah, yeah, that's fine.
That's fine. No, wait. Wait, wait.
I just want to do a squeeze of lemon over the top of the fish,
just a little...
That looks OK, actually.
There we go. Done. Ta-da!
-Don't forget to sing.
-That was a bit frantic, wasn't it?
-There you go.
-There you go.
-Thank you very much.
-There you go. You're welcome.
I have cooked for you a black truffle and mushroom risotto
with a fillet of sea bass, some asparagus, and a Parmesan crisp.
-I really hope you enjoy it.
The fish is cooked perfectly,
but chuck a few knobs of butter in at the end
and get that skin nice and crispy.
I like the fish. She hasn't cooked the wine off the risotto,
cos I can really taste the wine. I can't taste any truffle at all.
That rice is a little bit undercooked, as well.
It's just a little bit underwhelming, for me.
Aside from being a huge portion,
lack of seasoning, it's really...
It's not too bad.
The rice in the risotto is not soft, but chalky,
and the asparagus has just been kissed by the heat,
and it's still hard.
15 minutes, we want your sticky toffee pudding, please.
It's looking OK! Oh, it smells like sticky toffee pudding.
What's not to love about a sticky toffee pudding?
It looks a lot better when I watched it on the videos.
Do you think a sugar nest is necessary?
-With a sticky toffee pudding? Sticky enough for me.
I flirted with sugar work,
and it's not the round for doing it, I don't think.
There. Look at that one. Ooh!
-Ooh. Look at it!
-Oh, how exciting!
-It's sticky, It's a pudding...
-And it's moist.
-Two minutes, Sarah.
-OK, OK, yeah.
That's fine. Oh, is there going to be enough?
It looks OK, though, doesn't it?
I mean, it's nice and thick. It's a nice consistency.
How pretty is that?!
It's like a tiara for a unicorn.
And then one final touch. Just a bit of colour.
There. There we go.
-Good on her.
Good on her.
-There you go.
There we are.
I have cooked for you a sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce,
a lime cream,
and then just a bit of sugar work on top of it to break into.
-I hope you enjoy it.
I want a bowl of sticky toffee pudding with loads of sauce,
and ice cream or something melting over the top.
So, this looks like a cake and a sauce.
But if it tastes nice, I'll forgive it.
I think the cake is really light,
and I think it's got a delicious flavour.
It's a shame the sauce has just crystallised
and kind of gone a bit solid,
cos you want lots of lovely, glossy, caramel sauce over the top.
It's a lovely cake, but it's not a sticky toffee pudding.
It's... Unfortunately, I think it's missed the mark for me.
I'm a bit disappointed.
For Sarah's first-ever attempt at sugar work,
that's not bad.
Sponge is great...
..but the rest of it leaves a lot to be desired.
I've just been sweating buckets, like, oh, Lord.
I just got a little bit daft and just, "Argh," and crazy and, "Argh."
This is a always a tough round, and, I have to say,
it wasn't smooth sailing for anybody today.
A few little mistakes, but I've got to say,
I'm really pleased with the food all round.
George's main course was without fault.
The lamb, for me, was cooked very, very well.
I like the fat - it was crispy and had been rendered down.
George had issues with his dessert.
However, George's lamb main course was an absolute triumph.
In fact, it was my pick of the dishes.
I thought it was fantastic.
Sarah is full of ambition.
She pushes herself very, very hard.
She served asparagus and sea bass.
The asparagus wasn't cooked properly.
The sea bass flesh was absolutely fantastic.
The skin wasn't crispy.
The risotto, I'd like it to be cooked a little bit more.
Sarah's dessert - we didn't have sticky toffee pudding,
we had spreadable toffee sauce on top of a date cake.
Sarah today, I think, was a little overambitious.
Mary has proved yet again that she's got a great touch.
Lovely Thai inspired sauce.
-It's a shame, though, isn't it?
She puts all that flavour, gets the flavour out of the food,
and then, literally, throws it on the plate.
The dessert, I'm in two minds.
Loved, loved the chai custard. I thought it was delightful.
The fritters, not quite right. Too dense, too heavy.
Mary definitely has potential.
The question is, is she going to learn?
Kate's first round was absolutely wonderful.
We loved her food.
This round, she came up with very, very interesting ideas,
but they're things that will divide the crowd.
The egg frittata - not convinced by the texture of that.
Lamb with the courgette, the spices, wonderful flavours.
However, that lamb needed a little bit more cooking.
There's nobody who's got a clear round.
I would absolutely love it if I got through to the quarterfinal.
I would want to have a round where I don't make any mistakes.
I'm really annoyed about the lamb.
There's no question, that's a mistake -
but I suppose, in a way,
I am hoping at least if the flavours of the other things are good...
Because, you know, I can learn to cook lamb better than that.
As scary as it is,
I really want to stretch myself further
and just get into it and love it.
A quarterfinal place - that would just be ridiculous.
Just thinking about it now, it's getting me all excited -
but, you know, I don't want to get my hopes up.
There were some errors from all four of you.
However, there was also some cracking cooking.
The contestant leaving us...
Lovely to have met you. Well done.
I absolutely embraced this experience, you know?
I've loved it. It's just been absolutely crazy.
I'm sad to be leaving.
It's a whole different world.
You're just in a little bubble here, and my bubble's popped.
It was a great experience today. I'm feeling absolutely brilliant.
I want a glass of champagne -
and go and cook some more.
To be in the quarterfinals is astonishing,
and very exciting and it hasn't sunk in at all.
I'm seriously proud of myself, yeah.
I do want to give myself a bit of a pat on the back.
Buzzing for the next challenge, for the quarterfinal, yeah.
On Thursday night,
seven more home cooks battle it out for a place in the quarterfinal.
I'm missing something and I can't work out what it is!
This was just a collection of things that were not brilliantly cooked.
-What's it called?
-TO THE TUNE OF "Mah Na Mah Na":
-# Ba-ba ba-da-da. #
BOTH: # Ba ba-da-da! #
It's the second week of heats, and seven more hopefuls need to pull out all the stops to prove to judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace that they have the potential 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 venison, chicken, parma ham, sea bream and pollock. 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 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 - 2015's MasterChef finalists Tony Rodd and Emma Spitzer and champion Simon Wood.
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 the quarter-final.