Michelin-starred chef Nigel Haworth puts four home cooks through a series of culinary challenges, including how to make spinach a la creme.
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Four of the best chefs in Britain
are on the hunt for their perfect partner.
For the first time ever,
amateur the home cooks will be paired with the best in the business
for the cooking experience of a lifetime.
This is the hardest thing I've had to do in my life.
Each day, a different Michelin-starred chef will choose
their perfect partner from four talented home cooks.
All of you, I thought, cooked really well.
Then, in the Friday final, all four pairs will go head-to-head
to cook for culinary royalty, Pierre Koffmann.
What I look for in a perfect dish is to keep it simple and tasty.
For the professional chefs, their reputations are on the line.
Release the home cooks!
But will the amateur home cooks live up to their expectations?
What are you doing?
This is Yes Chef.
Hello and welcome to Yes Chef.
Let's see who's cooking in the kitchen today.
First, it's Julie Yould, a housewife from Chester.
People tell me my food is delicious.
I usually like to use quite a few hot and spicy things,
lots of chillies. I'm going to try and pull out all the stops today.
I'll do my very best, try to remember everything
in the right order and present it in a beautiful way.
Next is Ben Kenneally, an account executive from Harrogate.
People say my food is inspired by travel.
I take lots of influence from different places I've visited
in the past. I really want to win. The opportunity to cook
for a Michelin-starred chef is fantastic.
Chris Dearden is a pre-sales manager from Milton Keynes.
My cooking style is quite varied,
fairly rustic. Not so great on the presentation.
And, finally, Charlotte Davies is a contract scheduler from Cardiff.
I've always wanted to cook for, like, a Michelin-starred chef.
It's been my dream.
To know someone else appreciates your cooking would mean
the absolute world to me.
Well, we've met our home cooks so it's now time to meet our chef.
It's Nigel Haworth.
Nigel Haworth is chef patron of Northcote, set in the heart
of the Ribble Valley in Lancashire.
The style of cookery I do, it's modern British.
We're cooking food that is in season, at its best.
Nigel has an instinctive understanding of his region,
and his cooking is described as local, rustic,
and has a nod to heritage classics.
Having held a Michelin star for 20 years, his standards are
incredibly high, and he's looking for the perfect partner.
In an ideal world,
I'd really like to have somebody who understands seasonality.
It is the biggest factor in making a dish work.
I'm looking for somebody who is really passionate and ambitious.
And somebody who can win.
It's an absolute pleasure to have you here today.
It's great to be here.
Well, our four home cooks will be doing all they can to impress you
today, in the hope you'll pick one of them to be your partner in
the Friday final. What are you going to be looking for?
I think flavour is, for me, the most important thing. Seasonality's good.
Really seeing those flavours work, seeing some harmony in the food.
Just a simple, beautiful dish.
OK, well, let's get on with it.
This is round one, Dish Of The Day.
Now, home cooks, you're going to be preparing one dish that you
believe will set you apart from the rest.
Now, you need to make it count because, after this round,
one of you will be going home.
You have 45 minutes, so use your time wisely.
So, Chef, it's over to you.
OK, let's see some fantastic ingredients coming together,
some really fantastic food.
ALL: Yes, Chef!
Right, cooks. Your time...starts now.
So, our cooks are off, and with one of them destined to leave
the competition at the end of this round,
they are going all out to impress Nigel with their Dish Of The Day.
And, for Charlotte, the nerves are starting to show already.
Just trying to remember everything, and trying to remember
what I'm doing, and making sure I'm doing it all in order so nothing...
hopefully messes up.
One man who knows how to impress with his cooking is Chris.
When I proposed to my wife, I cooked her chicken Kiev,
which is her favourite dish.
And I kind of combined that with a dish that my mother taught me,
which is a sort of a chicken and bacon and white wine.
And this is the result of the fusion of those two recipes.
Well, it was good enough for Chris' wife,
but let's hope it's good enough for Nigel.
Hi, Julie. Hi.
How's it going, Julie? Not too bad, thank you.
I've got everything in for my paste.
I've ground up my coriander seeds and my peppercorns. Right.
Got all the essential ingredients in there,
ready to make a fabulously zesty Thai green sauce.
So, that's for your monkfish? That is for my monkfish, yes. Right, OK.
So, what, you're doing a Thai green curry, then?
Yes, with king prawns and monkfish. It's one of my favourites.
And which chilli are you putting in? You've quite a few on there.
Well, I've put in two large green, one bird's eye...
So we want a little bit of a kick
but nothing's going to blow anyone's head off, so... You reckon?
If it was for me, I'd add some more,
but there's other people to think of, so...
Right, well, we'll leave you to it. Thank you.
With temperatures rising in the kitchen,
our home cooks appear to be keeping their cool,
although Julie's having a few problems with her chillies.
Making my eyes water!
There's a bit more heat in that green chilli than I thought!
Hi, Ben. How are you doing? What are you up to?
Well, I'm making a papaya salad at the moment,
which is really fresh and zingy.
And, with that, I'm also marinating a weeping tiger,
which is a sirloin steak in fish sauce and soya sauce.
And griddled, nice and caramelised. It's going to be good. OK.
So, where do your peanuts come in, then?
Are you bashing those in there?
Yeah. We're going to toast those off slightly as well,
and they're going to be chopped and sprinkled on top to give it texture.
All right, well, we'll let you carry on. Thank you.
Best of luck. Thanks.
With just 45 minutes to prepare their dish,
our home cooks must be organised and efficient.
But, for Charlotte, time is ticking away.
Time's just going by so fast,
I just need to make sure the celeriac's cooked in time and
I've got enough time to blend it as well to make the puree.
We'll see when it comes to dishing up. How are we getting on?
Pretty good, pretty good. So, what are you making?
So, mushroom-stuffed chicken.
Served with mashed potato,
French beans and a white wine and tarragon cream.
Mm. Sounds a lot going on.
There's a few elements,
but they should all come together nicely at the end.
The Cumbria ham there, is that in the stuffing,
or are you wrapping the chicken?
Yeah, so the Parma ham goes down, a layer of spinach, mushrooms,
roll up like a spring roll, and then that gets inserted into the chicken.
Does that help seal the chicken as well?
It does, and it also gives it a little bit of seasoning,
cos of the saltiness of the ham. Very good.
I think you'd better get on with it as well.
On the other side of the kitchen, Ben and Julie are both on schedule.
Meanwhile, poor Charlotte is still struggling.
The fried potatoes haven't quite cooked. The heat was on too hot.
I don't want them going too brown.
So I've just had to turn the temperature down
and just pop them back in.
So just a small hiccup. SHE CHUCKLES
Hi, Charlotte. Hi. Charlotte, how are you doing?
Oh, getting there. Just getting the lamb out?
Yes, getting it ready to go into the oven now.
So I've put rosemary, thyme, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper,
blended it to make a nice marinade to complement the lamb.
I fried it, rendered the fat down,
I'm going to put it in the oven now, just for ten minutes. Smells lovely.
It does smell lovely. I'm hoping it'll taste as good as it smells.
And what are you doing with that?
So I'm going to make a celeriac puree, a red wine sauce.
I've got balsamic roasted carrots, and then some pea shoots,
just to give it... These look grand carrots, Charlotte.
They're VERY big carrots! Easy!
Huge! We've got a big breast and a big carrot.
On separate dishes.
But, yeah, I'm hoping all the flavours will come together
and it'll just turn out nice.
Good luck, Charlotte. Oh, thank you.
OK, all the best, Charlotte. We'll see you very soon. Cheers.
'So, Charlotte's back on track,
'and all seems to be going well for Julie, too.'
Fish doesn't take very long at all.
Probably in about five or ten minutes or so,
then I'll add the monkfish and the prawns a few minutes later.
Try and time it for when the rice is ready.
So let's start with Julie. Mm.
She's doing a Thai fish curry. Looks good.
I think she's calculated with her flavours.
She seems to be confident, but not overconfident.
So, yeah, I think she'll produce a nice dish.
Ben. Ben. Who's doing another Asian-influenced dish. Yeah.
With his steak. I get sort of not quite as much confidence there. OK.
It's only a feeling. OK.
But that suggests it's either going to be a hit or a real miss.
And then Chris. That breast is big.
There's going to be a lot on the plate, a lot going on.
I hope I'm wrong here. We could have quite a clumsy dish.
It always, you know...
When you're pan-frying a chicken breast in breadcrumbs,
it is quite tricky. Why? Why? It's always easier to deep-fry it.
But, you know, he could come good.
I'm excited about Charlotte. Lovely piece of lamb.
It's a different way of actually doing it.
Not marinating before, and sealing off
and then putting the marinade over,
and using that as like a cooking medium, is quite nice. Yeah.
The girls, I feel, are more comfortable
than the guys at the minute.
But that can change. That can change.
Why don't you go and have another look, see how they're getting on?
I will do. Can I take my tea with me? Yeah, take your tea.
A little tip I always do
is I always put an upturned plate underneath the steak... OK.
..so it allows the juices to run.
It stops it cooking on.
Ah, yes, great. Thank you.
Cooks, you have just 30 seconds left.
Step away from your plates.
Right, that's it. That's the end of round one.
It's time to taste.
First to be judged by Nigel is Julie with her Dish Of The Day.
She's made a king prawn and monkfish Thai green curry,
served with Basmati rice.
How we doing, Julie? OK, thank you. How did you find the challenge?
A lot more difficult than at home, to be honest.
Had a bit of a problem with the rice,
which at home was just perfect.
And I just, for some reason, ran out of time,
and I didn't garnish it.
I wanted to put some nice red in it with the red chillies
and a bit of basil. But...
It evaporates, doesn't it, your time when...? It does, yes.
It's amazing. But I think I'm pleased with the Thai sauce.
Happy with the flavours, but just not the presentation I wanted.
It was a bit thrown on at the end. OK.
I would have liked the presentation to be a bit different.
I think I did say that I was more interested in flavour, so... Yeah.
I hope so. OK. Shall we have a go?
Tuck in. Tuck in? Right.
I know what you mean about the rice. Yeah. It just isn't...
It's not happening, is it? ..fluffy. Yeah.
There's a lovely balance of flavours. Thank you.
And I'm just getting that lovely kick of the chilli
at the back of my palate. The rice, as we said, is a bit under.
If anything, perhaps, slightly overcooked on the monkfish.
Yeah. You know, but it was almost inevitable, cos...
At the end, wasn't it...? It was a bit of a crash at the end there
to get it on. Yeah. But your flavours are lovely. Thank you.
Hi. Oh, how did you go? Not so bad. Yeah?
Got the comments I expected about the rice,
but wasn't happening on the convector top.
She looked a bit disappointed, obviously, with her rice. She was.
And she knew straight away, didn't she? Yes. That she...
She knew she'd overcooked her food, and she knew, at the end,
that she'd sort of not managed the assembly, is the best word. Yeah.
She captured the flavour of Thai curry.
The heat was lovely, I thought.
Yeah, it wasn't too powerful, was it? But it was just nice.
Yeah, it's just a shame about the rice, but...
But I think, at the moment, it's all about the flavours. Yeah.
Thank you. That's really good. Thanks.
Next to take the taste test is Ben with his Dish Of The Day -
weeping tiger steak,
served with a papaya Thai salad and wok-fried broccoli.
Ben. How did you feel you cooked?
Um, it went OK, yeah, I was a little bit worried
about overcooking or undercooking the steak,
but I'm pretty happy with the way that's come out. Mm.
You cooked it nice and medium rare, so... Yeah.
Good. Let's try. Enjoy.
All gone quiet now. HE CHUCKLES
A little bit al dente, those, are they?
They are very al dente. Yeah. Mm.
You know, nice flavour. Thank you.
You said that was zingy, didn't you? Yeah.
Zingy's the word. I like zingy. Very zingy food. Good.
I thought the papaya Thai salad -
with the peanuts and the texture of that -
worked really well with the softness of the steak.
Great. And that zinginess, for me, worked.
And the broccoli, you know, although it's al dente, very much enjoyed it.
How did it go? Good. Yeah? Good, yeah.
Obviously, you were a bit worried about Ben's dish,
cos you said it could be hit or miss. So was it a hit for you?
Yeah. It worked.
That's a really nice piece of steak.
Sort of that sweetness of the marinade on the steak,
and then that really... as he used, that word, "zingy".
And the texture on the salad.
It really brought it together.
Time for Chris's Dish Of The Day -
mushroom-stuffed chicken, served with mashed potatoes,
French beans and a white wine and tarragon cream.
There we go. Thank you, Chris. Lovely.
And how did you find the challenge? It was really good.
So you're pleased with the end result? I think so.
The breading could have stuck a bit better.
Probably cos you're actually, you know, in a competition,
you maybe have rushed it.
Just a little bit more care might have just passed that through.
One of my biggest worries was that the chicken breast
was a bit larger than the one I'd been testing with,
and I had some concerns as to
whether I was going to get it cooked properly in time.
It actually looks, from here, cooked perfectly, doesn't it?
Well, I'm going to taste it. Yes, let's.
The chicken feels like it's cooked perfectly.
You know, the stuffing's lovely, seasoned.
And the French beans are al dente and a little bit under-seasoned.
The sauce is kicking of tarragon. I mean, it is punchy tarragon.
If anything, there's a little edge of sort of acidity.
Which, for me, means you haven't reduced your alcohol down.
OK. Before I add the stock? Before you add the stock. Ah.
That's always the secret when you're making a sauce -
reduce it right down, burn off the alcohol.
It gives you a cleaner feel on the palate. Mm-hm.
All in all, a very nice dish.
Brilliant. Well, well done. Thank you very much.
Hi. Right, dig in. Looks lovely.
Oh, it's lovely.
That sauce was just a little bit raw. Yeah.
With the acidity. That's something you could teach him, you know.
You've just told him how to...
Absolutely. ..how to reduce the sauce, you know?
So that's an amazing tip for him. But the crumb...
You know, it's one of those things
that you really have to take a great deal of care with.
And maybe also, something I didn't say,
is to allow it to set up a little. Mm.
And finally it's Charlotte with her Dish Of The Day -
Welsh rack of lamb, celeriac puree, parmentier potatoes
and balsamic roasted carrots, topped with pea shoots and a red wine jus.
Wow. Yes. So...
How did it go?
It went really well, actually. I was actually ahead of time.
I just am a bit wary about the lamb, but we'll see. Why? In what way?
I'd personally have it a bit more cooked,
but some people might like it a bit more rare.
So it's personal preference, isn't it? Have you cooked it rare, or...?
It's...more medium rare,
but it's more on the rare side, if that makes sense. OK.
Is it any specific type of lamb? It's a Welsh rack of lamb.
A Welsh rack, yeah? Good. Which was French trimmed.
Crunchy carrots. Mm. CHARLOTTE CHUCKLES
Right. The lamb has a lovely flavour. Yeah?
I can tell it's Welsh lamb.
There's a really long, long flavour on the palate.
The seasoning's good. Potatoes are nice.
I'm not overly keen on your celeriac puree. Yeah.
Don't think it's necessary but...
You know, you could have done without that.
The one thing I'd say on presentation -
if you were going to do that again another time,
you'd present that that way round. Yeah.
So that you're showing the... Colour.
Yeah, the pinkness of the lamb.
For some people, you're right, though, Charlotte,
that might be a wee little bit undercooked. Yeah.
And your sauce is really, really nice. Yeah? Yeah.
Oh, that's good to hear. Well done. Well done.
Happy with those comments? I am actually, yeah.
Fabulous. Yes. They liked it.
Just they thought... Nigel thought without the celeriac puree.
Didn't think it was necessary.
Why didn't you like the celeriac on the plate?
It was coarse, it was half puree and half sauce.
You know, it was an in-between thing. OK.
With the sauce, I didn't think you needed that texture
cos you had so much flavour going on.
Only three people could be taken through to the next round.
For one of our home cooks, it's time to leave the competition.
I just ran out of time at the end.
When I was doing it at home, I timed it perfectly.
A little bit more under pressure here today.
Didn't get time to garnish it or tidy it up a little bit,
so it wasn't quite how I had liked it to have been.
I'm expecting to go.
I think I've done enough to get through. I could have done better.
But there are three other really good plates of food
that I'm competing against.
I was pretty pleased. The steak was cooked as I hoped it would be.
I'd really like to go through to the next round.
Benefited from some advice from a Michelin-starred chef already.
But I want to continue.
The fact I've got to cook for Nigel,
saying that I have cooked for a Michelin-starred chef today,
that's enough for me to take away and be happy with what I've done.
I know I couldn't have done any better.
Have you got an idea who you think you might be sending home?
Yeah, I've got two in my head at the moment. OK.
So I'm going to have a little cogitate and have a think.
OK, well, you haven't got long,
cos we're going to have to go and tell them.
Firstly, I'd like to say a big well done to all four of you.
However, only three of you can go through to the next round,
and Nigel has made his decision.
So, Chef, it's over to you.
And an awfully difficult one it is.
Because all of you, I thought, cooked really well.
So the person not going forward to the next round is...
And it was an awfully difficult decision, Chris.
A little bit deflated, I suppose. But these things happen.
Oh, commiserations. Thank you.
The end of the day, I've managed to cook a dish
for a Michelin-starred chef so, you know, it's already on a winner.
So that leaves three home cooks.
They are housewife Julie,
account executive Ben
and contract scheduler Charlotte.
Round two - it's the Chef's Challenge.
Now, in this round, Nigel will be testing to see who's got the skills
he's looking for, so, Chef, what is today's challenge?
Today, Sheree, we've got spinach a la creme, or creamed spinach,
so we've got our spinach, that's washed, in front of you,
we've got an onion,
some roast garlic and we've also got nutmeg, salt and pepper.
And we've got milk and cream, which we're going to make beurre manie,
which is like a paste, to thicken the sauce,
which will give us a cream sauce.
I'm going to start by peeling this onion.
I always peel from the bottom up.
You always cut the onion towards the core.
When you are using your knife to cut an onion finely,
put your thumb on the top and wrap your four fingers round it.
And then cut once through, and then chop down.
Now, you want the onion to be as fine as you can, like so.
So, what skills would this challenge demonstrate?
It's the basic cutting skills.
If you were training in a kitchen as an apprentice,
these are the first things we are going to teach you.
I've got my beurre manie here, the flour and butter,
which we can just mix together, just get it to form a paste.
We've got our piece of garlic here, which we have roasted,
and with your knife just break the garlic and just puree it down.
OK? You've got to work quickly.
When you pop your spinach in, you've got to get your nutmeg in,
you've got to get your salt and pepper in.
You can actually do this without any butter at all,
and it will just wilt down.
You need to get the milk up to the boil for the beurre manie,
the paste, to work.
Just let it mix in and then come back up to the boil.
So, can you see that? How lovely and smooth that is? Yeah.
OK. With our spinach...
I'm just going to press it down, roll it into the middle...
..give it a right good old squeeze, and just chop through.
You're going to do a rocking motion.
Your thumb goes to the side of the heel and you rock the knife,
like so. And I need to just sweat these down.
Let's get that garlic in and let's mix that well.
Get a little bit of our cream sauce so it just binds, yeah?
Can you see that? Yeah.
Some salt. I'm just going to pop a little bit of nutmeg in there.
So, you can see the texture there, and there you are,
spinach a la creme.
Here, guys, have a taste, so you know what you're making. Thank you.
There you go.
They're all going to say, "Mmm, that's lovely."
It is really nice.
Oh, yum. So, what did you think, guys?
It looks easy enough, but it's quite easy to mess up, so...
Have you understood it? ALL: Yes, Chef.
Let's get on with it.
So, our cooks have just 15 minutes
to make the perfect spinach a la creme.
Whilst Nigel is looking for a partner with natural flair,
he also needs to know that they can follow instructions,
and he is watching closely for any mistakes.
Hi, Julie. Hi there.
How are you getting on? Not so bad, thank you.
Have you ever been so nervous chopping an onion?
No. I'm shaking. Aw!
Be confident. Will do. Thank you.
How are we doing, Ben?
Just doing the...beurre manie? Beurre manie, yeah. Onion's chopped?
Onion's chopped, ready to go.
Milk and cream coming to the boil, hoping it's not too hot.
About to start wilting this spinach.
So, you're in control? Maybe.
You are. You are. Maybe.
Well, Ben might be keeping his cool under pressure,
but Charlotte is feeling slightly anxious.
How are we doing, Charlotte? Getting there, I think.
You don't want to burn the milk and you don't want to burn that
and everything else, so it is just trying to keep an eye on everything,
really. You look a bit nervous. I can see your hands shaking. I am!
Just relax and enjoy it. Good luck, Charlotte.
Well, it's a tough challenge and one they all know has huge consequences.
They all seem to be getting on OK. Yeah, they do.
There's a few nerves there.
There's three or four elements that have to be done.
You've got to make your sauce and not burn it.
You've to sweat your spinach down and you've got to then
saute off your onions, get your garlic in,
so then bring the whole thing together.
It's the seasoning that is the killer, I think. Yeah.
It will be the key to winning or losing.
There's some chunky onions in there.
You did ask for them to be very fine, didn't you? I did.
Some have cut the onions a bit peculiarly, some have
struggled because they've cut it from the wrong end as well.
Yeah, it is a difficult technique.
One minute, guys. One minute left.
Right, time is up. Step away from your plates.
You have done all you can.
Time to taste.
So, Nigel, based on creamed spinach,
one of them is going to be going home.
Yeah. Shall we have a try? Yeah.
Right. Well, there is one dish that I think has the edge.
And that is yours, Ben.
Oh, well done. Congratulations. Well done. Thank you. Well done.
Ladies, there is one dish that is over-seasoned.
That person is...
..Julie. OK, that's fine. Aw, Julie.
Have you enjoyed today? Fabulous, it's been brilliant, thank you.
Can I give you a hug now?
Well done. Thank you.
'I'm a little bit disappointed that I've been knocked out'
but I over-seasoned. It's that pesky salt bowl.
So, just two cooks remain - account executive Ben
and contract scheduler Charlotte -
but only one can be chosen
as Nigel's partner for the Friday final.
Time for our third and final round, the Chef's Special.
In this round, our cooks will be given
a set of ingredients to one of Nigel's signature dishes.
So, cooks, the aim of this round is to create
a dish from these ingredients.
You'll get to see what Nigel makes a little bit later on
but, for you at home, here's today's ingredients.
Nigel's chosen Goosnargh chicken, English asparagus and fresh herbs,
red chicory leaves, roast garlic,
white wine and chilli powder, blue cheese, sour cream,
mayonnaise and buttermilk, goat's curd and Worcester sauce.
Right, cooks, you have one hour.
Reveal your ingredients, because your time starts now.
So, our cooks must do their best to identify the ingredients
before planning and preparing a dish in just one hour.
Well, there's a lot of ingredients. There's choices.
This is genuinely the hardest thing I've had to do in my life.
With less than an hour on the clock,
both cooks don't waste any time getting stuck in.
Hi, Ben. Hi.
Hi, Ben. Are you all right? Yeah. Yes, good. Good.
Overwhelmed by the choice of ingredients, though. Are you?
Yeah, there's lots to go at.
I'm going to pan-fry or griddle the chicken,
I'm going to make a sauce using the white wine, wild garlic and lemon.
I'll be using the asparagus as well.
Is there anything on there that you're not really keen on using?
That I'm not keen on using?
I'm not keen on using soft cheese. You don't like cheese? Personally,
I'm not a big... A big lover of cheese? Not really.
I didn't know that before you did this,
that you didn't like cheese!
I won't be eating it.
Well, good luck. Thank you. Best of luck, yeah.
How is it going? Good. Some surprising ingredients.
I'm not quite sure what some are.
I've got a pretty good idea of what I want to do. Oh, OK.
Tell us what you're going to do, then.
I'm going to do pan-fried chicken breast stuffed with Stilton cheese,
some soft cheese, I hope it is, and some parsley,
I'm going to stuff in the chicken breast,
pan-fry it to get the skin crispy, then put it in the oven,
and then I'm going to do some asparagus,
and then just make, like, a white wine and lemon sauce
to go with it, and a bit of wild garlic to finish off. Nice.
One of these is sour cream, one of them's vinegar.
Again, I'm not sure which ones they are.
I haven't cooked with this before,
so I'm going to try and stay away from that.
I don't need the egg or anything like that.
I think the flavours will go really well. Yeah?
Looking forward to it. Fingers crossed. Good luck. Cheers.
There's a few ingredients that they're both not using.
I think Charlotte's made her mind up quite clearly.
She's going to do a cheese pate and stuff that in the chicken.
Ben is being a bit more flexible
and I think, as it evolves, he'll perhaps use more or less,
depending on how he feels.
He's going to pan-fry the chicken. He's using the asparagus.
The chicken and the asparagus are the key ingredients,
and then you've got all the cheese and the mayonnaise and
the buttermilk, and all those things are the sauce ingredients.
He's got to work out how he makes his sauce,
and if he's not using the cheese,
it is a big influence on the dish that he's not choosing to do.
While Ben is steering clear of the cheese, Charlotte has combined hers
with some herbs to make a filling for the chicken.
But things aren't quite going to plan for Charlotte.
All the cheese has melted and come out
cos I didn't have nothing to tie it with,
so it's seeping out a bit but I think if I just lay it underneath,
the flavour will still be in there a little bit.
It was a risk, but I think it will be fine in the end.
So all is not lost for Charlotte.
On the other side of the kitchen,
Ben is still working on his asparagus.
I had a bit of a drama with the cheese in the chicken,
so I'm using that as a sauce now.
Why, did it just kind of melt when you put it in? Yeah.
I didn't have anything to tie it up with. Right.
So I'm going to use it as a sauce now.
I'm going to attempt a poached egg with it as well. Oh, wow.
Fingers crossed luck's on my side today!
Well, Charlotte is not the only one taking a risk.
Are you being a bit more experimental as you're going along?
Yes. Good. I'm gaining a bit of confidence, but it could go any way.
Is everything tasting good, though?
Yeah, it is tasting good.
There's a lot of lemon coming through on that one.
It is quite acidic.
I've used the white wine vinegar with the asparagus,
so I think it's going to be quite tart.
I'd like to balance it out with some sugar. OK. But there is none.
I don't see any, so...
Right, cooks, you have just two minutes left.
I've never felt so much pressure before to poach an egg in my life!
One minute to go.
One minute left.
With just ten seconds to go, it's a last-minute rush to plate up. Done.
And in the panic, Charlotte seems to have forgotten something.
three, two, one...
Stop cooking. That's it. Time is up.
Step away from your plates. It is time to taste.
First up, it's account executive Ben.
He's chosen to make pan-fried chicken breast, served on
a bed of asparagus and wild garlic, cooked in a white wine vinegar.
What have you got for us, Ben? There you are.
I've gone for seasonality as much as possible,
so asparagus and wild garlic,
and I decided to use the white wine vinegar to basically
cook the asparagus in, and then I pan-fried it in some of
the juice from the chicken, from cooking the chicken,
using the white wine vinegar.
OK. Right, Nigel. I'm going to have a try.
The chicken looks nicely cooked.
It is nicely seasoned.
The asparagus is a good al dente, so a little bit more than al dente.
And I like the juices. It's almost asking me for more. Yeah.
The ingredients you've put on the plate are well balanced. Great.
Thank you. Well, well done. Thank you, Ben.
I played it very, very safe.
Stick to two or three ingredients that I knew really well,
but there's so much more I could have done.
He has missed a big opportunity there. Yeah. It's a shame.
What he's got to look at is why
were those ingredients in front of him. So they were obviously
in my dish, but he chose just to say, "I'm not using any of those."
Next into the tasting room is contract scheduler Charlotte.
She's made pan-fried chicken breast in a Stilton cream sauce,
served with asparagus, braised baby gems and topped with a poached egg.
How are you, Charlotte? I feel better now it's over.
It's not over yet!
Shall we have a try? Yes, let's.
Do you want to crack the egg? Crack the egg, yeah. Nicely cooked.
Yeah, there's a lot going on there.
Your asparagus is cooked nicely and the chicken is cooked really well.
I'm not sure, because you've got a cream sauce,
whether the egg actually works. Yeah.
It sort of makes it a little bit of...almost over-rich.
Presentation side, I'd say just a little bit cluttered. Yeah.
You could have done with less on the plate.
But I could seriously eat that. You've done very well. Thank you.
The egg, it was last minute.
'I do think it worked in a very weird way,
'and it was a good poached egg, so I'm happy.'
That looks really good.
So, with the final challenge complete,
Nigel must now deliberate over our two home cooks.
I really was battling a little bit with that egg.
She's utilised ingredients that were there.
I'm quite surprised in myself, actually, with the sauce,
because I don't really like Stilton.
Charlotte could have left a bit off, and Ben needed to put more on.
You would have had the perfect dish.
If they met in the middle, it would have been the perfect dish. Exactly.
Thinking about Friday, do you have...
I know who I will take through. You do? Yeah.
But before Nigel announces the winner,
it's time to reveal what he makes with those ingredients.
OK, well, we've got a multitude of ingredients.
This bit, that you didn't know at the time, is the sauce. Hmm. OK?
Hopefully we're going to end up with quite a delicate chicken dish.
Now we have to get the marinade ready.
Zest of lemon.
And then a squeeze of lemon as well.
Just press the garlic. It's roast garlic.
We've got a little drop of white wine, rapeseed oil,
and then we just need to mix that together. I'm going to put some...
Is this one of your dishes on your menu?
It's one I do in the cookery school. Oh, OK.
But the idea for this comes from a salmon dish that I used to do.
I'm going to pop our chicken breast onto the tray and then...
Now we have to get the marinade.
Just going to add a little bit of seasoning on there. OK.
Get your morning paper! Oh, OK.
OK, and then just soak that up.
So, is this what you used to do with the salmon? Yeah.
I do a whole salmon with this.
So, we've got some silicon paper, or greaseproof paper, there,
so I'm going to wrap that first of all in that.
Now, what I want to do is keep all the goodness.
I'll lose the colour if I bake it. So why do you wrap it in the paper?
What does it do?
Have a guess. Steam. Steam. That's it.
So, you're steaming it rather than baking it. OK. OK?
Over to you there, Chef. How long?
22 minutes. Now we need to do the asparagus.
What I do then is just pick off these little leaves.
So you just give them a little scrub? Yeah.
My wife doesn't like me doing this. Why? Because I use all these up.
And then off they go.
We're going to now make our sauce.
We've got the sour cream and we've got the buttermilk,
we've got the mayonnaise.
And a little bit of white wine vinegar.
So a few drops of white wine vinegar.
Your syrup. OK? You just want a little bit of that in there.
And I'm just going to put most of our blue cheese in here.
A little bit of garlic and a little squeeze of lemon juice,
pinch of salt and a little bit of rapeseed oil.
And then, hey, presto...
I'm just going to add a tiny drop of Worcester sauce in the top there.
So, what age did you start cooking?
From that moment on, I've never, ever looked back,
because I wanted to be a footballer.
That was the only thing I ever wanted to be.
OK. So what we need to do now
is put our chicken skins into the egg white...
What does the egg white do to the chicken skin?
Makes the flour stick to it.
OK, so my little scratchings look like they might be nice and crispy.
I'm going to put my little piece of lettuce in there
and I'm going to now chiffonade this.
This is the wild garlic.
"Chiffonade" is just really finely shredded.
I think we might be OK with the chicken.
I'm definitely going to try this at home, in the newspaper.
Oh, that smells good.
I'm going to pop two pieces there, like so.
Oh, that looks good.
I need another crunchy bit to go there.
I'm just going to drizzle this.
That's the chicken dish. Amazing.
I think it is definitely now time to taste.
I'm so excited to try this.
That is so delicious.
I think the chicken is so juicy, having been cooked in newspaper.
Nothing's too overpowering. Beautiful. Well done, Nigel.
Thank you. That was absolutely delicious.
But it is time now to reveal who you are going to pick
to be your partner in the Friday final, but before you do,
let's have a quick recap of what they made earlier.
In the first round,
Ben impressed Nigel with his confidence in the kitchen,
and his weeping tiger steak with zingy papaya Thai salad.
The texture on the salad really brought it together.
He stole the show with his version of Nigel's spinach a la creme,
but he left out quite a few ingredients in the final challenge,
opting to play it safe with his pan-fried chicken
with asparagus and wild garlic.
If I won this round I would be delighted because the chance
to work with Chef even more would be brilliant.
Meanwhile, Charlotte impressed Nigel with her Welsh rack of lamb
in the first round.
The lamb has a lovely flavour.
She scraped through with her spinach a la creme,
and in the final round,
her presentation wasn't quite up to scratch,
but she did use all the ingredients to produce her pan-fried chicken
in a Stilton cream sauce, served with braised baby gems,
but was her last-minute addition of a poached egg too much for Nigel?
I'm keeping all my fingers and toes crossed.
I'm just praying that I do get through.
Nigel, it's time to declare your winner, so it's over to you.
It is, and it has been a very tough decision.
You've both delivered, but the person to go through is...
Well done. Aw. Congratulations. Well done, Charlotte. Thank you.
Well done. Well done. A big hug, come on.
'I'm not going to stop smiling now.'
That's it, I'm just going to keep smiling.
Well done. Well done!
It's been a privilege to sit alongside such an esteemed chef
and to learn some tips, so it has been a fantastic experience.
You've made her cry, Nigel. You made her cry! Aw!
That's the easy bit now. I know.
'I've never felt this happy.'
Knowing a Michelin-starred chef like Nigel enjoying my food
'and giving such good comments is just giving me more drive
'and more passion. I think we'll work so well'
as a team together. I'm going to just give it
absolutely everything now on Friday. I cannot wait.
Tomorrow on Yes Chef...
..four more home cooks go all out to impress super chef Atul Kochhar.
I was expecting a lot more from you.
It's a chance for them to work alongside the best in the business.
A small slip can cost you.
But only one can become his partner for the Friday final.
You're shaking. Are you all right?
our mission is discovering more about the world.
Michelin-starred chef Nigel Haworth has his eye on the prize as he puts four home cooks through a series of culinary challenges, including how to make the perfect spinach a la creme. Nigel will be judged by triple Michelin-starred chef Pierre Koffmann in the Friday final, so his professional pride is at stake, but which home cook will he choose?