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'Only an elite group of chefs holds two Michelin Stars.
'Michel Roux Jr is one of them.'
'Now he and MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace
'are on the hunt for Britain's next culinary superstar.
'A professional with the talent to cut it in the world's top kitchens.'
'These six chefs have made it to today's quarter-final.
'Now the battle really begins.
Obviously it's getting tougher, but it means a lot.
I'm still here so I'm still fighting.
The semi-final place, you know, I want it.
I'm going to give it everything I've got to get it.
I'm here to be outside of my comfort zone. I'm not going to be scared.
I'm going to embrace it and do everything I can to succeed.
The pressure is unbelievable.
Everything that we do from now on has to be pretty much perfect.
Anything less, there's a chance of going home.
I want to be in the final. I'm going to do everything I can
to prove that I'm a worthy competitor.
110 percent chef all the time now. There's no holding back.
I going to show them what I'm made of.
'First they must prove to Michel and Gregg that they've got what it takes
'with a dish of their own invention.'
This is MasterChef: The Professionals. I want perfection. No more nerves, just skill and passion.
At this stage, it's absolutely brutal. If they don't measure up, they go.
'Only the best chefs will go on to showcase their food
'for some of the UK's toughest restaurant critics.'
It's like a sort of mousse made with Nutella.
That is either a work of genius or a complete disaster. There'll be no middle ground.
We want one great dish.
A starter, a main or a dessert.
As a professional chef, when I look at these beautiful ingredients, I am inspired. You've got artichokes,
pumpkins, celeriac and berries, clams, John Dory, beautiful liver.
It excites me. I want to see that in you.
Prove you have what it takes. Go for it.
This is absolutely stunning.
I want to cook everything.
It's every chef's dream, to have this in their larder.
I'm excited. There's so much I could do.
It's about trying to get the best out of everything you can.
My brain's working overtime trying to come up with a fantastic dish.
I'll go with what I know and hopefully get something decent out of it.
Last minute. Last 60 seconds.
-Ooh, be quick. Come on.
One hour to exceed our expectations.
I'm looking for a plate of food that proves to me that you are true chefs.
Now's your chance. Don't waste it.
Mike, 40-year-old head chef on an oil rig.
He has got the formal training, but he's out of practice.
Has he still got what it takes?
You've got to adapt and think very quickly on your feet.
I used to be very good at it, I've not done it for a while but it's all flooding back.
The seasonings, the flavours. I just love every minute of it. It's just... My brain's exploding.
-What are you cooking for us?
I'm doing roast loin of venison with rosemary champ potato.
-Mike, why does it mean so much to you?
-I want to get back into cooking for people like yourselves
-and set myself a challenge again.
-What do you think we're looking for?
-Technique, seasoning, presentation.
-And have you got it?
-I have. You're going to see Mike on a plate, Chef.
You've had 15 minutes already. Flying by.
Ben is a 25-year-old head chef from Cornwall.
He's served us good food. Now is the time for him to deliver something memorable.
Professional MasterChef is really tough.
I'm keeping my nerves under control. Hopefully it'll show.
-Ben, what are you cooking for us?
some roasted celeriac, girolle mushrooms and creamed cabbage with a bit of shallot and smoked bacon.
Head chef of a restaurant in Cornwall, surprised you didn't go for the fish.
I was looking at the fish but I thought I might show you that I can cook other things
-just as good as I can cook the fish.
-Where's the flair in this dish?
The flair? It's going to look absolutely amazing. It's going to be faultless.
Ben's cooking venison with roasted celeriac. The safe route.
Has he chosen the right dish to show off his skills?
Perry, very serious but talented 25-year-old sous chef from Hertfordshire.
He says he's never satisfied. Well, today he has to satisfy us.
At the moment, I'm still not happy with what I'm producing.
You only ever see the smile once I'm happy with the food I've presented.
I'm not here to joke around, I'm here to cook.
Right, Perry, what are you cooking for us?
Star anise encrusted venison
with a sweet carrot puree, some lemon-glazed baby fennel
-and a prune and thyme jus.
-You strive for perfection.
-Are you going to get that today?
-Today, yes. This is what I'm aiming for.
-There's no room for mistakes anymore. I need it, I need it.
-Well done, chef. Go and get it.
He's got crusted venison, he's got lemon fennel
and he's got a sauce made out of prunes.
There's so much going on in that plate of food.
It's going to be a serious balancing act.
You've got half an hour left.
Chris, a 29-year-old head chef. Showed immense promise. Can he live up to that?
My food is my food. I've got my own kind of style, my own kind of flavours.
My classical dish, Michel Roux loved it. I can't really get better than that.
-What is it you're cooking for us?
-Fried lamb with celeriac puree, peas and redcurrant reduction.
-Can you make this dish as good as your last one?
-I'm going to prove the last one wasn't a fluke.
-Our comments have given you a bit of a buzz.
-Yeah, a little bit. Ever so slightly.
Chris is cooking no-frills piece of lamb, celeriac puree and peas.
I don't have a problem with that, but it just has to be perfect.
Oli looks like a chef with the sunken eyes. He looks tired.
He has got the classic training.
But can he be consistent enough to take him all the way?
Cooking for Michel Roux Jr, it's always going to be tough. He's scrutinising everything I do.
I think I'm good enough to cook for him, so I'll just push on. I can get through the pressure.
-Oli, have you been inspired by the ingredients?
I'm going to be doing poached quail with a celeriac puree, bacon foam.
-Why would you poach it rather than roast it?
-To keep the delicate flavour
and it'll keep its shape easier on the bone. Then I can roast the bones separately to make my sauce.
-What have you got to prove, Oli?
-You've seen I can do classical cookery.
I need to show you I can take it to the next level.
Oli's being very brave and quite technical.
He is going to produce two things I've never seen before,
quail that's been poached and a foam made from bacon.
I just hope it's not too much style over substance.
Sebastien's from Marseilles in the South of France. He's self-taught.
He's got a great touch, but can he compete with the rest without that classic training background?
Technically, I still have a lot to learn.
But my palate, actually, I've started to believe is quite good.
Right, Sebastien, what are you cooking for us?
Fish gratinated in the oven with some rouille
just to have this lovely topping.
And I'm going to serve this with some aromatic broth with some clams.
So this is a bouillabaisse. Well...
-OK. So you're playing to your strengths.
-Yes. I want to win this competition.
-I'm not going to cook things I don't know.
-You think this dish shows flair?
Yes, I think it shows flair. I hope I will prove to you that it shows flair.
I don't know about Sebastien. This could really be just safe cooking for him.
Last ten minutes.
Three minutes, guys. Your last three minutes. Quick, quick, quick.
You've only got 60 seconds.
That's it! Stop. Stop.
'Yorkshire man Oli has chosen to cook the quail,
'poaching and pan-roasting it
'and serving it with celeriac puree, spring greens, a bacon foam
'and a red wine sauce.'
Your plating up is neat but it doesn't sing out.
It just looks a little bit sad.
The quail is beautifully moist, succulent and delicious.
I would've preferred a touch more colour on the skin.
But very precise cooking skills and very precise seasoning, as well.
Thank you, Chef.
Grr. Almost absolutely delicious.
That creamy, milky, earthiness of the celeriac
and then that perfect, beautiful quail.
And all it's missing is a nice fruity little bit of sharpness from that sauce.
I can see it as a smudge on the plate, I can't taste it.
I'm annoyed with myself for not putting enough sauce on the plate.
I do it every day at work, and the most important plate I've cooked, I didn't put enough sauce.
'Ben from Cornwall has chosen to cook the venison and creamed cabbage with bacon,
'served with roasted celeriac, girolle mushrooms
'and a red wine sauce.'
I think it's well presented. Very neat, precise.
It looks really appetising, I think.
The venison is very well cooked. The cream greens, lots of bacon flavour going in there.
A mistake, though, with the sauce.
It is slightly fatty.
I think maybe when you deglazed your pan, you left a bit of cooking fat in there
and it's got an aftertaste of cooked, burnt fat, which is not particularly pleasant.
I saw you dabbing at the meat with some kitchen roll.
You didn't give yourself enough time to let the meat rest. It's bleeding a bit. That's my only complaint.
'Perry from Hertfordshire has also used the venison.
'His is encrusted with star anise,
'served with bacon, a prune jus, carrot puree and lemon-dressed fennel.'
There's a lot going on on that plate. The fennel is cooked just right, slightly crunchy.
The carrot puree is silky smooth.
The venison is pink and well rested.
And I think the prune sauce with the pepper works beautifully well.
But I don't think you've got the balance quite right there.
The star anise crust is overpowering. It's a little bit too strong for the venison.
I love the star anise. I love aniseed around the venison.
What doesn't work is the fennel, which is aniseed flavour,
with the venison encrusted in aniseed flavour.
It's like someone's smacked you over the head with a giant Blackjack.
Trying to get a dish right the first time is a hard task.
I can make a dish and I'll play with it for two weeks before I smile.
'Oil rig chef Mike is the third chef to cook the venison.
'He's roasted it and served it with dill and rosemary champ potatoes,
'a selection of turned vegetables and a red wine reduction.'
The textures are nice. Your potatoes are buttery and soft.
Your meat is beautifully cooked. But the two big flavours there
are sweetness and rosemary, which are too powerful for the venison.
Your venison is well seasoned and well cooked. The carrots, asparagus and mushrooms are al dente.
That's where it stops for me, I'm afraid.
I think your potato is overpowering with the rosemary and the dill.
The sauce is far too sweet.
I think your palate needs readjusting slightly.
Have I done enough? I think maybe my flavours have cost me today, maybe.
'Welshman Chris is the first to choose the lamb.
'He's served it with celeriac puree,
'buttered greens, carrots, peas and a red wine sauce.'
I like the presentation, Chris. I think it's modern, quirky.
For me, it works.
The lamb is succulent, cooked pink, exactly right.
Celeriac puree beautiful and silky smooth.
And a few peas, which you've actually taken time to remove the shell, as well. This is good cooking.
Big let down, though, is the sauce.
Too sweet, too reduced.
Thick enough to spread on your toast.
You have over-reduced the sauce.
But I don't care. You have the ability
to just draw flavour out of food.
Mate, that is lovely.
'Inspired by his Provencal roots,
'Frenchman Sebastien has made his own take on a classic bouillabaisse.
'Aromatic clam broth topped with gratinated whiting
'and a rouille, a garlic and saffron mayonnaise.'
I really like the presentation. Bags of colour. It sings of Provence.
Two bones. Fish bones should not happen.
Should not happen.
The cooking of the fish is very good. It's got bags of flavour, bags of depth.
It's a good dish, but you only have to find one bone in that fish and it really does spoil it.
It's such a shame.
Well, you're a very unlucky man. Not one single bone.
Not one single bone. I've got a mouthful of delight.
Beautiful flaky fish. Hint of aniseed from the fennel.
Good. Really, really good.
I made a very stupid mistake, which is unforgivable.
I left fish bones. And in fine dining, this is a big no.
We've now got to send two of you home, which is really, really difficult.
Off you go, guys.
I like Oli's cooking. I think he slightly under-did it on his presentation of his quail dish,
but what was on the plate was cooked to perfection.
I don't doubt Oli's talent, but not enough sauce.
The competition's very high. Everyone's a very good cook.
But I'd like to think I can cook as well, if not better, and I hope I've show that today.
Ben's food was decent and I liked it.
Everything was well seasoned.
But it was just safe cooking. It wasn't inspired.
I want to go all the way in this competition, all the way to the final.
I want that MasterChef title.
I like Perry. He's driven, he's focused, he knows what he wants.
All right, he over-did it with the aniseed,
but that prune jus with the pepper in there was glorious.
He is flamboyant with his flavour combinations, but I don't think he quite pulled it off today.
I'm here to put my flavours on a dish and see what they think of them.
If it's too much for them, then it's too much for everybody else.
I liked the way Mike worked today, in a clean and orderly fashion.
But his food was overpowering with rosemary and sweetness. It completely killed the dish.
I think Mike's got the knowledge and the skills, it's just a long time since he's practised them.
At this stage, I should've been more on the ball,
so I think that's probably cost me.
I thought Chris had chosen the safe option,
but his food was beautifully presented on the plate and everything was cooked bang on.
That lamb just came steaming through and I thought, "Good boy".
My only point was the sauce, over-reduced and far too sticky.
Two of us are going to go today. Even by over-reducing your sauce, that's enough to send you home.
I think Sebastien's plate looked beautiful. It was reminiscent of my trips to Southern France.
Sebastien gave us some really good cooking, but he didn't remove the bones and I got a mouthful.
And that just should not happen.
If I go home tonight, I will be very, very sad.
Very, very, very, very sad.
Four of you go through to the next round.
Two of you go home.
The first chef we've chosen...
-Perry. Congratulations, Perry.
-Thank you very much.
-Well done, young man.
Chris, Perry, Oli, you're through.
Mike, Ben and Seb, one of you is staying, two of you unfortunately are going. Sorry.
The first chef leaving us...
..is Mike. Sorry, Mike.
The second chef leaving us...
-Thank you very much.
I'm really happy with what I've achieved so far, but I wanted more.
Two had to go tonight.
It's really upsetting that I'm one of the two.
It's been a massive experience. Fantastic.
I work on the oil rigs. I've not done this style of cooking for six years.
It'll come back, it'll come back.
Sharpen your knives. Now for some serious cooking.
At the end of this, two of you will be semi-finalists.
But two of you will be leaving the competition. It's harsh.
Knock 'em dead.
'The chefs have an hour and a quarter
'to prepare and serve a two-course critics' menu
'that reflects the very best of their cooking.'
It's not easy to impress critics that have eaten in the best restaurants in the world.
Put a smile on a critic's face, you've done a brilliant job.
Now's the time to say, "Hey, look at me, I am the next best thing".
Out of the four chefs here, it's Chris's food that I've enjoyed the most.
It's butter, it's seasoning,
it's all the good things that make happy customers fat.
I just hope he can turn it on and impress the critics now.
Michel and Gregg both praised my dishes really highly in terms of flavour,
taste and even presentation. If I keep my consistency up, hopefully I'll go through today.
Right, Chris, what are you cooking for the critics?
I'm doing pan-fried venison, swede fondant, candied red cabbage with blackberries
-and then poached rhubarb, pain perdu and egg custard.
-It sounds very fruity. A lot of sugar.
-I think fruit works well with venison.
-Then dessert of pain perdu...
-Lost bread. So old, stale bread.
Eggy bread. Just delicious.
Chris, forgive me, mate, but you look so scared.
-Just a little.
Michel, it's a big day. He's nervous, I feel nervous.
Chris is cooking venison with a sweet blackcurrant sauce
and serving it with a sweet candied red cabbage.
I am worried that the food critics will see that combination as a little passe.
Oli's food is cooked with such precision
that it is absolute heaven.
But today he needs to up his presentation. He's got to deliver perfection.
Now there's a semi-final place up for grabs, it's so tough, but I want that place.
To go home now, it would be gutting.
Oli, you've got a pretty mad array of ingredients here.
-Soy, maple, tonka bean. What's going on?
-They're not all going together.
I'm doing maple and soy glazed loin of venison with a smoky jus.
-What are you smoking it with?
-Darjeeling tea, sugar and Sichuan pepper.
It's going to be a really fine line of judgement and balance.
I've done this dish before and it worked very well. And then my dessert is going to be
apple tarte tatin with a tonka bean Chantilly and an apple crisp.
-Wahh! That fella beside me knows a far bit about tarte tatins.
-It needs to be perfect today.
Apple tarte tatin with tonka bean Chantilly cream and sliced of crisp apples.
Mate, I want to give him a big kiss.
Tonka bean is a South American spice that has like a coffee, toffee, vanilla aroma to it.
Really quite pungent. If you put too much of it, it will overpower the Chantilly.
Guys, you're halfway.
Ben is a solid, classically-trained chef.
His food tastes great and his presentation is good
but we want to see a spark, a bit of imagination.
Do you know what I'd like to see from him? I'd like to see some ambition.
-Ben, what are you cooking for the critics?
-For my main course, pan-roasted turbot,
some samphire, deep-fried mussels
-and a really rich shellfish butter sauce.
Glad to see you cooking fish, coming from Cornwall.
Your fish dish will live or die by the quality of that sauce.
-Is it going to deliver where your venison sauce didn't?
-I'm trying to get as much flavour as possible. Hopefully it'll tick all the boxes.
These guys I'm up against are really good professional chefs. I can cope with the pressure.
I think I can, anyway. And hopefully that'll show today.
We criticised him for being a little bit too safe in the last round.
-It's great to see Ben pushing the boat out on his main course.
-But the dessert...
I can understand a gooseberry jelly. I can understand a gooseberry tart.
But a gooseberry compote is just a wet thing.
With cream and then honeycomb? I don't get it.
Perry's got the quality skills of a trained chef.
He's also got that bit of devil in him, as well.
I like Perry's style and his adventurous quirkiness.
I just hope it's not too risky for the critics.
Perry, what's your menu for the food critics?
Coffee encrusted lamb with a parsnip and vanilla puree
with pomme dauphine with roasted almond with a beurre rouge sauce.
-Coffee on the lamb, almonds on the potatoes.
-And for dessert?
A praline panna cotta with a dark chocolate and hazelnut tuile with milk sorbet.
You certainly have got your work cut out.
-I'm very short on time.
-Have you tried this before?
-Not in 60 minutes, I haven't.
On a day like today, why push yourself so hard?
This is what I'm here for, you know? I didn't see the point of taking it easy.
You do realise, Perry, that if you go brave like this and don't pull if off...
-Yeah, I know.
-What do you reckon they're going to think?
-They'll think I'm an idiot.
I admire Perry's bravery but I've never eaten nuts with potato before and, to be honest, it scares me.
I really, really hope that Perry can pull this together, because if he does, that guy's a genius.
I'm simply trying to impress by doing something unique. I could get slated for it.
Everything's got to work. If it doesn't work, then I'm in trouble.
You've got 15 minutes now. These are not food critics who are used to waiting for their dinner.
'These three food critics have tasted hundreds of dishes on MasterChef.
'They have seen it all and can spot talent a mile away.'
I am expecting serious skill
from people who have decided to dedicate their careers to cooking.
If that's not on the plate then I'm not sure why they bothered to turn up.
As restaurant critics, we spend our whole life looking for something
and we don't know what it is until we find it.
It's that magic elusive ingredient that you call talent.
Creating a great dish is extremely difficult.
It tends to be simple but original.
Good ingredients well put together
and perfectly balanced.
Critics by their very nature look for faults.
That's why our chefs have to cook totally fault-free food.
The pressure is really on. Two of them leave the competition today.
-Chris, you've got 15 minutes before your main goes out.
Loin of venison. Difficult to cook properly.
It's got some classic accompaniments. I don't think anybody reading this menu
would accuse Chris of trying to shock us with culinary innovation.
The idea of candied cabbage is not making my heart race with excitement.
Shift yourself, mate, please.
-Careful. You're all right.
'Chris has cooked loin of venison, candied cabbage,
'swede fondant and blackcurrants.'
These paintbrushed sauces are of no use to anybody, are they?
You can only eat them by using your thumb.
-Charles, you've got a bit of greaseproof paper left on your swede fondant.
I've just crunched my way through a juniper berry.
Spiced cabbage, very nice, but really you have to take the spices out before you serve it.
At least Chris has, I think, cooked the venison pretty well.
It tastes really good, nice and pink in the middle. The rest of it...
-Almost all his vegetables are underdone.
-Crunch has been taken to its limits.
The swede is impenetrable. You need men with tools to get into that.
A beautiful, colourful dish.
The sauce, I think he's judged that really well.
The cabbage, my worry was this was going to be overkill on sugar and it's not.
The swede for me, though, is not cooked enough.
It's crunchy, it's almost raw.
I'm not overwhelmed by that plate at all.
I've eaten much better food from Chris and I think that big lump of swede is a huge mistake.
The dessert, rhubarb and custard. Best friends.
Eggy bread. Don't know quite what that adds. We shall see.
Sorry, one collapsed a little bit. Any takers?
-Give it to Jay.
-I'll take it.
-There you go. Sorry.
'For dessert, Chris has cooked pain perdu
'topped with poached rhubarb, baked egg custard
'and a sugar work cage.'
The whole presentation of the dish looks vaguely old-fashioned.
In fact, I think it looks better without the three ounces of sugar than with.
I'd have to say, I think mine does look better with it on, because mine's collapsed.
Yeah, mine's collapsing, as well.
-It's scrambled egg. It's a basic error.
If you send out a dish with custard on it and your custard is split, it's game over.
The rhubarb is a real problem. I can make no impression on it.
I don't think it's really up to scratch.
Rhubarb's too hard.
You can't even cut it, it's that underdone.
The eggy bread is just soggy
and it should have a little crunch to it.
That is bordering on a write-off.
Er, bit upset. Didn't go down as planned.
Time just ran away. Erm, I couldn't get the egg custard to set properly.
I shouldn't be making mistakes like that at all.
-Oli, you've got ten minutes, mate. You going to be all right?
Oli's menu, maple-glazed loin of venison with spring greens,
celeriac puree, fondant potato and smoked venison jus.
Sounds a little bit tricksy for me.
The smoked venison jus, that is either a work of genius or a complete disaster. There's no middle ground.
I've fallen in love with this, Oli.
-Happy with it?
-Yes, I am, Chef.
-I hope it tastes like it looks.
'Oli has cooked maple and soy glazed loin of venison,
'spring greens, celeriac puree and fondant potato
'served with a smoked venison jus.'
That is a perfectly cooked piece of venison.
-It really is smoked.
You do get a little bit of the maple flavour coming through
and it chimes very well with this smoky sauce.
It adds some genuine character.
It's very nice. I find myself rather surprised to be praising a sauce that's been smoked.
But it's very hard to argue with really delicious, isn't it?
Oli has good taste, we're the beneficiaries of that. I wonder if he'll come and live with me.
The sweetness from the maple syrup and the saltiness from the soy, and this really buttery, soft potato,
-really nice puree, I really, really like it.
-I think he's done a very good job.
The venison's cooked beautifully, the sauce has a lovely richness to it.
I love everything on that plate bar the smokiness. It's far too overpowering for me.
-In 15 minutes we want dessert.
Tarte tatin is a specific thing. And either it is that or it isn't.
You've got to pull it off or it's a failure.
Tonka bean is that thing they used to put in potpourri.
Heavily scented. Smells a bit like old ladies' underwear drawers.
And I can't see it adding anything to creme Chantilly.
Each one's looking better than the other.
You can't beat a classic French dessert.
Well done, Oli.
'For dessert, Oli has made apple tarte tatin with tonka bean Chantilly cream.'
This is a tarte tatin as it should be.
The usual error with this is you get soggy pastry underneath.
It's impeccable. He's clearly technically very good.
It's really high quality food.
Why one adds tonka bean to the creme Chantilly I'm still a little puzzled by.
A lump of clotted cream would have suited me just as well.
After the main course, I was thinking if Oli would come and live with me.
Now I'm willing to make an honest man of him and propose a civil partnership.
-That's lovely. Look at that. He's done a very good job on that.
The apple is falling apart, it has sweetness and a little bit of sharpness.
The pastry is cooked beautifully all the way through. And I love that tonka cream.
Little bit of vanilla, coffee, almost a bit of hazelnut.
That, I believe, Michel, we say in the trade is lovely.
A tarte tatin should be oozing in butter and caramel.
This isn't. But it's nonetheless a very good and beautiful-looking tarte tatin.
It was a push but I got it done, so I'm just relieved that I got it out on time.
Even the tarte tatin came out as I wanted it to. So I couldn't have asked for more.
Ben's menu is instantly appealing to me. Cornish turbot, seafood bisque,
samphire, crispy mussels, if that comes together that could be a really great dish.
If he avoids the pitfall of overcooking the fish,
and the seafood bisque is thick and delicious, we're in for a treat.
It's got a lot of colours. That looks beautiful. Keep it up.
-Let's push these out the way. Come on.
Go on! Go!
-Thank you. Enjoy.
'Ben has cooked a main of Cornish turbot and crispy mussels
'on a bed of samphire, served with a seafood bisque.'
Loving these mussels. It's a very appealing plateful, isn't it?
He's thought about what he's doing with his sauce. On the plate and the mussels would have gone soggy.
This way, I can do that.
If I was being really picky, I'd say there is a slight lack of intensity to the bisque.
It could be just a little more full-on.
It's not a lack of intensity, he's put a splash too much cream in and it's gone a bit bland.
The fish is cooked, for me, absolutely perfect.
There is a great deal to be really proud of here, it's really good.
The sauce, not quite as punchy as I would have wanted it.
The fish cooked to perfection. The little breaded mussels crunchy and sweet inside. I like that dish a lot.
He's ticked all the boxes. Lovely presentation, fantastic taste.
One small criticism, I'd like that sauce to be a little thicker.
For pudding, he offers gooseberry compote with elderflower cream and crushed honeycomb.
I love the flavour of gooseberries, the acidic cut you get.
And elderflower has that sort of fragrant, smells like cat's pee sort of quality about it
that really makes things come alive.
-Ben, what's holding the cream?
-Er, it's a custard base then with elderflower cordial,
and then gassed and compressed to make it light.
The presentation is interesting.
'For his dessert, Ben has served a red gooseberry compote,
'elderflower cream foam, and crushed honeycomb.'
That looks rather nice with the, sort of, layer of goosegogs and some cream.
It makes sense to put preserved fruit in a jar, doesn't it?
The element that doesn't work is the foam. If that had been a custard, I'd have been much happier.
The gooseberries at the bottom are just a little bit too sharp.
And the honeycomb on top is just a little burnt.
That hits the back of the mouth and slightly overwhelms these other much more subtle tastes.
I get the idea of this dish, it just hasn't quite worked.
The compote I like. The cream on top hasn't held.
It needed some form of gelling agent to hold it up. It hasn't worked.
I said all along, are we just going to get some wet gooseberries? Pretty much. It's just in a jar.
The food that I turned out, it's me on a plate.
I feel proud of what I've done so far in the competition and I'd love to get further on.
-Perry, you've got two minutes.
-How far away are you?
-If it had said, "rack of lamb with parsnip and vanilla puree,
roast almond pomme dauphine and beurre rouge," it would be interesting.
But it says coffee encrusted lamb rack,
which immediately strikes fear into your heart.
It could be fabulous! But my experience, and I've had quite a lot of it, tells me that it won't be.
-Still not cooked?
-Perry, you should be serving now.
-Happy with the lamb?
-Let's go, let's go!
Keep it going, come on.
-OK. Slowly does it, in you go.
'Perry has cooked coffee encrusted lamb with parsnip and vanilla puree,
'roasted almond pomme dauphine, and a beurre rouge.'
It looks characterful and flavourful, like the cover of a cookbook. Looks good.
The big surprise for me, the thing that I like the most
is the coffee flavour on the outside of the lamb.
It's not offensive, it's actually rather pleasing.
I think that lamb is cooked just about perfect for me.
I quite like these little croquettes with the crunchy almonds inside.
The parsnip puree with vanilla, it's...
You could make ice cream out of it, it's much too sweet.
Well, we were a bit nervous about it, and in reality,
there's enough that's good about it to make me think that Perry is potentially a very interesting chef.
The parsnip puree is like a pudding. It's sweet.
It's got vanilla in it, not just a bit, but a lot of vanilla in it.
The lamb, I think, is perfectly cooked.
I like the bitterness of the coffee crust with the sweetness of vanilla.
-Perry, don't be late for the pudding.
Praline panna cotta with dark chocolate and hazelnut tuile, milk sorbet.
Erm, praline is something crunchy, panna cotta, something very smooth.
Don't really want to put one in the other.
I think at this level of the competition, I'm looking for some personality.
And there's personality in this menu.
Mm. Lovely. Chocolate disc on top there.
Very smart. Well done, Perry. Well done.
'For pudding, Perry has made a praline panna cotta,
'with a dark chocolate tuile and a milk sorbet.'
The panna cotta is slightly over-set, but it's still very pleasant.
I like the milk sorbet, which is very clean after the richness of the hazelnut.
And then you have a chocolate biscuit which is done very well.
It's not a classical panna cotta texture, it's a bit firmer than that.
It's like a, sort of, airless mousse made with Nutella.
It's not horrid, but it's not my favourite pudding.
I like the panna cotta. I like the almost coffee-ish strength of flavour from the praline.
It shouldn't work, but it does.
Tuile is really fine and crisp and flavoured heavily with chocolate.
And the milk kind of freezes your mouth then it delivers a creamy flavour,
and then all that nut and caramel flavour comes flooding in, as well.
Great big, caramelly, brown, milky cuddle.
The panna cotta is really nice. I love the taste of that.
But I think he's over-egged it on the gelatine to make sure it sets quickly.
I tried my hardest. I pushed. I couldn't push any more.
And I'm not happy with my food.
So at the end of the day, if I'm not happy, why is a critic going to be?
A really, really interesting day.
Delivery for some I thought was absolutely delicious,
some I thought, "You're a bit off the mark there."
I think our expectations were very high
and some of the chefs there will be very disappointed with what they put up.
We thought Chris's food was going to be very sweet. In fact, it wasn't.
I thought the sauce was really nice. The biggest down point was that raw piece of swede.
All the vegetables were under-cooked.
You could forgive that in a way, but his dessert was a shambles.
The rhubarb was severely underdone, almost raw. And his custard had split.
He knows that didn't work well.
If I had a place in the semi-finals, I'd be over the moon. It'd be brilliant.
But everything has to be perfect so today wasn't good enough.
You and I didn't like it, the critics didn't like it, not a lot of hope for Chris, is there?
He had a bad day, it doesn't make him a bad chef. But he can't go any further.
Oli has proven to us that he is a solid chef.
I thought his main course was lovely.
No more than four ingredients on the plate, but beautifully cooked.
The venison was sweet and succulent and slightly smoked beforehand.
I loved the aroma of the smoke, I just found it a little bit too harsh on the palate.
But I think he really did get it right on the day. Superb.
The tarte tatin I thought was a triumph. Absolute triumph.
Actually knocking on the door of super-delicious.
I think he's got the skills, the knowledge, the flair and the talent.
I'm more than happy to see Oli go through.
I am feeling fairly confident in the dishes I cooked. I'm happy.
I'd like to hope one of those semi places is mine.
We've decided between us, with the help of the critics, that Chris is going home and Oli is going through.
So now we have to decide between Ben and Perry.
What I do know about Ben is that he can cook and that he's got a very good palate.
That turbot dish was delicious. Those little breaded mussels, fried and crunchy and sweet inside,
the turbot was cooked to perfection.
It was a clever dish. His dessert, I was expecting better.
Gooseberries I love, but that creamy mousse on top just did not work.
It collapsed immediately and the honeycomb was borderline being over-cooked.
After his turbot, Ben was a decent dessert away from a semi-final. And blew it.
And now he's in a penalty shoot-out with Perry.
It'd be the greatest to get to the semi-finals, absolutely amazing. If I did, I'd do somersaults.
Perry has got bags of imagination and enthusiasm.
He wants to be different. I don't think we saw Perry at his best today.
For me, Perry's main course, the lamb was well-cooked, pink as it should be
and that crust of coffee worked very well with it.
But that sickly-sweet parsnip with vanilla overkill was just terrible.
I did, though, really enjoy his dessert.
Give me things made out of cream that are brown and I'm very, very happy.
And that is Perry being adventurous but not too adventurous.
My body is crumbling, I feel so tired, and the competition has taken it out of me.
Doesn't mean I want to leave, doesn't mean I want to quit, I still want more,
but did I give it enough? I don't know.
It's gut-wrenching because one chef is more exciting
and one makes less mistakes.
You know, we are making a decision that may change their career.
Oh, dear, for crying out loud. Michel, we've got one semi-final place left.
We've got to get it right.
There were highs and lows today.
I know that as professional chefs, some of you will be a bit disappointed.
We have made a decision. And the first chef leaving us today is...
A bit upset. A bit gutted. Obviously I'm proud to get this far.
But once you're here, you want to get further. It just wasn't meant to be.
The second chef leaving us is...
..Ben. Sorry, Ben.
Possibly played it too safe, you know, not enough skill involved.
To get where you want to be, you have to move forward with drive and passion.
And I feel that I still have that and one day I will be where I want to be. And I will get there.
Oli, Perry, congratulations, you are semi-finalists. Well done.
It's only going to get harder and harder. I don't know what to say.
I'm half asleep, half awake, half excited, half happy.
So everything is going on.
Everything I want is right here. So the longer I'm here, the better.
I'm so happy. It's been such a long day and it's done. I can't describe this feeling. Wow! Wow!
I expect the competition is going to get a lot harder but I'm so excited, so excited.
-You're smiling, Perry.
-Yeah, I'm finally smiling. Exhausted but I'm smiling.
'Oli and Perry will be back for the semi-finals.
'Next week, ten more chefs must try and impress Monica and Gregg.'
This is your first test.
I'm terrified of Monica. Hopefully she will like what I cook.
I perform quite well under pressure.
I'm very confident in my ability to win.
It's like a chocolate cream egg on acid.
I can't fault her. Flavours are fantastic. I'm very happy to eat that.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Legendary double Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr and MasterChef dining expert Gregg Wallace hunt for Britain's next culinary superstar who has what it takes to go to the top of the culinary world.
It is the first of the quarter finals and the six best chefs from the first heats must prove to Michel and Gregg they have what it takes by making a dish of their own invention. Choosing from a fantastic array of ingredients, including quail and loin of venison, they must blow the judges away with one course.
Only the best four chefs will go on to showcase their skill to three of the UK's toughest restaurant critics. The critics will be expecting two exceptional courses and the chefs have only an hour and a quarter to produce a jaw dropping menu that will determine their MasterChef future.
Only the two most talented chefs will go through to the semi- finals and stand a chance of becoming this year's Professional MasterChef.