Culinary competition. The remaining celebrities must cook a three-course meal for the country's most-feared restaurant critics, and for a place in the final three.
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16 celebrities have been battling it out
to win the coveted MasterChef crown.
It's do or die today, isn't it?
These celebrities have already reached the top of their profession.
But can they cut it in the kitchen?
Going home's definitely not an option.
No-one remembers second place.
I want to be in that final three.
May the best chef win.
Cooking doesn't get tougher than this.
It's the last of the Celebrity MasterChef semifinals.
Throughout this week,
these four celebrities have been pushed to their culinary limits.
The bar's been raised.
The standard of cooking is higher from everybody,
and if you drop below, it's not good enough.
The pressure steps up a notch with each round.
You can't even explain it.
Now just one challenge stands between them and a place in the final.
I'm really into it and I really don't want to go home.
This day's by far the biggest one.
You've got to go for it, haven't you?
Today they will be cooking for
three of the country's most feared restaurant critics.
Critics have fierce reputations.
John, if it's not absolutely right,
they will say so.
Bring it on.
All that separates you now from a place in the final three
are three courses of absolute stunning food.
One hour and 45 minutes. Good luck.
Nick, actor, the longest-serving member of Hollyoaks.
He huffs, he puffs.
This is a meltdown. I don't know what to do now.
But he has style. He has a very good palate.
You're literally one step away from being in the Final,
and if you get knocked out now...
I don't even want to think about it.
Nick, when you started MasterChef,
did you have any idea that you'd be so enthralled? Captivated?
Not at all. It's absolutely taken over my life, to be honest.
-What are you making?
-I'm going to do a scallop ceviche,
and a fillet of beef with fondant potato,
and then apple tarte tatin.
So are you going home with a smile or tears in your eyes?
Hopefully a big smile.
I've got a one in four chance.
A one in three chance, isn't it?
So I don't know. It's not bad odds.
Three in four chance of going through,
one in four chance of going home.
-Your maths is rubbish, isn't it?
-Sorry, I'm an actor, aren't I?
Nick's menu is clever, and it's actually quite classic.
Every restaurant critic ever has had a tarte tatin,
and had a very good one and a really bad one.
I think he is playing with fire right now.
Phil Vickery, England rugby captain, World Cup winner, that man is a natural cook.
His food is now robust, but with elegance.
I never expected something as pretty and as tasty
as a dish like that from you, ever.
That guy has discovered his style,
he's sticking with it, and he loves to cook.
You can't sit back and rest on your laurels,
it's about today, it's about what you're doing right now,
it's about what's going out on that plate.
Phil, does it worry you, feeding restaurant critics?
It worries me, feeding anyone,
but particularly people who know exactly how it's supposed to taste.
-What's your menu today?
-I'm doing pigeon breast for starter with some apple,
Puy lentils with duck breast,
and chocolate brownie with some cream and cherries.
Nice menu. Are the family proud of what you've done here?
My little man wants to know why I'm not at home as much.
It'll mean an awful lot to them,
but more than anything, I'm proud of being here and what I've done.
Phil's got a nice menu.
Pigeon breast. He's got to get the balance right.
His dessert is dangerous,
cos he's got to find a way to make it look simply stunning.
A chocolate brownie looking stunning? Really?
You've had half an hour. Half an hour gone.
What am I doing? Have a word with yourself, Nicholas.
Kirsty Wark is a respected journalist.
Who knew that lady could cook like this?
-I think that looks lovely.
She just gets better and better and better.
Kirsty, I can honestly say, with my hand on my heart,
I think your bowl of pasta is delicious.
I'm under enormous pressure to do well today.
This is what I love to cook.
So I want to combine great flavours and fine ingredients
with a bit of flair.
Kirsty, what's a stake today?
Everything. So it's a case of raising my game as much as possible.
-What are we making?
-Smoked haddock and bacon souffle.
Guinea fowl sauteed with Morels on a parsnip and potato puree,
with some little barrels of courgette on the side.
-And then I'm making lemon tart with blueberries.
The idea of the pudding is to be, hopefully very, very tasty,
but simple and elegant.
-We'll leave you to it, Kirsty.
-Thank you very much.
Kirsty's given herself a huge amount of work to do.
A haddock souffle to start? That's risky.
If it doesn't work, you've got no way of saving it.
The main course, I don't know.
Guinea fowl, parsnip mash and Morels could be lovely.
I'm not sure about all of them together.
30 minutes for your first course.
Danny is a renowned musician,
so creative, so inventive, always lives on the edge.
I'm going to use it as glue.
I'm going to cover it, fill in the cracks, cover it all up,
He's individual, he's exciting,
he continues to wow.
You know, if you've invented that out of your mind, that's great.
It's getting tougher every challenge.
You have to think harder about something you haven't done before.
I'd love to come out through the doors and feel, "Wow, I've done my best here."
Danny, you look like you're sort of at ease in here now.
Um, at the moment. I'm thinking things might get tougher.
-What are you going to cook?
-I'm doing lobster bisque to start.
Wild trout with new potatoes, sauteed spinach and Hollandaise sauce,
then rhubarb and strawberry souffle.
It's kind of themed on a riverside pub lunch, maybe.
-How close is this getting to the excitement of playing in the band?
-It's pretty close.
Well, I don't know. Yeah. It depends how good the gig is.
If you're playing in sort of Uzbekistan or something.
So it's better than a live gig in Uzbekistan?
Yes. I would say, totally, hand on heart, it's better than that.
Danny's menu is very, very interesting.
The question has to be, will he have enough time
to get enough flavour into a stock to make a decent soup?
As service looms, the critics arrive.
Jay Rayner is a food and restaurant critic for the Observer.
Tracey MacLeod writes for The Independent Magazine.
And Charles Campion is a food writer for the Evening Standard.
15 minutes and those critics are expecting some food.
It smells horrible, man.
What's it taste of?
Tastes of sort of cream and wine and flour.
Yeah, it ain't very good.
I'm just going to try and save it a bit, but I'm so far behind now.
Whilst Danny attempts to make his lobster bisque for the second time,
the pressure is on Nick to serve the critics first.
It's an attractive menu. The dishes seem to fit together very well.
Scallop ceviche is all about getting the marinade really cutting through,
and plenty of flavour.
There's a lot to get wrong.
A lot of scallops could die in vain on that dish.
What you doing? What's going on?
-It needs... It needs more seasoning.
Come on, Nick.
-Are we done? Can we go?
-We can go on those.
-How are you all?
Here you go. This is the scallop ceviche.
Nick is hoping to impress with his ceviche of scallops,
avocado, onion, tequila and lime.
I have this little fantasy that once upon a time,
this was beautifully arranged on a plate,
but it got dropped, and he's made do
and scooped it into the bowl, cos it is a bit of a mess.
The flavours are pretty well-balanced.
He's sort of understood the Mexican roots of the dish,
and he's got avocado in there and fresh coriander leaves.
The flavours are well-balanced, but the textures are not.
I mean, the big chunks of red onion,
and there's a whole piece of lime here that I gave a good chewing to.
The greatest pitfall of a ceviche is you over dress it.
He hasn't done that, so he should get thumbs up for that.
He hasn't killed these poor scallops.
It's refreshing. It's got strength from onion, it's got citrus.
I think it's quite a beautiful thing
but I think it looks a little bit seventies garish.
You've got eight minutes before that main course goes out.
Fillet of beef with onion puree. It could come off beautifully.
It could, of course, be a total disaster!
You've got blood everywhere.
Three minutes left, OK?
All right, mushrooms and to go.
Looks good, mate. That's a man's meal.
-What have you done?
-Little bit of...
-Right, are you done? Anything else to go on?
-Two seconds. How long have I got? 30 seconds?
-Now, we've got to go now.
-Good lad, good.
A little bit of an issue with the doors.
There you go.
Nick's main course is a fillet of beef
on an onion puree
served with mushroom sauce
and a fondant potato.
I want to give him top marks.
Clearly, he hasn't overcooked this beef.
But it also looks like he's then carved it up using a pen knife.
The beef is cooked fairly accurately.
It would have benefited from being cut a little thinner.
-The one thing I really like, even though it's not perfect, is the potato.
-The texture's nice.
A lot of what Nick's done is actually pretty good.
The mushroom sauce, with a little bit of seasoning,
it could have been the real deal, couldn't it?
It doesn't look like much, but it delivers nicely on flavour.
I love the beef with the sweet onion
and the sweet mushroom sauce, I love that.
OK, pudding. Timing's brilliant, OK? Now pudding.
-How long will the tartes take in the oven?
Do me a favour. Never ever do that again, OK?
That sugar is presently at about 170 degrees.
-You've just burned your tongue, haven't you?
Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!
-How long have I got, Gregg?
-All right, get them in.
-All right, boss.
Apple tarte tatin, if it's well done, if it's correctly done,
fantastic, bring it on.
I'm going to die here.
I'm just going to die.
You are setting yourself up for a fall, aren't you?
If you do a great classic dish like that.
Waaay! Come on, come on, careful, careful.
There you go.
Thank you very much.
To finish, Nick has served apple tarte tatin with clotted cream.
For me, that's undercooked, rather soggy pastry,
undercooked, slightly, apples.
It's not as good as it should be.
Dare I say it, Charles Campion? You're being a bit harsh.
There's some soggy pastry in the middle, but some really toffee caramelised bits at the edge.
-I've had much worse.
-It actually tastes a lot better than it looks.
I think the flavours are really good.
I think the pastry's not cooked enough.
It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.
I mean, I've done opening nights in the West End,
and it's a bit... It's worse than that.
I'm sort of still in a bit of a daze about it.
I'm glad it's over. Put it that way.
I'm glad it's over.
Seven or eight minutes before you wow them.
-You all right, Phil?
Which brings us to Phil Vickery's menu.
I do like pigeon breast. I'm very fond of it.
But it can be as tough as anything
if you don't cook it for the right amount of time and rest it.
-Time, gentlemen, please?
OK, what else is to go on? Black pudding and sauce, yeah?
You're running a bit over.
A bit of an apology out there wouldn't go amiss. Good luck.
-Good afternoon, ladies and gents, apologies for the slight delay.
Phil has served a starter of seared pigeon breast
on roasted apples with black pudding cubes, pea shoots, and cider jus.
I've never seen such a contrast between the appearance of a chef
and the appearance of a dish.
I like the apple, and the crispness of the black pudding,
and the sort of earthiness from that.
I think this is quite sophisticated.
There isn't a lot of cider jus,
but when you taste the pigeon, it's added sweetness to it.
This is really nice.
There are some nice flavours,
but for my taste, the pigeon is very undercooked.
It's very tender, but then raw meat tends to be.
That is lovely, look at that.
I think that spicy black pudding with those sour, sweet apples,
that perfectly cooked piece of pigeon, is delicious.
I really, really like that.
What have you got to do for this main?
Make sure the duck's cooked properly and rested.
How long's it going to take?
It needs at least seven to ten minutes, really, for it to rest properly.
Duck breast with Puy lentils and spinach,
something you might make at home for supper if you didn't have much time.
Bit odd to have a pigeon breast as your opening move,
then a duck breast as your second move.
Pity there wasn't a goose breast pudding, really, isn't it?
We are five minutes over.
Just herbs to go on.
Phil has served his duck breast on top of pancetta and carrot lentils
with micro red chard.
-It smells terrific, I have to say.
There's quite a lot to say about this
but I really, really like the lentils with lumps of smokey pancetta.
Terrific. Really well done.
This is a surprisingly delicate plateful.
And the flavours are delicate as well.
It's carefully judged, he hasn't overdone it, it's nicely seasoned.
What's not to like?
The duck is cooked beautifully.
There's so much flavour in those lentils. Sweetness, bit of acidity. I think that's lovely.
Can we eat dessert, just, please, just for me, on time?
12 minutes from now.
Chocolate brownie's always a winner if it's properly soggy.
Could work for me.
Phil, how long? You promised me 12.
If I promised you, I'll make sure I get there.
How you'll stop them from rolling
when you carry the plates, I'm not sure.
I'll walk like a soldier, steady as a rock.
Lovely, thank you.
You guys should be poker players or something.
-Do you want a game of cards later?
-Not with you three, that's for sure!
Definitely not. Hope you enjoy, and thank you very much for your time.
His dessert is a chocolate brownie
with Kirsch cherries and cream.
I've eaten a lot of desserts in this room, and this is one of the best.
The cherries are wonderfully soused in Kirsch.
It's just fantastic. I want to eat it all.
You've got a warmth here,
and there's the crunchy top, but a soggy, yielding middle.
And it's all very chocolatey.
You know when they do biscuits, double chocolate chip?
Well, this is six or seven times chocolate chip. It's really good.
Three critics with nothing to criticise. It's perfect.
Cocoa, chocolate, and then you burst into a cherry. That's nice.
Ohhhhhh, my goodness me.
You get to the final fence,
and you just want it to be perfect.
But there we go. Done my best.
Is it good enough?
Up to the, er, experts, as they say.
Kirsty, 15 the starter goes out, yes?
Kirsty's menu looks to me like a menu put together
by someone who really has a passion for food and flavours.
Smoked haddock and bacon souffle is exactly the sort of dish
you'd see on any contemporary restaurant menu.
Difficult to do and challenging.
Stick them in the oven.
Needs to be light and airy, doesn't need to be too eggy.
-Mm, I'm getting there.
I've gone back to square one when it comes to tidiness.
There's stuff everywhere.
Before they sink, quick, quick, quick, let's go.
-Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!
-Let me just chip something off here.
-How long have I got?
Mmm, texture's there.
It's like the filling of some dream bacon and egg pie, isn't it?
It's well made, technique is good,
seasoning is good, it looks very nice, hard to argue.
My one criticism is, I actually think
there's a bit too much bacon and too much haddock.
But it is rather compelling, as well.
Light, it's fluffy, and it's full of big, smokey fish flavour. Lovely.
Right, Kirsty, come on, mate.
Guinea fowl hopefully will come to life with the Morels.
And parsnip and potato puree sounds a bit sweet.
If it's pulled off, it could be a terrific plate of food.
I can't decide whether to pour it, the gravy, or to separate.
I'm having a crisis of confidence on my gravy.
No, I'm going to put it in a dish.
Right, I'm out of here.
I'm going out with my gravy.
Straight back for that.
Kirsty's main is guinea fowl leg
on potato and parsnip puree with sauteed Morels and baby onions,
courgettes, and a shallot, Morel and sherry gravy.
I really like what she's done with the guinea fowl.
Lovely, crisp skin, meat's got lots of flavour,
and I really like the parsnip and potato puree.
The Morels are not really adding anything.
It's more like a posh accessory.
It's a set of quite nice ingredients
not badly cooked, and the sauce lacks a bit of punch.
I think you could say it's a nice plate of food,
but not an exciting plate of food.
Looks really odd. It's a really unusual combination of ingredients.
The guinea fowl itself is succulent.
And I like the meatiness of the Morels.
What I don't like is the watery courgette and watery onion
on top of all of that.
I think there's a lack of direction. Nothing really comes together.
The lemon and blueberry tart, down to two things.
Is there enough zing in the lemon filling? And does the pastry crack?
Two minutes, please.
How are you doing, Kirsty?
Fine, thank you.
You should be serving by now.
-Come on, Kirsty, is it important where the last blueberry goes?
Everything's important to the last drop.
Her dessert is a lemon curd tart with blueberries and cream.
I'm going to be a bit brutal here.
If you scrape this off and get to the nub of this pastry shell,
it's a very, heavily-engineered piece. It's very thick.
It's very solid. It turns into shrapnel at the slightest pressure.
The lemon filling is basically lemon curd.
It's a very good way to make a quick lemon tart to give your mates.
It's not a good way to make a quick lemon tart to give us.
Not quite what you'd expect from this stage in this competition.
Lemon curd's nicely balanced.
Decent, decent lemon tart.
A tart case filled with lemon curd and blueberries on top.
Sorry, I don't think it works.
I really hope I've done enough to go through.
I think it's come to be just a great adventure,
and I really don't want it to stop now.
OK, Danny, you've got 15 minutes on your first course, please.
This is Danny Goffey's menu.
Bisque, which requires long cooking of the shells
to get real depth of flavour.
-Have you rescued it?
I-I think it's OK.
Come on, Danny, we've got to go, mate.
Danny has served a starter of lobster bisque
with buttered lobster tail,
paprika, chives, and caviar.
It's not the colour of a lobster bisque.
It's the colour of a 1970s velour sofa.
I don't know if he's poached the lobster within the soup,
but it's really nice.
It doesn't have the intensity and Yarrah!
that you expect a lobster bisque to be.
It's not the worst soup in the world. It's quite nice.
And he didn't overcook the lobster, and that, actually is quite hard.
It hasn't had enough time to mature. I like the lobster.
I don't mind the texture of the soup.
It doesn't have enough base flavour.
It starts, flavour of fish, you start to get it. It just doesn't stay with you.
-You've now got 12 minutes.
-How long does that fish take?
-This takes ten minutes.
You'd better get it in the oven.
-Are you still going to attempt Hollandaise
Yes, I've got a very quick recipe for the Hollandaise,
which I can do in the processor in two minutes.
Herb-stuffed wild trout with new potatoes, spinach and Hollandaise sauce.
That sounds great, but it's quite complex.
It'll be interesting to see if he can pull it off.
-The Hollandaise has curdled.
So what are you going to do? Spinach and the trout?
I can't remember what time I put the trouts in.
Seven minutes ago.
Two minutes, please, Dan.
Go. Go, go.
Smile. That's it, perfect.
-How are you?
I've had a bit of a nightmare.
Unfortunately, there's no Hollandaise sauce.
I really apologise. But there is quite a lot of juice in the fish.
His main course is wild trout en papillote
stuffed with onion and parsley, served with new potatoes
and garlic wilted spinach.
It's brave of Danny to cook something en papillote
because you cannot tell whether or not it's cooked.
Unfortunately, it's just not cooked,
which is a shame, cos it could have been quite nice.
I wish the Hollandaise had come and I could say something nice about it,
cos there ain't anything here to shout about at all.
There are issues on this plate.
Danny got himself in a fluster, and we can see the result.
We've got trout sashimi in a bag.
Right, your famous souffle. Go on, do it.
-Are your souffle moulds ready to go?
-Yeah, they're in.
-Oven on right temperature?
-I need, um, caster sugar.
-You all right, mate? We're doing well.
Souffle, which is all about timing.
Danny's a drummer. Presumably, timing is his forte.
But again, this is ambitious.
Right, come on, let's go, go, go.
Quick, quick, quick, quick.
Sorry about the wait there.
Actually, I'll give you one first,
cos you've had to wait all the other times.
Thank you very much.
Danny has served his rhubarb and strawberry souffle
with a rhubarb coulis.
This is looking clean, elegant.
I think the rhubarb coulis was quite nice because it's quite sharp.
It's like a smaller, lighter baked Alaska-type idea.
And he's actually done it very well.
It's a lovely, delicate little thing.
It's sweet, it's small, and it didn't outstay its welcome.
Hints of strawberry and hint of rhubarb. Lovely souffle.
I just had a real nightmare.
It just got on top of me,
from my early stages of doing the soup.
It was a bit hectic,
and really hard work, really hard work.
Today was always going to be tough.
Critics day, four very good cooks.
I think the best competition we've had so far.
Phil, today, I think, had an absolute cracker.
I totally agree. He put a smile on the critics' face, and that is not easy.
I can't criticise that starter.
The pigeon was beautifully cooked.
I know the critics thought it might have been a bit raw, but it worked really well.
It looked a picture.
Main course, duck cooked brilliantly, crispy skin.
Lentils full of flavour, but still attractive on the plate.
And then the chocolate brownie,
and those cherries that just burst flavour as soon as you bit on them.
I've given it every ounce of the big man's effort,
and hopefully it's enough.
Today, Phil was marvellous.
Phil, we agree on, is through.
Agreed. Next menu, I thought, was really well thought out.
I liked the flavours, they were sharp, clean, exciting.
Nick's main course, lots of work involved, it was a nice dish.
The beef was cooked very well,
mushroom sauce decent, yes.
The dessert, great concept.
Tarte tatin, but that pastry was not quite cooked enough, which was a shame.
Decent, I would say, from Nick.
Sort of stuff I'd really like to eat.
I got it all out on time, I tried my best,
I'm absolutely wringing wet with sweat.
So you can't really ask any more, can you?
In my opinion right now, Nick and Phil are safe,
and we need to make a decision between Kirsty and Danny.
Kirsty's souffle was lovely.
Well risen, good body, lovely flavours, and a very good souffle.
Main course, bit confused. It wasn't quite right.
The lemon tart, you and I couldn't agree with. I quite liked it.
Thick pastry, lemon curd, and a few blueberries on top.
Not a lot of skill there.
Kirsty's food lacks a bit of excitement.
It was functional.
It was important to impress
cos that's the only way to the Final.
After coming so far, it would be gutting to go home today.
I felt for Danny today. He got in such a fluster.
His first batch of lobster bisque just did not turn out.
At least he had the temerity to make a second batch of soup.
The lobster itself inside the soup was really tasty.
The soup, not enough depth.
Danny's main course, I was so looking forward to.
Hollandaise sauce curdled,
inside that parcel was trout which was half cooked, half raw.
I thought it was delicious.
I think the amount of stress that I was under kind of reflected it.
It's just a mad day for it all to happen, I guess.
Danny's menu was ambitious. He doesn't do safe.
He's creative, it's a dangerous place to be.
When it's right, it's spectacularly right.
Today, he tripped up a little bit.
And actually, Kirsty didn't make any mistakes.
She just served the food she wanted to cook,
and we were underwhelmed by it.
We've got to try and find the real talent,
the people who can go through this competition and actually cope with the Finals.
I really, really don't want to see one of you leave the competition.
The person leaving us...
Thank you so much, mate.
It's all right. I knew.
Cheers, big boy.
Bit of a nightmare today, but...
Good luck to everyone.
I suppose I'm disappointed, yeah.
I just tried to do a bit too much.
I've thoroughly enjoyed it.
I really had no idea of how much I would be absorbed by this.
I feel very happy to have got this far.
I'll take away a lot of mad memories.
I guess it's back to writing songs next week.
Congratulations, you are our three finalists. Well done.
I'm thrilled. I'm delighted. I just cannot believe... Seriously.
If I'd said at the beginning that I was going to get to the Final,
I'd never have thought it.
I've got a very mixed bag of emotions right now.
I'm absolutely over the moon. I can't wait to tell my mum.
Really happy, really, really happy.
Just would never have thought in a million years that I'd be here today.
I'm really, really proud of myself.
Now it gets serious!
Next week, it's the MasterChef Finals.
Quiet, please. And action.
Kirsty, Phil and Nick will be pushed to the limit.
You won the World Cup. This is easy.
Our Celebrity MasterChef champion is...
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The semi-finals come to a close, and just one challenge stands between the final four and the final. They must cook a three-course meal for the country's most-feared restaurant critics, and for a place in the final three.