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Only an elite group of chefs holds two Michelin stars.
Michel Roux Jr is one of them.
Two St Jacques au passe, now.
Now he and MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace
are on the hunt for Britain's next culinary superstar,
a professional with a talent to cut it in the world's top kitchens.
These six chefs have made it to today's quarterfinal.
Now the stakes become higher.
You've got to produce your best every single day from here on in.
Otherwise you're going to see yourself just going home.
Clean slate, square one, it's on from today, got to push hard.
Going home today is not an option for me.
I don't want to be that guy standing there,
whose name's called out, I want to be the guy standing there with a smile on my face.
It means everything to me. If I've got this far,
why would I want to go out now?
I'm going to go to the top.
First, they must prove to Michel and Gregg they've got what it takes
with a dish of their own invention.
You don't get to a quarterfinal without being talented,
now you have to prove that talent if you want a place in the semis.
Only the best chefs will go on to showcase their food
before some of the UK's toughest restaurant critics.
I would say that this dish was wholly successful.
The problem with a bit of cooking like this
is there is absolutely no way to hide.
None of it tastes of anything!
We are giving you a wealth of ingredients.
Beautiful lamb, John Dory, clams,
cockles, asparagus, fresh peas. Let your heart cook!
Give us everything that you have and more.
We're going to give you ten minutes to come up here and choose your ingredients. Up you come.
I need to impress now. It's quite important I get this right.
I want to cook everything, I don't know what to choose, so much choice!
You could really get confused if you thought too much
so I'm going with my first instinct.
Two minutes, and then we'll start cooking.
I've got an idea now so just hopefully I can pull it off nicely!
Your ten minutes is up.
One mouth-watering, eye-catching plate of food
in one hour, that's your job. Let's do it.
I keep thinking Alison's going to trip up, every time she comes in here, she looks scared!
Yet she carries on delivering the goods.
I want it more than anything I've ever wanted in my life,
except the time I wanted a horse when I was 15.
Right, Alison, what's cooking?
Poussin with spring greens, no, spring veg.
-Poussin with spring veg.
-Or poussin with green...
Poussin with green veg risotto.
I can't talk today which is a first for me.
-Why can't you talk? Is it just nerves?
-What does lovely food mean to you?
-It's anything cooked
with passion. It could be a burger or a Michelin-starred meal,
anything cooked with passion and love is good food.
Good answer! Sorry... Great answer!
Is that how you cook, Alison?
I like to think so.
She's going to make a risotto and cook the poussin.
How does that come together as one dish?
Is a risotto enough to get her through to the next round?
It has to be bang on perfect.
Josh is a 24-year-old chef de partie working in central London,
showing glimmers of possible greatness.
I've got a pretty strong background so I've got to
talk the talk and show that in my cooking. Now's the time.
Josh is going to pan-fry the whiting
and serve it with razor clam and a panache, or medley, of summer vegetables.
I'm fond of an old panache.
You haven't really got a panache dish to serve them in, have you?
No, I haven't, but I've got something funky
as opposed to a panache dish that I'm going to serve it in.
I'm too old to have anything funky, me, mate. Far too old!
-Josh, what are you here for?
-I'm here to prove
to myself and others that I can cook and I can stand the pressure -
pressure every day at work, pressure on my days off, I can't get enough!
What do you mean, pressure on your days off?
You go cooking on your days off?
I cook at this competition called MasterChef: The Professionals, yeah!
A lot of pressure in that one!
So, let me get this right.
Your boss hasn't given you a day off, you have taken a day off to come and compete here?
Oh, absolutely, yeah. It's a choice,
I'm not giving up a day off if it's doing something you love, and cooking is what I love, so...
I hope, if you win, he's going to give you a day off to celebrate!
Er, I hope so too!
He has got so much work to do. It's all fiddly work, shelling every pea,
turning the vegetables, slicing the asparagus.
Chris is a 36-year-old head chef from Buckinghamshire.
Michel, that guy delivers food that makes me want to swoon.
If only it could be more elegant!
My food's all about depth of flavour,
that's the most important thing.
Flavour, flavour, flavour.
-Chris, what are you making for us?
-Pan-fried John Dory
with spicy sausage and clam veloute,
-with caramelised fennel.
-Is this dish playing to your strengths?
-I believe so.
-What are your strengths then?
Flavour. Something I went with straight away, flavours I've played with and I know work.
Presentation could do with work but I've been working on it
and it's something you'll see definitely today.
Good. Well, get cracking.
Chris has chosen a merguez lamb sausage
to make into a creamy sauce to go with his John Dory.
We know he does bold flavours, well, this is bold!
25 minutes you've had, nearly halfway.
Ash is a 34-year-old freelance chef from the southern hemisphere.
Michel, his plates look stunning!
He dresses food like no other chef I've seen.
I want to see the flavour match his artistry.
It's very important to impress.
I want to hopefully get
some new ideas into the food
and show them I can do a bit more than plate things up nicely.
I really need to concentrate on getting lots of flavour as well.
Right, Ash, what have you chosen and what are you going to cook?
Er, I've decided to do a little starter of pan-seared whiting
with a parsley and clam risotto.
How important is the look of a plate of food to you?
I think the look's very important.
I think food, it's good to see that whoever has prepared the food
really cares about the food.
But I'm hoping you're going to see more flavour than you've seen from me before.
-Hopefully you'll enjoy it.
-Good, I'm looking forward to it.
Ash has just cooked his razor clams but he's discarded them.
He's only using the cooking liquor to put into the risotto for extra flavour.
Ursula is a 39-year-old sous chef.
Obviously loads of talent and experience and drive.
She can present good food with lots of complex flavour.
Ursula is doing herb-crusted lamb.
There's nothing inspirational about it but nobody does classic food better than she does.
Textures! It's all about textures.
-You cooked lamb in the last round as well, didn't you?
-I did, yes.
In hindsight, I shouldn't have cooked it again.
That's all right, I love a bit of lamb!
We don't care what you do, as long as you do it well.
I don't think the judges have seen my full potential yet.
I just want to keep on going further and further
and if I was to go home today, I'd be gutted.
Ben is a 32-year-old head chef.
Food is in his blood, his dad was a chef.
We know Ben has got the skills and the knowledge and now,
he is getting that focus.
I wouldn't have believed I'd get to the quarterfinals
so now I'm here, I've really got to up my game
and push on
and semifinals hopefully here I come!
Not in Dad's shadow, are you?
No, my old man, he's supportive of me and everything I do.
Always has been so he doesn't put any pressure on my shoulders but I'd like to do well for him
and for myself and especially for my missus,
who put me up for this in the first place and told me I could do it!
Is that right? Watch the pan, watch the pan!
Who does the cooking at home? You or your missus?
Ah, we split it. Mostly we go out for a curry, to be honest!
We both work long hours.
What are you cooking for us?
I've got some pan-fried John Dory,
with some saffron potatoes. I'm doing a white-wine and oyster sauce.
Get your head down then, Ben, go on.
Oyster sauce is very difficult to get right.
It needs the balance of lemon or white-wine acidity in there.
He's going to have to be on top form, he can't afford any mistakes.
Very important last ten minutes.
Guys, please, listen. Two minutes!
Time's up! Time's up!
First up is Alison, who has roasted a poussin
and is serving it on lemon thyme risotto
with breaded poussin pieces,
asparagus, girolles, and broad beans.
Alison, presentation's neat.
As far as making a risotto look good, I think you've achieved it here.
It's a little rustic, that's your style.
You do pack flavour in. I like it.
The chicken, or poussin, is roasted really well.
It's nice and soft, tender, flavoursome
and not dry. Such a shame that the risotto is overcooked.
It's got all the taste but it's very cloying.
To go out because there's other people better than me is one thing.
To go out for a silly mistake...
Chris has pan-fried the John Dory
and served it on top of a potato and caramelised fennel tian,
with merguez sausage and a clam cream veloute.
Chris, I actually quite like this presentation.
I find it a bit too high, towers are very difficult for the customer to approach.
But saying that, it's very neat.
I think the sausage and the fish works really well.
The aniseed, fennel and the fish obviously works really well.
However, I'm not sold on the sausage with the fennel.
Your fish is ever so slightly overcooked.
There shouldn't be colour on both sides.
The crushed potato and fennel actually works.
It's a little bit greasy though.
You've added a lot of butter in there.
The clams are somewhat lost in there as well.
I think I know where you wanted to go with it
but I don't think you've quite pulled it off.
I definitely got Michel thinking, definitely got him thinking.
Unfortunately, the bad way instead of the good!
Josh has served his whiting on crushed potatoes with a carrot puree.
He has filled the razor-clam shell
with his panache of spring vegetables, clams and girolles.
We've got really nice razor clams, served with asparagus,
broad beans, some herbs and wild mushrooms.
I've also got whiting on buttery crushed potatoes
with a carrot puree. That's also delightful.
But I think we've actually got two dishes on that plate.
The razor clams are cooked beautifully,
they're so tender and sweet.
That mixture of vegetables with the fresh herbs
chopped in there and rocket leaf on top is really delicious.
Beautifully seasoned and cooked.
Fresh, as a taste, is very difficult to capture
but that razor clam and medley of vegetables has got fresh taste.
I can't find much fault in there!
What I've just had has been amazing -
a two-star Michelin chef taste my food
and said that he couldn't fault it.
It's not every day you get that as a cook and yeah,
that's brilliant. Over the moon.
Ben chose the John Dory and has pan-fried it with spring vegetables,
girolles, and a white-wine, cream and oyster sauce.
Ben, your choice of ingredients is good
and I love the colour of the fish
but it does look a tad rushed.
You were supposed to give us saffron potatoes, you ran out of time.
Oysters as well, I was expecting oysters on the plate.
I like the higher note of flavour of all those lovely vegetables.
And there's good seasoning in there,
little crack of pepper, fish is nicely cooked.
I find the sauce slightly underwhelming.
It should have the taste of the sea from that oyster.
If I see it billed on the menu as John Dory with oyster,
be it sauce or whatever, then I want that flavour of oyster.
I haven't done my best, not even close.
If I was to do that at work, it wouldn't leave the passe.
Ash has used the whiting and served it on spinach,
a razor-clam infused risotto with cockles and a beurre blanc sauce.
The fish is beautiful, cooked to perfection
and the little cockle risotto has got heaps and heaps of depth to it
and that's the addition of the cockles and all the cooking liquor from that.
Loads of herbs in there, it really has got great flavours.
I love, love, love the look of your food, it's just so good.
It's so good. I'd let you decorate my lounge!
Talk amongst yourselves, everybody, I may be a while!
That is lovely!
That's like a big kiss off a sea monster!
Mate, that is delicious.
Well done, Ash.
I think they felt there was a lot of flavour in there
and that was just really what I was concentrating on.
I'm glad, I think I've pulled it off.
Ursula has roasted the rump of lamb with a brioche herb crust
and served it with saffron potatoes, vegetables,
and a red-wine and redcurrant jus.
The vegetables are underdone. That turnip there
is really bordering on raw.
Even the potato is a bit underdone. That shouldn't happen.
The lamb? Ever so slightly overcooked for my taste
but it's well seasoned and I really do like that crunchy crust on there.
There's a good selection of herbs in there and it does work very well.
Redcurrant, rosemary, mint and lamb is a combination made by the gods.
It's beautiful. However...
I shouldn't have to put that much pressure on a potato to cut it.
It's quite embarrassing to serve Michel Roux Jr
food that isn't cooked properly.
Possibly the nerves and the pressure has got to me a little bit too much.
Thank you for your hard work, our hard work now begins.
Only four of you can go through to the next round.
Off you go, we'll be as quick as we can.
I thought there was some great cooking here today.
Two dishes were of exceptional standard.
The rest, we have to debate.
The stand-out chef for me in this round was Ash.
He did the whiting on spinach and he had that lovely little hillock
of risotto that was packed full of cockles. It's delightful!
We wanted him to deliver more in substance
and he did it with abundance this time round.
He definitely has to go through and cook for the critics!
I really love Josh's food.
Beautiful little panache, he called it, or medley of summer vegetables
with the clams that were cooked to perfection.
Josh, for me, definitely has to go through to the next round.
I must say, I was disappointed with Ursula's plate of food.
It was skilfully roasted lamb, with a beautiful crust on top
but it ended there. The sauce was too thin,
the vegetables were undercooked, to say the least.
We can't afford mistakes like that at this level.
We can't put her through.
The attention to detail wasn't there.
It's stupid schoolgirl errors that I've made today
that could cost me the competition.
Now, this is where it gets a little bit murky for me.
I really can't see much between Alison, Ben, and Chris.
I liked the look of Chris' dish and he was big and bold with his flavours again today.
I found the sausage and the fennel a bit of a clash.
For me, it was bordering on being sickly.
I don't think I stayed true to what I do today
and I think I might pay the price for that.
Alison cooked a risotto with green veg. It wasn't the best risotto I ever tasted.
The poussin was well cooked, well seasoned, it was moist
but the risotto was slightly overcooked,
a bit gluggy.
I've eaten better food from Alison.
I started the risotto too early and I should have listened to my instincts
and started it again.
I should have known better.
Ben's plate looked a little rushed.
Although I really liked it. I loved his choice of ingredients,
his fish was cooked really well.
But for me, that dish was not complete.
He needed another five minutes to get that dish correct.
It's unacceptable to not put vital elements on a dish.
I know it, they know it and there's no hiding from that.
I've seen how good these three can be, I've also seen the silly mistakes they can make.
Unfortunately they seem to make silly mistakes in equal measure,
all three of them!
But there's two of them that I think deserve another chance.
We asked you to be ingenious and inventive with your cooking and you've done that.
It wasn't totally fault-free. There were errors.
But that's the pressure.
It's been hard but we have made a decision.
The first chef leaving us is...
Gutted but it was amazing to meet Michel Roux Jr,
for him to taste my food. I'll remember that day for the rest of my life.
The second chef leaving us...
Having this semifinal place just out of reach is gutting.
I didn't produce so I didn't go through.
Now the pressure is on, cooking for restaurant critics.
Four of you cooking, only two places in the semifinal.
One hour, 15 minutes, two perfect plates of food.
Do yourselves proud. Off you go.
It is not easy to impress someone whose job it is to eat fine food every day of the week!
One mistake and they will spot it.
You simply have to cook divine food, beautifully presented
and to the utmost quality.
The aim is to produce two plates of food that really shine,
to be ready on time, and everything the way I want it, the way I see it in my head.
Ben, what two dishes are you cooking?
Er, today, I'm doing pan-fried fillet of gurnard
with a selection of shellfish on a risotto rice.
It's kind of paella-like, served with a chorizo sauce.
For desserts, I'm doing vanilla panna cotta, dark chocolate mousse,
poached figs and a port-wine reduction.
-You're pushing yourself.
-I feel now, you've got to push to impress.
I feel if I can get it all out and it's all cooked the way I want it,
nicely seasoned, well-balanced food, it will show a good bit of skill.
Are your panna cottas in yet?
Panna cottas should be in now, yeah!
Ben's got his work cut out, all that seafood to prep,
the stock to cook the rice in, the chorizo sauce. At the same time,
he has to prepare those desserts to get the vanilla panna cotta in the fridge!
Today I'm going to be cooking for the critics, three more people to please!
And I've seen them before and they're pretty ruthless
so it's quite nerve-racking.
Feeling emotions I didn't even know I had, to be honest!
Tell me about your dishes.
Right, I've got lamb and beetroot.
And raspberry souffle with a berry compote for a...
..dessert. That's the word I'm looking for.
Why do you, and how are we and the critics going to, love this dish?
Well, I love it, I put everything I love on a plate
so I just hope I manage to do it well.
How much do you want this?
Well, I want this more than anything right now.
And have you got what it takes?
I'd like to think so, we'll just have to see if I can deliver.
Get it right today.
This is a big day full of pressures and Alison already looks nervy.
And she wants to do something as delicate as a souffle.
-I'm worried for them.
-That's the kind of dessert that makes or breaks your competition!
I think for me, as the competition gets harder, I get hungrier for it.
I want this semifinal spot, it's right in front of me,
I'm going for it.
-Josh, what are you cooking for us?
-I'm going to be cooking turbot
with braised baby gem lettuce, summer truffle,
and for my dessert, I'm going to go a little bit out there
with a glazed almond sponge
and rhubarb, I'm going to infuse a bit of basil into the rhubarb.
How did you get bitten so big by the food bug?
It's a way of life, from Cornwall, you're surrounded by brilliant produce, we fall into it,
and once you're in it, you can't get out, it's love, isn't it?
When you see yourself 20 years in the future, where are you?
Er, happily fat somewhere, eating a nice bowl of food in the sun, I hope!
Is he talking about me?!
He's got to prepare that turbot, fillet it properly,
cook the little gems properly. If you don't squeeze the moisture
out of a little gem lettuce once it's cooked,
it can wash away the whole dish.
I see a prodigious talent in Josh
but this is probably the biggest test of his career so far.
Ash has finally brought great flavour to his exquisite-looking food.
If he manages that on two plates of food today,
the critics will be blown away.
I think I'm pretty good with pressure
but I'm really feeling pressure about this challenge.
It's like the big one for me.
Cooking for critics, you need to get it spot on.
Ash, what two dishes are you cooking?
I'm going to cook a pan-fried turbot
with a truffle crust and a white asparagus veloute, followed by
a warm chocolate brownie with Patxaran poached cherries.
Patxaran is a drink from the Basque region?
It's an anise liqueur and then it's been steeped with a bit of vanilla,
bit of coffee and sloe berries.
Tell me about this desire to spread Basque food around the world.
I was over there with my girlfriend, visiting her family.
I discovered the love for food that everyone has there
and it really inspired me.
-Have you got what it takes to impress?
-I hope so.
Just...I'm more worried about getting it done.
Ash has those wonderful vegetables to prepare, the asparagus veloute.
Prepare the turbot, cook the turbot, make the truffle crust.
And then those brownies, he has to get those brownies in,
poach those beautiful cherries in that wonderful Basque liqueur.
That's a big workload and he looks to be on the edge of panic
and I've never seen him like that, I'm slightly scared.
35 minutes gone!
These three food critics have tasted hundreds of dishes on MasterChef.
They're hard to impress and can spot talent a mile off.
All of the people who are competing today have had some real training.
What I want to see is that they've moved beyond that training.
I want to see identity and I want to see good taste.
What I'm hoping for
-is food that delivers on the promise of what was on the menu.
-What I want
is nice stuff to eat!
Ben, 13 minutes, 13 minutes, those mains go.
Ben, pan-seared gurnard on a seafood risotto,
with a mushroom and chorizo sauce.
This is quite a gutsy dish, I quite like the idea of this.
The idea of putting a sauce with a risotto sounds dodgy.
He has to convince me with that.
Come on, Ben, keep it together.
Two minutes, you should be plating up.
Don't overcook that squid!
-Let's go, let's go.
-Well done. Off you go, Ben, come on.
For his main course, Ben is serving pan-fried gurnard with prawns,
squid and scallops, on a bed of risotto,
with a mushroom and chorizo sauce.
I feel vaguely cheated, I'd rather have a bigger piece of gurnard
and it seems to be marginally overcooked.
It's not what we were told we were getting, I'm not necessarily going to hold that against it.
I am more concerned by this risotto. Even just looking at it,
I fear it's undercooked.
The squid's perfectly cooked, the scallop's nice, the prawn's nice.
The risotto is a let-down, it hasn't become one,
it hasn't joined the juice into the rice grains.
It tastes just like a paella. The rice is a little dry.
The fish is ever so slightly overcooked.
It really doesn't excite me.
-You've got just ten minutes to do your dessert.
Panna cottas set?
I'll check right now.
JAY: Ben's dessert, a duo of chocolate mousse and vanilla panna cotta
with poached figs and a port-wine reduction.
There's rather a lot going on there
and rather a lot of things that could fail.
Textures will either be right or wrong.
It's going to need all that ten minutes!
-Touch and go, that one, is it?
-Could be a last-minute job.
-Ben, you know there is a blast chiller?
Take them in that tray, and straight in the blast chiller.
It's not set, Ben, but it's not the end of the world.
For dessert, Ben has made a vanilla panna cotta, chocolate mousse
and is serving it with poached fig and a port-wine reduction.
He hasn't had a great day at the office, accept it,
get out as much as you can, looking as good as you can.
If one of the parts of the dish has completely failed, why plate it up?
Why turn it into a joke? Just be proud of your panna cotta and fig.
Hiding amid the debris on this plate
is actually a really nice panna cotta.
But the figs are under-ripe, they're not nice.
-The chocolate mousse isn't a mousse.
-To get the way it looks wrong
is almost forgivable as long as it tastes lovely and chocolatey.
And this doesn't.
I think the combination works beautifully but it's such a shame
-that everything has collapsed and not set!
-Fight of the blobs.
Had I put it in the blast chiller from the start, possibly I'd be a happier person right now.
I'm upset with myself, I'm disappointed.
I know I can do better, I do it every single day.
-Alison, how are we doing?
-or so-so bad?
I love Alison's menu. Her main says "Lamb and Beetroot".
She's not telling us any more. Bring it on!
-That lamb needs to be served to those critics now.
-How long are you going to be?
-Two minutes! One minute!
-Two minutes, one minute, come on!
I'm loving the lamb and the beetroot but it's late.
-What have we got to go? The jus?
-The jus and the sweetbread.
-Wipe the plates down, let's go! Can we go?
-Hallelujah, let's go!
Oy, oy, oy, oy, oy!
Alison has roasted a rack of lamb and is serving it with wilted spinach,
a beetroot fondant and deep-fried sweetbread beignet
and a red-wine jus.
Pink lamb, a little sweetbread hiding in some crunchy stuff,
a lump of beetroot, I think this looks really, really good.
I would be lying if I said I was going to finish that hockey puck of beetroot
but that which I have tasted is very nice indeed.
I also love the fact that this is a proper piece of meat,
-there's some real flavour there.
-She's cooked the lamb perfectly.
I think she's got some good, solid ideas and she's delivered it with confidence.
It's a fantastic dish, love it.
I would say that this dish was wholly successful.
Alison has given us a very good plate of food here.
It's simple, no more than five ingredients on the plate,
very well presented and well cooked.
-You were slightly over time so you've got just ten minutes now for your dessert.
Alison's dessert, raspberry souffle with summer-berry compote,
if that's all it is, how brilliant!
They might be all right!
Souffles, when done well, are a thing of dreams.
-I'm going to have to do this again.
-What's the problem?
It's gone a bit grainy.
-All right, I can't serve this.
-What are you going to do about it?
I'm going to make another meringue.
Just keep focused, yeah?
-How far off are we?
-Realistically, looking at them, another six minutes.
So that will make it 12 minutes late.
Do you not think it would be better to go out and tell them now?
I think so.
I threw away my meringue because it went grainy
so I'm cooking another batch of souffles in the oven.
What do you reckon, having a quick look at them?
I'm going to check them in two minutes.
What happens to a souffle if overcooked?
I guess it would be like scrambled egg.
I'll check them now!
-Serve them, look at them.
Yes, come on, let's go!
-Course they're done, they're beautiful!
-That's lovely, Alison.
For her dessert, Alison has made a raspberry souffle
with a summer-berry compote.
You know, sometimes you can just look at something and you know.
-It looks great, it certainly looks worth waiting for.
-I love the way
the souffle's come up, "Hello! Hello! Hello!"
Just the right amount so you just get the delicate hue of raspberry.
It looks really inviting.
It's quite good!
That is ama... That's just right, isn't it?
She knows how to cook a souffle.
Very good indeed! Can't fault it.
It's a light souffle, with the lovely fragrance of the raspberries.
Fruit compote is not too sweet. Making a souffle is always a risk
but it's a risk worth taking.
Pull up a chair, give me a glass of dessert wine, that is lovely.
It was about ten minutes late but it's bang on the money.
I could have cut corners but I didn't want to.
I'd rather leave today for being late, than cutting corners.
I cannot do that.
Joshua's menu - turbot with braised baby gem lettuce,
spring vegetables and summer truffle.
It promises to be a really good dish,
providing it's executed with the proper technique.
Josh, six minutes, mate, how are we doing?
I'll let you know in six minutes, Gregg.
-Can't you give me an insight, stop me worrying?
I haven't even got the fish in the pan yet, so...
So you've got a truffle foam to go on top? Frothing?
Er, yes, with this coffee foamer here but... I'm getting there.
Come on, Josh, let's go. Nearly there.
Let's make a bit of room, come on, that's it.
Are you done?
Come on, that's it. Go, go, go.
We're running out of lives here, Josh.
For his main,
Josh has cooked pan-fried turbot
with braised baby gem lettuce, spring vegetables,
fondant potatoes and summer-truffle foam.
I think Joshua's presentation is rather nice.
It's informal, it's straightforward.
The problem with a bit of cooking like this is there is no way to hide.
You've got to get it all bang on, and I'm afraid
I just don't think he has. My fish is actually undercooked.
The remarkable thing about this dish is none of it tastes of anything.
Er, which is an extraordinary piece of wizardry.
He's managed to take the flavour out of the asparagus,
the little gem is just a sort of flavourless...
And the fish has been rendered void of flavour!
The other problem is you've got this watery sauce.
I think he's aimed just a little bit too far and not quite made it.
The truffle foam has got the taste of truffle but it's too light,
it's not coating anything.
I find the vegetables disappointing, a bit bland.
If it didn't have the gem, it would be wonderful.
The gem is washing it out like a tidal wave of lettuce juice.
You're a little bit over, Josh, so you have ten minutes to finish your dessert.
Joshua's dessert, it's a sponge with cream, what's not to like?
If it's anything less than brilliant, it'll be boring.
Two minutes, please, Josh.
It smells heavenly.
That's it. Pot of creme anglaise, chef, and we're away!
What is it, treacle you're putting on top?
I've made an amaretto syrup.
Critics are waiting, Josh, let's go.
-It looks lovely but we're going to have to shift, come on!
Josh's dessert is glazed almond sponge,
topped with toasted almonds, basil-infused rhubarb,
vanilla mascarpone and amaretto syrup.
What I like about this, is it looks like a proper bit of dessert.
There's nothing namby-pamby about that, it's a big bit of sponge.
The rhubarb tastes very like rhubarb, agreeably sharp.
The almond sponge is a little dense.
But other than that, I like this. It's sweet, it's soft, it's the kind of thing you want to finish with.
I could have done with more mascarpone but only cos I'm greedy and I love mascarpone!
All this almond sponge pudding needs is a large jug of custard.
The sponge is really nice and light.
The rhubarb has that wonderful basil taste to it.
It is a really nice dessert but it's not fine dining.
Gut feeling? I don't know, I really don't know.
I would have eaten both of them, they are pretty tasty
but I don't know if they came for a good feed or to see some fine-dining cooking.
Ash, you've got seven minutes left.
So, roast turbot, very nice idea. White asparagus veloute.
Unfortunately I'm in the green asparagus club
and I'm sworn not to speak to white asparagus.
White asparagus doesn't have a massive amount of flavour.
Let's hope it hasn't got what little it has velouted out of it.
-You've got three minutes, Ash, are you going to be all right?
-Is that your asparagus veloute?
-The fish is done.
You're done, you're ready, come on!
Lovely, Ash, well done.
Well done. Well done, Ash.
Can we go?
-He did it bang on time.
-He did it.
Good evening, gentlemen.
Ash's main course is roast turbot with summer-truffle crust,
white asparagus veloute and truffle-topped fondant potatoes.
This is very tidy to look at, almost a little too tidy.
The thing that baffles me most is this white asparagus veloute.
The texture's great, I just don't taste white asparagus!
I don't taste any asparagus!
This is a nice flour and butter sauce, very agreeable
but not quite what it said on the tin.
I really love the crust, it's just got a gentle bit of crunch to it,
which matches the fish, which has been cooked really competently.
You've got really nice textures working here.
You're fine if you love truffle. If you don't,
-you won't like it at all.
-You've got two very noble ingredients here,
turbot and truffle, and they are in perfect harmony.
The fish is cooked bang on, the crust is nice and golden and crispy.
This is a very, very good dish.
Ash, 15 minutes for dessert, yeah?
Dessert? Dark chocolate brownie with cherry, a classic combination.
Patxaran? Nope, no idea.
Is it Mexican? Is it Welsh?
Patxaran sounds a bit like a Basque liqueur of some kind,
one of those words with all the strange Xs in it.
I'm slightly worried about too much booze.
I don't think a chocolate brownie needs booze to sing.
-What's left to go on here?
-..the mascarpone and the cherries.
You've made some little chocolate decorations, sugar chocolate.
Couple of minutes to go now.
-Good on you. Go, go, go!
For dessert, Ash has served a warm chocolate brownie
topped with a quenelle of mascarpone cream,
and a spun-sugar chocolate shard with Patxaran-poached cherries
and a Patxaran syrup.
I do like the look of the brownie, I'm worried about this sauce.
I'm worried about the brownie mixing in with the Navarran booze.
For me, the brownie is not a brownie.
There should be a crisp, crunchy delicious crust,
soggy, dark interior full of chocolate.
Having done a decent brownie, you wouldn't surround it
by pink, oversweet gloop, would you?
But if I had a nasty, chesty infection, this might solve it.
But if I was going out for dinner - no, no, no, no and no!
That thing tastes divine. Sweet, bit of heat from the booze,
sourness from the cherry.
Chocolate... Mate, that is delicious.
I really like the cherries and that syrup made from the Basque liqueur.
I find his chocolate cake or brownie too dense and too heavy.
This is full of flavour, it's just a bit rich for me.
I feel relieved I've done that challenge, it's one that's worried me through the whole competition.
Priority was just to get it done.
It would be a pity to go but I've done what I can
and fair play to whoever goes through, good on 'em.
Wow! Real blood, sweat and tears today.
Complete commitment, 100% focus and some very good food
and they have pushed themselves.
Ben's got the wherewithal but he let himself down today.
He took on too much. He promised a seafood risotto with gurnard fillet on top,
but the rice was a little too firm.
The fish on that risotto was all overcooked.
It was such a let-down.
Then we moved to dessert, which should have been glorious.
It was a bit of a disaster.
Bad day in the kitchen, I think.
Unfortunately true. Too many issues for poor Ben.
Sorry to see Ben go but we can't keep him.
I really loved watching Alison perform today in the kitchen!
She was racing around at 100 miles an hour.
She wants it, she wants it bad.
Alison's lamb - cooked really well, crusty on the outside, pink in the middle,
served with a beetroot fondant which I'd never seen.
Alison also gave us a little nugget of lamb sweetbread, it was divine!
It added texture to the dish and it was thinking outside of the box
which is great.
Alison's souffle, you could have quite happily served in any Michelin establishment.
-But...she was late.
-12 minutes late, that's pretty bad.
William Sitwell is lucky the other two didn't take bites out of him!
I'm happy with the food I served.
I just hope that overshadows the fact I was late.
Interesting with Josh today - ambitious dishes, skilful dishes.
Didn't quite nail it.
And it was flavour and texture he didn't quite get the hang of.
Josh's turbot was cooked - only just though.
Well seasoned but the truffle foam was completely flat and too thin.
It didn't coat the fish properly. And then there was
this watery little gem which completely flooded the plate.
Josh's dessert was good, it was a sponge cake with rhubarb.
That almond sponge, when you took a piece, mate, it was marzipan,
evocative of childhood memories of lovely cake. I loved it!
But for me it was more of a pudding, not the style of dessert you'd find
in a fine-dining restaurant, let alone a Michelin-starred restaurant.
There's elements of my cooking I was happy with but there wasn't much finesse to it today.
We'll have to wait and see.
I really liked Ash's dishes. I love that fish dish
-with the asparagus veloute.
-The truffle crust on top was delicious!
And that lovely white asparagus veloute
was just beautiful. We know Ash can dress food but he backed it up
with bags and bags of depth of flavour.
The critics didn't like Ash's dessert,
they particularly didn't like the sauce he made.
That was that liqueur, what can you say about that? It might not be
your tipple but there was nothing wrong with...I thought it was delicious!
I really enjoyed the combination of the cherry and that Basque liqueur
with a hint of aniseed in it. I thought that was really good!
I'm not sure if I've done enough to go through today.
I don't think the food I put up is good enough, at this stage of the competition.
But I hope so, I really hope I go through.
Ben's out. That still means we have to choose between
Ash, Alison and Josh. As good as they are,
we can't take all three. Who do you think?
Unfortunately, we can only take two of you through to the semifinal.
We have made a decision.
The first chef leaving us today is...
I was really hoping today would be the day I managed to
put a plate of food down I could walk away and be proud of but it's not to be.
I'm proud of what I've done, what I've achieved,
so yeah, I could take good things away from this.
That leaves you three.
Our first semifinalist is...
Well done, Ash.
That leaves you two.
The second chef leaving us is...
..Josh. Sorry, Josh.
I think the competition has kind of summed up where I am as a chef.
I'm doing well but I'm not there yet
so it's back to work,
hopefully I can continue and one day, show what I can do.
It's getting really exciting now, so hopefully I get to stay
and keep on going. I'd love to reach the final.
I'm surprised but I'm very happy I'm through. Yeah.
Got to make sure I'm spot on with the time now. Next time!
Next week, it's the semifinals.
Alison and Ash join the six other exceptional chefs
as the fight for the title intensifies.
One outstanding plate of food.
At the end of this, two of you will be leaving the competition.
I was expecting presentation that was going to blow my mind.
I think that's delicious.
This makes this competition, for me, so worthwhile.
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