Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar puts four home cooks through a series of culinary challenges, including how to remove the skin from a chicken in one piece.
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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 home cooks will be paired with
the best in the business for the cooking experience of a lifetime.
I was expecting a lot more from you.
Each day, a different Michelin-starred chef will choose
their perfect partner... A small slip can cost you.
..from four talented home cooks.
In terms of flavours, it was bang on. Everything was there.
Then, in the Friday Final,
all four pairs will go head to head to cook for culinary royalty,
What I look for for a perfect dish is to keep it simple and tasty.
The professional chefs' reputations are on the line.
I feel like going and slapping him.
Oh. But will the amateur home cooks live up to their expectations?
What are you doing? And who will win?
You're shaking. Are you all right? This is Yes Chef.
Hello, and welcome to Yes Chef. Let's meet today's four home cooks.
First up, it's Helen Jackson.
She's a retired civil servant from Walthamstow.
I'm hoping to impress the chef today
with the combination of the flavours. It's quite a spicy dish,
and so hopefully they've got a spicy palate.
Next, it's Chris Baber, a model from Northumberland.
I would describe my cooking style as healthy home cooking.
I would say my strengths are cooking with spices.
It tastes absolutely amazing.
Annabel Cornfoot is a publisher from London.
I really enjoy fresh ingredients, Asian herbs and spices.
I want to learn some new tricks from the chef who's going to teach us
Finally, Caroline Tennyson Wilcox is a social media manager from Kent.
I would describe my cooking style as adventurous. I love foraging.
I want to share with the world what I can do,
and I really want to be the champion for today.
So, our home cooks are at the ready. It's time now to meet our chef.
It's the twice Michelin-starred Atul Kochhar. Wow!
In 2001, Atul became the first Indian chef
to be awarded a Michelin star for his unique take on Indian cuisine.
I've been cooking in the United Kingdom for the last 23 years now.
And in 2007, Atul received another star
for his London restaurant, Benares.
The food is very sensorial.
Seasonality is extremely critical on my menus.
I grew up in India, where we respect all the five senses.
When you eat something, all the senses need to be involved,
otherwise there's no enjoyment of food.
With his reputation on the line,
Atul is extremely focused on the competition.
Winning is everything.
I need a lamb samosa, chicken tikka and a crab kofta.
What really impresses me most is when people show creativity.
They have to have this natural, inborn thing,
an urge that they want to do well.
You like this one better? Don't be so scared of me.
You know, they wake up every morning
excited with the sense that, "I have to go cook."
If I can get that, man, I'll be winning.
Welcome, Atul. It's an absolute pleasure to have you here today.
So good to be here. What will you be looking for?
A general passion for food.
They should know their seasons, know their flavours,
and really know how to turn the heat on when it's required,
creativity, and show me what they can do,
because that's what I'll be looking for. OK, let's get on with it.
This is round one, Dish of the Day. Now, home cooks, you'll be creating
the one dish that you believe will set you apart from the rest.
Now, you need to make it count, because after this round, sadly,
one of you will be going home.
You'll have 45 minutes, so use your time wisely.
So, Chef, it's over to you.
Well, guys, use your creativity, dig deep and get cooking.
ALL: Yes, Chef!
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 Atul with their Dish of the Day.
And for home cook Helen, it's not just about the taste,
because she knows timing is crucial.
I'm making my curry paste at the moment. So this is the easy bit.
I think it's just getting it all ready on time,
getting it all brought together at the end.
And the pressure is most definitely on for model Chris,
who is a huge fan of Atul's, so he's desperate to impress.
I think I've been fairly ambitious. I've given myself quite a few
different elements to do in the 45 minutes. Let's hope that I can
bring it all together. I'm sure I will.
Hi, Helen. Hello.
How are we? Not too bad at the moment, thank you.
Good. How are you doing? Good. What are you making?
I'm doing a Thai red curry with salmon and prawns.
I see a pepper sauce with you. Yes. And I also see...
Yes. That's Mexican, and it's a Thai meal.
OK. That's back from my holidays.
Thai food is all about really raw heat from chilli.
Yeah. Yeah. OK. Good luck. Thank you. You are doing well.
Our home cooks are all keen to win Atul over,
but when you've only got 45 minutes, the key to this challenge is timing.
I feel as though I've gone too hard, too fast, too soon.
Hi, Chris. Hey, how are you doing? Hi, Chris, how are you?
Very well, thank you. What are you cooking?
Today I'm making a pan-fried sea bass with a coconut curry,
and I'm going to do some crushed new potatoes with a bit of coriander
and lemon in there, and a few mustard seeds as well.
This curry sauce is something I've been doing for years at home,
but I want to demonstrate some skill, and see if I can show you
how to cook a piece of fish properly as well. What have you got there?
I've got chicken stock. All that is going in the sauce?
In the curry sauce. There's a lot going on. There's a lot going on.
Good luck with that. Thank you very much.
Good luck. Look forward to tasting it. Cheers.
Hi, Annabel. Hi. How are we getting on?
We're getting on well. I think I've got my lamb backstrap,
which I stuffed with goat's cheese and basil. What are you cooking?
Tell me that. I should tell you that! I'm doing a lamb backstrap.
We call it a backstrap in Australia.
It's called a cannon of loin lamb here.
So I've butterflied it, filled it with goat's cheese and basil,
then wrapped in prosciutto. It is now in the oven. And then
I'm serving that with some honey tomatoes. I've got my tomatoes
that are cooking with cardamom pods, peppercorns,
honey and balsamic vinegar. So then I'm going to stir-fry my samphire
with beans and asparagus, ginger and...
Garlic? ..garlic. Beautiful flavours.
Hopefully. And it looks like you certainly know what you're doing.
Which is good. Good luck. Thank you very much.
Hi, Caroline. Hello, Caroline. Hello. How are you?
Very good. How's it going?
It's all good. I've done a lot of my prep already.
I'm going to be doing a monkfish which is wrapped in Parma ham,
that I'm going to poach,
and with the monkfish I've got lemon zest and a hint of chilli.
OK. So I've already prepared it.
It's in the fridge and it's chilling.
So I'm just going to wait for the potatoes to finish cooking.
I'm also going to be serving it with a vermouth and cream sauce.
As a chef, if I ever had to use ham and monkfish, the first thing
that comes to mind - wrap it neatly and in the oven.
I would agree with you, but wait till you see what I've done with it.
Ooh. OK. All right. I like the confidence.
Good luck. Thank you. Good luck. Thank you.
Well, it's so far, so good for all our home cooks,
and everyone seems to be coping.
But with time ticking away,
things start to get a little more stressful for Caroline,
as she struggles with her potato ricer.
Agh! No. This ricer is not going to work.
And, in comparison, things appear to be going smoothly for Annabel,
who seems to have a lot of time on her hands.
I thought we'd start with Helen, she's making her Thai curry.
I quite like her own personal touch that she brought, that chilli sauce.
From Mexico. But chilli's chilli, at the end of the day,
and she likes that kind of chilli flavour. She's going to go for it.
Yeah. And why not? Now, let's move on to Chris.
He's got a lot going on, with his pan-frying sea bass.
I think pan-frying sea bass is very good, but it can be very tricky,
as well. He's going to add, he said, some chicken stock,
and I'm wondering why he hasn't gone for the fish stock.
Next up is Annabel. What do you think of her dish?
I think her cooking is so Australian.
It's a bit of a mishmash, then?
You know what, that's what Australian food is all about.
They have so many influences, their creativity just comes alive,
and she's doing exactly that.
I think her dish is the most exciting so far, in my opinion.
I'm really looking to taste that. Oh, OK. Finally, we have Caroline,
with her monkfish wrapped in Parma ham. But she's potting it.
I've never come across that.
I have to accept it. Maybe I'm wrong as a chef that I haven't tried it.
She was absolutely adamant
and confident that she's going to do it right.
This competition is going to be tough. It's going to be tough.
Why don't you go back in and see how they're getting on? Oh, yes!
The tastes and flavours of the cooks' dishes is crucial
when it comes to Atul's judging.
Too much lemon.
And with his mind on the Friday Final,
he's keen to keep a close eye on their progress.
Sauce ready to go.
Two minutes left, cooks, just two minutes to go.
Finishing the plating up now. Hopefully I'm going to get this
piece of sea bass off without it falling apart.
There's nothing like added pressure when you're cooking for your idol.
Meanwhile, Caroline's got more problems with her potatoes.
Potatoes, I just keep looking at these potatoes,
deciding what I can do with them.
And for Chris, the competition is really hotting up.
We were all staring at you as you were testing it.
Five, four, three, two, one,
that's it! Time's up, stop cooking and step away from your plates.
You've done all you can. It's time to taste.
First to be judged is Helen with her Dish of the Day.
She's made Thai red curry with salmon and prawns,
served on a bed of noodles.
There we go. Wonderful. How was the challenge for you?
I felt a bit more relaxed than I thought I would.
Oh, good. Good. Right. Let's taste.
Some very nice flavours.
You've kept the heat down.
Any reason for it? Because I'm conscious that not everyone likes
heat as much as I do. Did you put your special sauce in from Mexico?
You added that? A little bit!
Beautiful flavours. If you had pan-fried the seafood...
OK. ..this dish would be a different dish. OK. I personally would have
liked it slightly more hot,
but the flavour of basil coming through, the flavour of ginger,
lemon grass, all that is really spot-on.
For me, it's a cracking dish, I like it. Thank you.
I'm disappointed. I think it just should have been hotter.
It wasn't fiery enough for me, cos when you talk about red curry,
it's always really hot.
I think she got to the half level of it and then she decided,
"No, I'll go mild." I think she pulled back.
Next is Chris with his Dish of the Day -
pan-fried sea bass with a coconut curry,
served with spiced new potatoes, fresh peas and crispy masala onions.
Lovely. It looks beautiful.
Thank you very much. What was your inspiration behind this dish?
I actually took the inspiration from yourself, from something you did,
which you've probably gathered!
But, yeah... I saw you using chicken stock.
Why didn't you go for fish stock?
Because I'd traditionally cooked the curry with chicken,
I've just kind of balanced the flavours.
I just found it added a little bit more flavour to my sauce.
Let's try it. Yes. Your sauce looked very tempting, so I want to...
..try it on its own. Good sauce.
Thank you very much.
Ah, you have done such a good justice to the potatoes,
I have to say that. Thanks so much. Really, really good.
When I found out it was you, I thought the pressure's now on,
cooking a curry, you're sort of one of my heroes, but the fact that
you like that means so much to me, I can't believe it.
Right, I've said all the good things to you now.
Now let's go for some bad things as well. Yeah, let's go for it.
Flavour wise, you have nailed it. Really, really good.
Fish, you have burned it, actually, in my opinion. Yeah, yeah.
Next time, when you are frying the fish, just remember - take it off
onto a paper that doesn't stick to the fish.
You were struggling there, I saw that. Yeah, I was.
I think that's it, and next time do use fish stock.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Chicken stock is not required.
Well done. Thank you very much. Fantastic. No, brilliant.
Please feel free to start. He said I'd nailed the flavours,
which am absolutely blown away with,
getting that sort of feedback from Atul.
Nerves were going a little bit, cos I knew I'd overcooked the fish
and I thought that might have let me down.
You can just see his smile, even when you are giving him critique,
he was still smiling cos he's happy! Because it's you. Bless him. Yeah,
which is lovely, but I felt like he took everything on board
that you said. Yes.
But overall, I think amazing fish. Amazing dish.
Happy with that. Good. Next up is Annabelle with her Dish of the Day -
lamb backstrap stuffed with goat's cheese and basil,
wrapped in prosciutto, and served with samphire,
asparagus and honey tomato.
Fantastic! How are you feeling now?
I'm a bit shocked at how quickly I prepared the dish today.
I sort of went go, go, go, go,
and I'm hoping that I haven't ruined anything and it still tastes good.
Ready to taste? Yeah, can't wait.
Tomatoes, I've been salivating on these.
A lot of influence is going on. There are a lot of influences.
Tomatoes were French, looking at this lamb,
it's more Mediterranean to me. I know. And then you have gone
Far East with your samphire,
you took it from England, of course, and then...
The asparagus and the beans...
The asparagus and the beans and the way you toasted it.
Well, you've got creativity, I have to say that.
You've done an excellent job, flavours work, the crunch is there,
the spice is there, the tomatoes are absolutely sweet.
Lamb works really well.
If I was you, I would actually reduce one of the elements,
just because the time was less.
I would have gone to make a small sauce. It's not easy to pull
flavours from different continents
and put them on a plate, and you have done that. Thank you.
It's amazing. Thank you very much. You should be proud of yourself,
well done. Thank you. Oh, lovely.
Here we have my lamb backstrap.
I was actually very worried when she was cooking, how she's going to
bring all these flavours around, and I was excited at the same time,
because that's the kind of food I love.
What she brought out to us was just absolutely amazing,
I have to say that. Oh, good.
I'm not a big lamb fan, but that's really nice,
because it's cooked nicely for me. Yes. It was delicious.
I can understand why a sauce...
I would have had time to make a beautiful sauce, but I just didn't
know how to incorporate that with the busyness of the flavours
that I'd already selected.
And, finally, it's Caroline with her Dish of the Day -
monkfish wrapped in Parma ham, served on a bed of spinach,
creamed potatoes with a Vermouth and lemon cream sauce.
How did you find the challenge? It was nerve-racking.
Was it? But I think I got it,
I think once the nerves started calming down,
then I really started to enjoy it.
Ready to try? Let's tuck in. Let's tuck in.
Extremely good dish, extremely good dish, good skill.
I would still say that had you gone...
putting the monkfish in the oven
would have actually resulted in a lot better dish. Try it some time.
The kind of dish you have done, that would sit on top of it like a king.
OK? Like a crown of the king, I should say.
Next time, I promise you I will...
But it's still... This meal is fit for a queen, I would say.
Thank you. Hello, guys.
Oh, that looks lovely. Yeah. I'm feeling a bit stunned.
I'm so happy, and despite the couple
of things that weren't necessarily totally perfect, he still loved it.
You need to get that heat, and I think that's what was required.
I think if she had used a little bit more garlic and chilli together
in the spinach, that would shine out
and work incredibly well with monkfish.
Only three people can be taken through to the next round.
For one of our home cooks, it's time to leave the competition.
I really want to go on and win.
I'd be devastated if I left at this point.
However, the fact that I've cooked a curry for Atul,
that was just mind-blowing. I was really sort of kicking myself,
cos Atul felt there should have been a bit more heat and a bit more
kick in it. I'm sort of a bit cross with myself, really.
I perhaps went a little bit too fast, and I was worried on timing.
I hope I've done enough to get through. I would be gutted if I go
home at this stage, cos I would love to learn some tricks.
There's some really stiff competition, but to say
that I've cooked for Atul, I'm so honoured, and to have some of his
positive comments, it's something I'm going to take with me.
So there's always the silver lining.
So do you think you've seen enough of the four cooks to decide
who's going home? They have created some really fabulous dishes.
It makes it very hard for me, but looking at their skill levels
and the kind of flavours they have put on the plate,
I think I have a fair idea what I want to do.
Well, let's go break the news.
Let's do. This is the worst bit.
Firstly, I'd like to say well done to all four of you.
Unfortunately, only three of you can go through to the next round,
and Atul has made his mind up, so over to you, Chef.
Well, before I say anything,
I want to say each and every dish stood out in its own right.
Whatever you said, you delivered, and in terms of flavours,
it was bang on. Everything was there.
Unfortunately, the only dish which came not to my expectation...
..was Helen's. OK.
Where it was lacking - I needed more flavours there. OK.
And heat was lacking. Mm-hm.
Adding too much noodle took it away from you. OK.
I loved the way you used the spices,
the way you used your own infusion into it.
It's very important as a cook to bring your personality to the food.
You're an amazing cook. Thank you.
Oh, Helen. It was nice to have cooked for you. No, thank you.
An honour that I get cooked for by you. Love it.
I'm really disappointed to go but, you know,
having the experience of cooking for Atul has been absolutely fantastic.
Once in a lifetime. Continue to cook like that.
I will. And hope to see you again. Thank you, thank you very much.
So that leaves three home cooks.
They are model Chris,
publisher Annabel and social media manager Caroline.
This is round two, it's the Chef's Challenge.
So in this round,
Atul has devised a test to see who's got the skills he's looking for.
So, Atul, what's today's challenge?
Well, I thought I'd give them a little butchery challenge.
Remove the skin as intact as possible,
so that the skin of the chicken can be used for making a sausage.
Skin can be put into many uses.
A lot of people just take it off and throw it away,
but I always take pride in creating new dishes out of it.
OK? So the first thing I want to do is...
..remove the wing bones, OK?
And you have to cut it on the joint.
If you do it on the bone, it will not come out.
So it's much easier if you slice through the joint? Absolutely. OK.
And then you rest the chicken on its breast.
Its tail, the parson's nose, it's called,
we lose that, don't need that. Rest the chicken.
Cut a slit.
And this has to be really through and through.
If you don't do that, you will have problems.
Right through the skin, so make sure this is nicely separated,
through your index finger, just go underneath, not taking any flesh,
just the skin. Very gently.
Use your thumb, go under the skin,
use the index finger from the other hand.
Peel it very gently.
So, when I was a student,
I had to do this...under a minute.
Under a minute? Under a minute.
OK? But I'm not asking you to do that.
Yeah! And then on the other side, you rest the chicken this way,
and use your thumb this time.
So the idea of this challenge is to get it off in one piece?
Yes, as much as possible, to be honest. OK.
And then you peel, it comes off easier here,
and this part is the tricky part,
make sure you put your thumb through,
and then hold it with a cloth.
You cannot tear it. If you tear it, you fail.
No pressure. No pressure!
That's what I would like to see. Well, it's a fantastic challenge,
so any last words or tips for our cooks, Atul?
I think you saw how to do it, so you think you've got it all?
ALL: Yes, Chef! Good luck.
So our cooks have just 15 minutes to complete Atul's butchery challenge
and remove the skin from a chicken in one perfect peace.
Whilst Atul is looking for a partner with natural flair,
he also needs to know they can follow instructions,
and is watching closely for any mistakes.
It is, actually... I'm so worried about breaking it.
It is quite hard. It's a tough challenge,
and one they all know has huge consequences.
It's much harder than it looks.
Atul, you made it look really easy!
It's quite tricky, it's very slippery, as well.
If it's too slippery, wipe your hands and get on with it again.
Don't forget, you've got a cloth to help you.
A small slip can cost you.
I'm stuck on the wing.
OK, just go back, think how I did it, you'll get it.
The pressure is really on for our home cooks
in a challenge that requires concentration and a steady hand.
Gosh, you're shaking, trying to take the skin out!
And it's not just Annabel that's struggling.
Are you all right? Yeah. Squeak!
It's one of the hardest things, even though it's so simple,
but to do it without the tear is really hard.
Caroline has missed a key instruction,
and failed to cut right through the bone,
making it impossible for her to remove the skin,
and with the 15 minutes nearly up, it's all getting too much for her.
Just take a breath, here's some tissue if you want a bit of tissue.
I'll pop it there for you, OK? Thank you. Thank you.
Cooks, you have 30 seconds left.
Ten, nine, eight,
seven, six, five,
four, three, two, one.
That's it, guys, step away from your chickens, time is up.
Atul, that has been one of the toughest challenges yet.
It really has been. It looked easy when you did it
but, obviously, it was tough. Yes, it is tough.
OK, well, it's time to judge.
I generally did honestly feel very sorry for all three of you.
All three of you were shaking.
Some of you have gone wrong
purely because you didn't listen or you didn't see what I was doing.
So, if I may just guide you through this, what has happened here.
OK. This one is...?
Mine. Yours? I would say perfect.
Well done. Perfect. As I would have liked it to be.
You've pierced it once.
Good piece. It can be made into good sausages.
This one, you've pierced it,
you fiddled with it too much. Yeah.
You were trying to get it out, you were lucky that you got it out.
Normally, at this point, if you fail, if you don't do it properly,
the whole skin goes off, but you are lucky that you saved it, somehow.
It was a tough bird.
It was a tough bird, tough old bird! It was a tough old bird.
OK, let's show you what you didn't do.
You made a massive error, this bone was to go out.
Oh! And that's why you were struggling.
I see. Remember?
You didn't chop it high enough.
Now, because I'm not under pressure... Yeah.
Boom. Done. I got stuck. When I trained, I had to do it very quickly
because the last guy who finished the chicken
had to clean the whole butchery.
So, Caroline, I guess it's your turn this time to clean the butchery.
Oh, Caroline, what a shame.
But you're a great cook, you have a real good grasp of flavours,
you're a foodie. Thank you, Atul,
that is the biggest compliment I could have, so thank you.
No, thank you. That's lovely.
I am a bit gutted.
Atul makes it look so simple.
It's slippery, it's a beast, it's moving around,
and it seems to be stuck in more places than you actually realise.
So it's not the easiest challenge.
So just two cooks remain -
model Chris and publisher Annabel,
but only one can be chosen as Atul's partner for the Friday Final.
So it's now 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 Atul's signature dishes. Cooks, the aim of this round
is to see what you can make with the produce.
You'll get to see what Atul makes a little bit later on,
but for you at home, here's today's ingredients.
Atul's chosen a rack of lamb,
spinach, ginger, beetroot and garam masala, ground coriander,
cumin seeds, chilli powder and dried fenugreek seeds,
black cardamom pods, cinnamon bark, a bay leaf,
black peppercorns and cloves.
Easy enough for a Michelin-starred spice king,
but what on earth will our home cooks make?
Cooks, you have one hour.
Reveal your ingredients, because your time starts now.
So, the clock is ticking and this is the first time our home cooks have
seen these ingredients, but will they know where to start?
Chris wastes no time in getting started,
but Annabel appears less confident.
Because I'm looking at everything, thinking...it is quite hard.
How are we getting on? Have you planned it?
Herbs and spices look very different when they're not
in their little containers. With the labels on?
Yes. You smell and taste them to make out what they are.
Exactly, exactly. So, where I'm heading at the moment is,
I know that lamb doesn't take terribly long to cook,
so I want to get my onions on. I'm going to soften my onions
and then add my tomatoes and then my spinach with a...
not aloo saag, but similar to that.
So that's what I'm up to at the moment.
Have you identified all the ingredients?
Yes, but please don't test me.
Good luck. Thank you very much. Good luck. Thank you.
Hi, Chris. Hiya. How are you doing? Good. Good.
How are you doing, more importantly? All right at the minute, I think.
I think I've identified all the ingredients.
At the minute, I've got sort of a stock that I'm going to boil down
to create the contents of a curry sauce.
I'm actually going to pan-fry the lamb, finish it in the oven
on top of a curry base.
So we'll see how it pans out, but I would like to use, I think,
as many of the ingredients as possible.
I've got quite a good idea of what I'd like to achieve.
Brilliant. Good luck. Cheers.
The smells that are coming through from the kitchen already excite me.
Chris has dived straight in there.
He has a vision in his mind what he wants it to look like on a plate.
Which is very rare.
So whenever I look at him and the way he's planning his work
and the way he's prepping, I think he's read all my books,
or he reads my mind very carefully.
Annabel, maybe it's a little out of her comfort zone.
I think she's got it in her. She's good.
She may not have figured out
which spice is what, but she'll have a pretty good clue how to use it.
She's an out-there cook, in my opinion.
I really love her approach to food. Yeah.
Both cooks know Atul has incredibly high standards
and is keeping a very close eye on them as they work.
No pressure there, then!
Atul is looking for someone who's creative in their cooking
and confident in the seasoning of the food.
He'll only accept the best to partner him in the Friday Final.
Hi, Chris. How's it going? Yeah, going well.
What are you aiming to achieve from this?
I'm trying to get the stock down so I can add it to the curry sauce.
Fantastic. Good luck. Thank you.
How's it going, Annabel? It's going not too bad.
Your plan is working? We'll see.
Well done. Good luck. Thank you.
Chris and Annabel are desperate to do their best,
but hard work can come at a cost in the kitchen.
That was hot. Are you all right? Yeah. I wasn't even thinking.
I don't have them pans at home.
But aware that time is ticking away, Chris bravely carries on.
OK, cooks, you have just ten minutes left. Ten minutes to go.
With time running out,
both cooks turn their attention to presentation,
and Annabel's not happy with hers.
My plating up is not very good.
Right, cooks, that's it. Time is up.
Step away from your dishes, you've done all you can.
It's time to taste.
First up, it's model Chris.
He's chosen to make a spiced rack of lamb,
served on a bed of sauteed spinach
with garlic, mixed spices and a curry sauce.
How was that challenge for you? Yeah, it was really interesting.
Obviously, I was pleased to see a lot of spices in front of me.
I've tried to utilise as many of the ingredients as possible and really
challenge myself. Let's try it. Yeah.
You like the chilli, do you?
Yeah. Really like it.
Spinach nicely cooked.
Sauce is amazing.
Tad bit hot for me. I'm not a fan of chilli,
in spite of cooking Indian food.
Yeah, yeah. I like the flavour of chilli, not the heat of chilli,
so it's very important for me.
I think you did the lamb very well.
There's only one bad point and that is, I think you overdo it.
Yeah. More is not good. Don't try to hard. Yeah, all right.
I'll happily eat this for my dinner. Fantastic.
Very well done. Thank you.
That is delicious. Atul said he would finish that plate of curry
for his dinner, and for him to say that
about one of my curries just blows me away.
The sauce was very hot. So you don't like very, very hot curries?
No. I like the flavour of the chilli.
Next into the tasting room is publisher Annabel.
She's made herb-crusted lamb, served with spinach, onions and tomato.
Are you happy with it? I look back now and think I should have perhaps
used the spinach for a salad.
I think you got bogged down looking at that many spices in front of you.
Absolutely. This is amazing, by the way, but I know,
I was expecting a lot more from you. I know. I'm sorry about that.
I just got puzzled.
One critique I want to give you now.
Yes? Where's the sauce? I know.
You can cook. Thank you. Love that.
You really know how to handle your meat, and that's an art.
Beautiful texture. Spot-on. I'll give full marks to that.
Thank you very much.
Fantastic. Atul said I was very good and I knew my flavours.
I do need to work out some sauces and I'm absolutely thrilled
with the feedback that I've had today.
There was a nice kick to her spinach, too.
She's used chilli in there. Fantastic.
So with the final challenge complete,
it's just left for Atul to deliberate over our two home cooks.
It's a really difficult one because there are a few things in Chris
I like, absolutely love.
The way he handles the spices, his understanding,
his in-depth knowledge of how to treat food.
And on the other side I have Annabel, who's just an amazing cook.
She's got everything right.
She's just too scared of spices.
She's keen, though, as well. She's very keen. No, no, she's amazing.
And she wants to learn but, however, you've got to think about Friday.
Cooking for Pierre Koffmann. You're talking about cooking for God.
Cooking for God. That's tough.
So, do you have any idea who you're going to take with you
to the Friday Final?
Honestly? No. Oh!
Before Atul announces the winner,
let's see what our Michelin-starred spice king makes with all this.
This is one of the dishes you make in your restaurant?
Yes. Yes, actually, yes.
It's an inspiration on one of the classics.
If you go to an Indian restaurant,
it's called saag gosht and this is a kind of saag gosht,
my version of it. You need to blanch the spinach.
That needs to cool down pretty quickly.
That's very important.
And it's incredibly important for spices to crackle so that they
release the flavour in the oil,
because that oil becomes the carrier of the flavour as it goes forward.
The idea is to colour these vegetables first.
So at what age did you start cooking?
My grandad was a baker and my dad had a catering business,
so I learnt first-hand from them. I went to hotel school and then
I trained with a very prestigious hotel chain in India.
They only take 12 students each year from all over the country. Wow!
So I was very privileged to go to that school.
Now, when you cook Indian food, onion is incredibly important.
Indians used to be vegetarians,
so for us to cook onion to get different sauces was paramount.
We would saute onions till they were translucent
to get light-coloured sauces, like kormas. We would cook onions
till they were light brown in colour, with the help of tomatoes
and other ingredients, we would get red-colour sauces,
like chicken tikka masala in this country.
And then you brown the onions,
deep brown them, to get sauces like rogan josh and vindaloo.
And if bones were there, it will be a lot easier, hence my punchline -
you want to cook Indian food, you've got to know your onions.
I want to add the tomatoes.
Cumin powder, and that's coriander powder.
We also add the paste and I'll take that stock and all I want to do is
bring it to the boil and let it simmer.
Let's take this beetroot juice, and the onions go in.
These pickled onions will turn absolutely ruby-red in colour.
Now let's do our lamb.
Now, what we do, we seal it very quickly.
The idea is, when I put it for roasting,
all the flavours should remain in.
I'll let it cook a bit.
I have garam masala.
And we will put this in a preheated oven.
So let's cook it first... six to seven minutes.
Then it comes out, rests a bit, then it goes back later.
It's the most critical part of Indian cooking,
that spices should be sauteed properly at a good temperature.
Yeah. That's where you get the punch from. Yeah.
And we'll add a little chilli for the heat.
And some garlic. A good quantity of garlic.
Spinach goes in.
We have coriander powder. Not too much. Garam masala.
OK. So we add a little bit of cream.
This is good. I'll leave it aside.
Here's the lamb. There you go.
Perfect. Foil. We'll flash it again in the oven just before we serve.
Spice, which is fenugreek leaf.
OK, I think we're good. Now we're going for finishing.
Yeah. This goes back in the oven for three minutes, comes out,
rests and then we serve.
So let's balance the sauce now.
I'm going to add just about half a teaspoon of garam masala to finish.
Large blob of butter.
There you go. The lamb is done.
Beautifully cooked. It just needs to rest.
So, add one teaspoon of ginger in there and the cream.
And the butter. The remaining butter, that goes in last,
and we're done with that.
So let's take this out.
For me, it's perfectly cooked. Let's see. It is.
Look at that. Oh, I love that.
You put that...
There you go. Wow. Yum!
There we go, guys. Looks absolutely incredible.
Go on, Annabel.
Glad you liked it.
It's time to reveal who you're taking through to the Friday Final,
but before you tell us,
let's just have a quick recap of what they made earlier.
In the first round, Chris impressed by bravely attempting a variation
of one of Atul's own recipes
with his pan-fried sea bass and coconut curry.
Flavour wise, you've nailed it.
He rode his luck in Atul's butchery challenge.
You're lucky that you got it out.
And in the final round he utilised all the ingredients to produce
an impressive spiced rack of lamb dish.
But was the heat too much for Atul?
I'm not a fan of chilli.
OK. I like the flavour of chilli, not the heat of chilli.
I would absolutely love to win, and the opportunity to cook with Atul
would be absolutely amazing.
Meanwhile, Annabel impressed Atul with her fusion of flavours in her
stuffed lamb backstrap, samphire and honey tomatoes.
She stole the show by perfectly removing the chicken skin
in the skills challenge. Perfect.
And showcased her incredible cooking techniques in the final round.
You can cook. Thank you. You really know how to handle your meat.
But will her failure to make a sauce
cost her a place in the Friday Final?
I'm not sure if I've done enough to win today. I would love to win.
If I go out, I go out and I've had a great day.
Firstly, I'd like to say a massive well done to both of you.
The standards have been really high as well.
However, Atul has made his mind up.
He can only take one of you to the Friday Final.
So it's time to reveal your winner.
Well, it's a shame that I have to choose only one.
I wish I could take you both with me. Both of you put your heart
and soul into your cooking today,
but the person who's going to cook with me...
will be Chris. Well done.
Well done, Chris. Thank you.
It means absolutely everything to me to be working with my idol Atul.
I'm going to do everything that I can to make sure me and Atul win.
So, Atul, any tips for Chris for the Friday Final?
First thing, more is not good.
You don't have to bung everything on one plate.
And cook your meat really well.
Don't overcook it. If you do all that, we're winning.
Yes, Chef! Yay! Well done.
Tomorrow on Yes Chef -
four more home cooks go all out to impress super chef Ryan Simpson.
I honestly don't envy you, Ryan.
It's the chance for them to work alongside the best in the business,
but only one can become his partner for the Friday Final.
The person that's coming through is...
If there is nothing new, then the Court of Appeal
aren't going to change their decision.
You have to question everything.
Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar has his eye on the prize as he puts four home cooks through a series of culinary challenges, including how to remove the skin from a chicken in one piece. Atul 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?