Cookery contest. TV presenters Tim Lovejoy and Aggie MacKenzie take on their first gruelling challenges, alongside actresses Margi Clarke and Shobu Kapoor.
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16 celebrities are battling it out to win the coveted MasterChef crown.
I don't want to be out early on. That would be embarrassing.
These celebrities have already reached the top of their profession.
But can they cut it in the kitchen?
I don't quite know what to expect yet.
I just want to do well for myself.
We all produce food at home and stick it on the table,
but you have to go up a notch on a show like this.
Cooking doesn't get tougher than this.
These four celebrities are taking on the challenge to become
the next MasterChef champion.
But at the end of this week,
only the best cooks will go through to the semifinals.
I'm a proper mum cook. I do a nice curry.
And eggs, chips and beans, you know.
Simon off Something For The Weekend, the chef there,
hopes I've learned something off the show.
The reality is, I haven't really been listening to a word he's said.
I'm vegetarian, so no meat, no fish.
I have never cooked meat or fish, ever.
One of my fears is that I'll be the one
plating up on the floor.
I feel the nerves even thinking about it.
Four celebrities who think they can cook, and we're about to find out if they can or not.
In today's programme, they will be set three challenges
which will test their grasp of the essential foundations of cookery.
I think it's really brave to be known on telly
and come on and show everybody your cooking.
That's incredibly brave.
This is the skills test.
The first time they get to meet us,
and we'll ask them to make ravioli, to fill the ravioli up,
cook it with a sage butter in ten minutes.
-First thing, a bit of olive oil in your water.
Because it stops the pasta from sticking to anything.
Decent spoonful of crab filling placed at regular intervals
down the centre of our pre-rolled-out pasta, leaving enough space
that when we cut it, we have an edge on the outside, and we can seal it.
Doesn't matter how much they put in there,
as long as they can seal it and cook it.
You need lots of egg, lots and lots of egg.
Simply take your piece of pasta, and fold it.
You've got to be able to be clever enough now to leave it
not quite sealed. Then you push the air out of each one,
because with heat, air expands and they pop like a balloon.
Take a bit of semolina, because now you're going to touch the pasta.
Water at a rolling boil, really important.
Olive oil in, and then drop them in gently.
To make sage butter, cold blocks of butter into a very hot pan.
Not just melt the butter, you've got to get the browning colour.
Then add your sage, and a squeeze of lemon.
And now our raviolis are cooked. Two minutes, that's all it takes.
-This is a great test, because everybody knows pasta,
but not everybody's cooked it.
-Shall we get the first one in?
-Let's get them in. I can't wait.
First up is TV presenter Aggie MacKenzie,
famous for her domestic know-how in How Clean Is Your House?
I'm nervous about my nerves taking over.
It doesn't matter how often people say "Relax, enjoy it".
I can think that, but that's not what I'll be feeling.
We are going to ask you to make us three crab ravioli.
We will then ask you to finish that off with a sage butter sauce.
You have just ten minutes to do it in. Go for it.
Of course I'd like to do well, otherwise I wouldn't be here.
It's not like being on Total Wipeout,
where you want to be out in the first round, thank you very much.
This is slightly different.
-How much longer have I got?
-Two minutes left.
Got any kitchen roll?
Time's up. Done?
Well, crikey. Your raviolis, or big dumplings...
as they've have hit the water, because of the air inside,
they've come to the top and the top of that pasta
has never gone under the water.
So we've got raw steamed pasta sitting on top.
I think you've been lucky, actually. I really do.
How you got these onto the plate, I'm not quite sure,
because all the rules of cookery have been broken.
Why you threw away the first sauce,
I have no idea, because it was really lovely and nut-brown.
Little bits of sage. You'd seasoned it and spent time on it.
I thought it looked burnt.
I was worried about it, yeah. I panicked.
-It hasn't split open. Could do with a bit more buttery sage sauce.
-And they're too big, Aggie.
-They are, they're massive.
-Thank you very much.
That was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
I thought it was a case of identifying potatoes and carrots,
but it was making ravioli.
It could have been worse. Could have been worse.
Father-of-twins Tim Lovejoy has co-written two cookery books
off the back of his TV show, Something For The Weekend.
I'm looking forward to the pressure of cooking in the MasterChef studio.
-I can either do it or I can't do it.
-Three pieces of ravioli, ten minutes.
Right, ravioli. What does that look like?
I've spent so much time around chefs recently
that I just think, "I wonder if I can do this?"
Can't be that hard, can it?
I'm making luxury ravioli, big ones.
-It's a sage...
Sage...sage and butter.
I'm a little apprehensive here.
OK. What's confusing me here is the egg.
I imagine it goes in the sauce.
You've had four minutes.
What is that that you've put in there?
I imagine it's some form of polenta-style thing.
It's not... It's not flour.
You're halfway, Tim. You've have five minutes.
-No, no, no. Ravioli, little parcel. One little mouthful.
Every time you eat it, you pick up the sauce.
Semolina and butter together is just that - semolina and butter.
-Thanks very much for that.
-I've got to put it in my mouth. Yes.
-I want to taste this sauce.
It's not good.
-No, no, no.
You've got raw, powdered semolina, coated in a thick, sticky butter.
-The top of it's raw, which is a shame, so I don't want to eat that.
-The butter sauce has grains from the semolina running through it.
-Tim, put it behind you. Move on.
I'm disappointed, but I can only get better now.
I can't do any worse than that!
Next is Indian-born actress Shobu Kapoor, a lifelong vegetarian.
This is worse in terms of nerves than any acting job I've ever done.
Here, it's me. No masks, no characters, me. And it's food.
Ten minutes. Off you go.
First, I want to be able to cook it. Secondly, I want it to be eaten,
and it should taste OK and nobody dies. That would be good.
I've messed this up completely already.
I would normally actually use something to stick it, but I don't know what.
Ah, the egg would be to... The egg would be to put those together.
-It would have done a great job, yeah.
-Would have done a great job.
-Do you normally talk to yourself while cooking?
-I do! You are looking shocked.
You've had five minutes. You're halfway.
Stuff's starting to leak out. That's not very good, is it?
-It's terrible! Oh, my God.
Shobu, John asked you to do three ravioli.
Where's the third one?
It, um...disintegrated in the pan.
Yeah. Oh, God.
It's crab dishwater with some melted butter.
You are the first person, I think, ever in history of the world
who's tried to seal ravioli with a knob of butter.
Butter will melt, which will probably make it even worse.
-Shobu, it's the first test. We understand that.
-Put this behind you, move on, please.
It wasn't a difficult task.
I had to put a filling in something, boil it,
melt some butter, put a bit of sage on it - what could be simpler?
Last up is actress Margi Clarke,
famed for her roles in Letter To Brezhnev and Coronation Street.
I'm not a bad cook but I put something in the dish every time.
It's the secret ingredient...
And that's love.
10 minutes. Off you go.
One's going to be a little bit bigger than the other.
You give that to the greedy person in the house.
I can't wait to get going for them. I might be able to seduce them, mightn't I?
I like Gregg and I think that he's fair.
I think that he's given some great tips,
so he's the one I really want to get to.
Would that be about the right amount or is it too much?
We can't help you, you're going to have to work that out for yourself.
Okey-doke. Well, we'll give it a go.
Give it a little bit of decoration.
You've had about three and a half minutes so far.
So they are under way.
-How are your ravioli going?
-I think they need to come off now.
-What do you reckon, Gregg?
-I can't tell you.
It's not fair, it's cheating.
-Oh, my word.
-You wouldn't want to serve this up, would you?
Are you done?
Margi, it didn't work, they are now full of water because you didn't
seal the two layers - the top and bottom of the pasta.
-Waterlogged, isn't it?
-That's going to taste of cooking water.
That's going to be nasty. I'll taste the pasta and a bit of the sauce.
The pasta is cooked, too much sage.
OK. I do have to try it, it's my job.
So much sage, all I've got is the flavour of that sage.
A little bit of crab water washed around the outside.
I don't know what to say really, I really don't know what to say.
-It hasn't quite worked for you.
See you soon.
Feel really red in the gob.
You couldn't get worse than that, that was a proper fail.
-Disaster. Oh, John.
-They've made mistakes, all of them.
But some of them are really going to have to prove themselves.
I'm not ready to write anybody off yet, there's lots more to come.
With their first challenge behind them,
the celebrities wait to find out what their next test will be.
Well, I'm hoping to up me game.
I want to improve on that and not panic.
I'm no longer going to be cocky, that's for sure.
I'm going to take a different road.
Hopefully I don't completely crack under pressure.
Today the basic recipe is a wild-mushroom risotto.
It's going to test their organisational skills, presentation, knife work, their palate -
everything that you need to become a good cook. Good test.
The first thing they need to do is take a decent handful of butter
into a pot, and then into that pot I'm going to add dried mushrooms.
Right now I'm making the basis for the actual rice itself.
Half my shallots, two cloves of garlic
and then I turn my heat down to sweat that off.
So nice and slowly. Now we add our rice.
And this is where we need to take a bit of time.
And now we start the process.
Two or three good ladles of stock, and turn it down.
And we can start to see it going a little bit starchy.
If I keep on cooking that now at a really high temperature
it will become too starchy.
This is when the next lot of stock goes in.
You've got to feel, you've got to taste, you've got to smell.
You've got to become a cook.
Whilst that cooks away I need to cook and prepare the mushrooms.
They should be decent hunks of mushroom floating through the risotto.
Just lay them on top of those shallots.
And let the heat just cook the mushrooms.
It's also a question of getting that rice absolutely on the money.
To me, that's cooked. The last couple of bits to go in at the end.
Parmesan cheese inside the risotto
so every single mouthful you take is pre-seasoned.
Now all the bits and pieces get stirred in,
once you turn the heat off. A decent handful of Parmesan cheese.
A couple of knobs of butter in there.
And then just gently fold everything together.
Now the last bit.
Free-flowing, lovely bits of mushrooms running through it,
the smell of butter and cheese.
You can make a risotto but it's not easy to make it brilliantly.
So many things can go wrong with this.
The basic recipe today is a wild-mushroom risotto.
If you do this well you will have yourselves a lovely plate of food.
Let's face it, we need to step up from where we were with the ravioli.
35 minutes. Let's cook.
I think anyone who can read can cook,
because if you can read you can follow a recipe and then,
as long as you've got the apparatus you can do it.
You've made plenty of risottos then, Aggie?
I wouldn't say plenty, I've made a few.
It's a really tricky thing to get right.
-What sort of cook are you?
-I wouldn't say I was a great cook
or a confident cook. I'd like to be an intuitive cook.
I rely on recipes a lot actually.
That's good, you'll be all right today then.
I've been rattling the pots for ages, haven't I?
Learning a recipe is like learning a script.
You used the same tools to retain it in your memory.
-Is this competition hard, Margi?
-Yeah. You're cooking under pressure.
You're in a place you've never been to before.
And you're going to be judged.
Your kids don't judge you, do they? They just eat it.
-Do you really want to do well here?
-Of course I do, yeah.
I'd like to bring the cup home for Liverpool, the cooking cup.
Cooking skills - oh, God! I really feel like I'm at point zero at the moment.
-Mushroom risotto, wild-mushroom risotto.
-Ever made it before?
-No. I made rice but not risotto.
How much do you want to make a good dish here today?
Completely, more than 100%. Of course I do.
Why would I be here if I didn't?
I thought you might have got lost and wandered in.
-I feel like that sometimes.
-Shobu, thanks, honey.
-Thank you very much.
You've got just five minutes left, five minutes, guys.
I'm going to take my time, think it through, choose perfection.
Or I'll panic again.
Tim, it's a bit of the state, mate, you've got it all over the place.
I feel out of my depth. I've never cooked risotto before. To be honest, I don't really like risotto.
Does risotto bore you, is that what it is?
Yeah, because it's just big, heavy carbs. One mouthful's fantastic.
Ten, you're like, "Oh! What's for dessert?"
You've got about two minutes left, guys. Two minutes.
We need some food on plates, please.
Time's up. Stop, stop, stop.
Risotto, you eat with a fork.
If I've got to now pick up this mushroom
and try and eat that...
I mean, I've got a big gob, Shobu, I know that, but it's not that big.
The rice itself is cooked really well,
it's got real deep flavour coming from that stock.
The mushrooms aren't cooked enough, the ones that you've folded through.
But worse, the onions that you've got in there,
the shallots, are really hard, still crunchy.
Just don't panic so much.
Big chunks of onion
and big chunks of mushroom is not what we're looking for.
Those sorts of things are the difference
between good and average food.
You know, I haven't been doing this for very long or very much
and I think a lot of it is emotional exhaustion.
But, you know, I'm also really happy cos I'm learning a hell of a lot.
Pleased with your efforts, Tim?
It's OK-ish, but I didn't know how much to season
all the different aspects when you bring it all together.
It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle.
Well, I tell you what, that's a cook talking, Tim.
I think your mushrooms... cooked well.
Rice needs a little bit more time and you finished early so just relax.
The seasoning is absolutely spot on.
The mushrooms are cooked really well, love to see them
just broken up a little bit so that they can be eaten with a fork.
At the same time as you eat a mouthful of rice,
you get a different type of mushroom.
You end up with something different every time.
Something that you pointed out about risotto,
you don't like it because you think every mouthful's the same.
The concept is that every single mouthful is slightly different.
But you've got a really good palate.
-Good job. I really like it.
I think the judges basically told me I'm quite good at eating food.
I don't have the skills to make it but I'm quite good at tasting it.
I have to point out the mistake.
In the recipe, it asks for a quantity of rice.
That rice should have been weighed out.
Instead, there was a container of rice and you used the whole lot.
It's such a shame because your seasoning's really good,
it was just too much rice in that pan.
It means that the rice isn't cooked
and it's too crunchy and it's become like a big solid lump.
It's too dry but it's not far off
and just the right amount of Parmesan cheese in there as well.
Little chunks of mushroom, perfectly clean. Oh, Margi.
If you'd have weighed the rice out, that would have been champion dish.
I ate risotto once in Magaluf
and I've never had an opportunity to make it.
Time to concentrate, Margi.
If I'd have got that measurement right,
I would have produced a much better dish.
You've let that rice absorb all the flavour of that stock.
It's a very, very well flavoured deep risotto.
That's pretty good.
Woody, almost beefy flavour coming from those chunky mushrooms.
Really deep flavour coming from the stock, which is a great thing.
Well-seasoned, a good amount of pepper in there.
It's a good, tasty risotto.
Aw, mate, come on. You're all right.
-You're all right. Come on. You're fine.
-My son said to me, "Do MasterChef, but promise me you won't cry."
Everyone cries on MasterChef!
We won't give anybody the title who doesn't cry.
I'm surrounded by boys who are amazing cooks and the past few years
I've taken a step back and I feel that I can't cook any more.
I want to tell you something. You can.
It just touched a nerve. It's that thing about confidence.
I felt that I didn't have it and there's John, who's a chef, saying,
"You can cook." It was like oooh!
I want somebody else to cook for me for the rest of my life!
I'm really pleased to see the nerves are disappearing,
cos thinking of the ravioli, it was disastrous.
I was fearing the worst with this basic recipe.
I think they're doing OK,
and the mistakes are silly and small, which is good.
They're all more than capable and it's a step up from where we were with the ravioli.
You couldn't step down from the ravioli.
We got a big round coming up next.
If they don't concentrate and get rid of these little problems, it's going to be chaos.
This is the Mystery Box Round.
Reveal your ingredients.
The main ingredient in today's Mystery Box is a whole cooked octopus.
The other ingredients they've been given are rice, potato,
chorizo, Romero pepper, tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and watercress.
This is really going to test your inventiveness and creativity.
One dish, 50 minutes. Let's cook.
An octopus is very versatile,
but if you never handled one before, it could scare you.
It either has to be fried very quickly
or stewed for a long period of time.
As I'm vegetarian, the worst would be meat or fish because I don't know anything about them.
I wouldn't have a clue what to do.
I'd have to go home, I think.
Shobu, can you approach this like you would a vegetarian dish and then just add the octopus?
That's what I'll have to do because that's all I know how to do.
You've got all your bits and pieces chopped up.
It looks like you've got a plan. At home, are you creative or do you follow recipes?
I've started trying to follow recipes. I never have.
I haven't been particularly creative, either.
I've got my masalas and things.
Because I know what ingredients I have, I tend to chuck them all in.
What are you cooking for us?
Octopus curry? I don't know. I don't have the spices.
Whatever this turns out to be, I thought I would put it on the rice.
Shobu says she's going to make some curry. She has no spices at all,
which means we aren't going to get that depth of flavour she's used to in Indian food.
But just then she's put milk in her curry as well,
so we'll have milky octopus and rice. What's that going to taste like?
Ten minutes gone, 40 minutes left.
I don't invent dishes, I cook from recipe books.
I make ingredients up sometimes. If I don't have them I put whatever in and think, "It tastes all right."
Are you enjoying this, Tim? You seem to always be smiling.
I am! I'm really enjoying it. I was so nervous of this and this might taste awful.
But I'm enjoying the idea that I'm making it up as I go along. If you say it's all right, I'm happy.
You want us to say, "It's all right. I'm glad you're aiming for mediocrity."
Tim's bench is such a mess. There's stuff everywhere. It frightens me.
The way he's cooking frightens me more cos you can't just throw everything together.
I don't want to eat things that frighten me.
You are halfway.
Halfway to octopus heaven.
The term "invention test" makes my stomach turn over,
so I'm just going to try and relax.
-Aggie, have you cooked an octopus before?
I have eaten it but I've never cooked it.
I'm sort of attempting a paella and I've never made one before.
-So I'm just kind of...
-Yes, that's the word.
And how is your confidence in this round?
Well, I don't know, ask me in 10 minutes' time!
Aggie's making paella, and for me,
the octopus seems to be an afterthought.
It's not part of the dish.
I would like the octopus to BE the dish.
It's going to be another intimidation. I've got to get my head together for it.
And hopefully not come out with something too mad.
Margi, what are you going to cook?
I want to get a Mediterranean feel, because it comes from a warm climate.
So these peppers are warm, and so are the chillies.
So that might naturalise it. I'm doing sauteed potatoes with it.
Rice is optional, in case anyone wants rice.
-Margi, we're going to leave you alone now.
Can I just ask your opinion? It wouldn't need salt if it's come out of the sea, would it?
-Taste it, Margi.
-I don't like the look of it, lad.
I like Margi's originality,
I like the idea of frying the octopus with some potatoes.
Right now, it looks like it's going to taste good. Well, I hope so.
Well, come on, last three minutes.
Finishing touches, please.
That's it. Finished. Stop.
Shobu has made an octopus curry,
served with a tomato, olive and feta cheese salad.
I think your rice is cooked really well.
Your octopus is cooked really well. It's just a little bit bland.
Just get hold of some paprika, throw that through it, get more tomatoes in there.
The octopus is beautifully soft.
It has lots of sweet pepper, the flavour of the oregano
and the really well-cooked rice underneath it.
I think it's great. Why, then, you've got to go and throw milk in it,
I have no idea.
You obviously got bored and decided to make a salad.
Great salad, salty feta, sweet tomatoes, loads of oregano,
sharp, sour and bitter at the same time.
That with some shredded, fried octopus on top of it
would have been absolutely delicious.
'I am enjoying it, yes. It's a kind of petrified enjoyment.'
Terrified enjoyment, yes.
Aggie has cooked a salted-octopus paella,
accompanied with a green dressed salad.
I think the octopus through it probably could have been fried just a little bit more
to give it a little bit more texture, a crispier outside.
But for the rest of it? Aggie, I'm sorry.
-Oh! That's good.
Mm. Your paella is heavily flavoured.
Unfortunately, your octopus is slimy.
It hasn't been cooked long enough. Flavours, great.
Textures, all good until you get to your octopus. Quite good though, eh?
I'm not too unhappy with it, yeah.
'I think I was less nervous for this one, actually,'
so maybe I'm getting into the flow.
But, you know what, the thing is, when you get too comfortable,
Tim has made a spicy octopus jambalaya and a Greek salad.
You've got paprika, you've got pepper.
You've got nice seasoning, you've got the sweetness of tomato,
all really good ideas.
The rice, you've cooked for too long. It's a bit watery.
The octopus is nice and soft.
It is still a little bit slimy on the outside,
it could do with a little bit more frying to give it
a bit of a crisper texture on the outside.
The whole thing's a bit wet. It's a cross between a rice soup and a baked rice dish.
And it defies all description as a dish.
It is definitely Tim's invention.
'I had no expectations to win this.
'But I'm very competitive, so I'd like to do as well as I can.'
I'm not sure I've got enough experience to draw on.
So I might let myself down a bit as we go on.
Margi has cooked her octopus with chorizo and peppers,
serving it with a tomato and garlic sauce,
feta cheese, and watercress.
What have we got, Margi?
-We've got an octopus in love.
-In love with what?
It loves knocking around with the "cheerio" sausage.
And it's quite friendly with the nice red hot pepper.
I cooked the rice because I thought, well, you might like rice.
But then I thought you might like spuds.
You've got a number of dishes here. You've presented us with a mezze.
You're not supposed to be giving us a buffet.
You should decide what you think is right.
You can't give us loads of options to mix in what we want,
otherwise you'll never make a plate of food.
I love your chorizo, octopus, tomato, garlic, oregano,
I think that's lovely, lovely.
And I'd happily eat it with the rice or the potatoes.
But not both, and most certainly not with feta cheese and watercress.
That tomato sauce is great. Loads of oregano, lots and lots of garlic.
Sweet tomatoes going really well with that crispy octopus.
I think that is brilliant. And I wish that's where you had left behind.
Do the things which are beautiful, like your sauce and octopus
and your potato, do them really well.
Your personality doesn't come into this.
You can't fall back on your old tricks.
It doesn't butter any parsnips with the judges.
It's got to be that the food's lovely.
We're getting there. Well done.
Time for you to leave us, have a little break. Off you go.
-Well, well, well.
-I don't know.
Overall, a really tough day for our four celebrities,
but I also think quite a tough day for you and I.
Because it didn't start well.
All you could ask of any contestant is that they learn and grow,
and that is true of Shobu. Her ravioli was awful.
The risotto got better, till in the end, her octopus was good.
The question has to be, does Shobu have a repertoire?
Does she have enough recipes that she knows to succeed in this competition?
I am so exhausted, I can't begin to tell you.
I'm doing a lot more than I've done ever in my whole entire life.
Aggie was nervous making the crab ravioli,
but it wasn't that bad, if you compare it to everybody else.
She finished the dish off.
She put herself under pressure, but she delivers good flavour.
Aggie just needs to believe in herself, just believe in herself.
They asked me in there, what about the next stage? Are you ready?
No, no. I'd be terrified again.
Tim did quite well with his ravioli, he did very well with the risotto,
but give him a dish which he has got to invent in his own mind, and it becomes chaotic.
I'm really enjoying it. Bring it on, let's see what I can do.
I like Margi, I think she's got the makings of a great cook.
She's got the touch, she's definitely got the palate.
She had a shocking start.
The ravioli fell apart, the risotto, she put too much rice in,
she didn't measure up her recipe.
Then it came to the octopus and we saw some natural ability.
I think she's finished the day on a high.
I've made mistakes, but at the very beginning, and I'm not a chef yet.
I'm on my way to being, but I'm not there yet.
Next for these guys is something they have never, ever dreamed of.
They will have to work really, really hard,
together, to make sure they succeed.
Tomorrow, the battle continues. In teams.
I'm not an expert. Just because I've been cooking curries all my life
-doesn't make me an expert.
-It makes you more of an expert than me, so...
50 grams or 500, Agnes?
If they get it right, we could be in for a treat.
You could be wheeling me out of here in a wheelbarrow.
Then the pressure is on at their first mass catering challenge.
It is frightening. Really frightening.
I don't know how to make crumble!
Aaargh! How do you work like this?
This is an ocean liner heading for an iceberg.
Oh, my God!
Oh, wow. That is seriously burnt.
It is carnage.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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The hunt for Celebrity MasterChef 2011 continues, as four new celebrity contestants join the competition. TV presenters Tim Lovejoy and Aggie MacKenzie take on their first gruelling challenges, alongside actresses Margi Clarke and Shobu Kapoor.
Their first challenge is the Skills Test, as the celebrities are asked to prepare a crab ravioli dish with sage butter sauce. With the clock ticking and the pressure on to impress the judges, can the celebrities deliver?
For the second challenge, the contestants are tasked with a mushroom risotto in the Basic Recipe Test, before being faced by the Mystery Box task for their third and final challenge of the day. In a test of both their culinary ability and their intuitive creativity, the celebrities must prepare a dish using mystery ingredients, including octopus. But with this unusual ingredient integral to their dish, will the celebrities sink or swim?