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Four of the best chefs in Britain
are looking for an amateur home cook to be their perfect partner.
Three home cooks are here to prove they've got what it takes
to be paired with the top chefs in the business,
with the cooking experience of a lifetime.
His veal's raw.
He's got to put it in the oven.
Each day, a different top chef
will choose their perfect partner from three talented home cooks.
I'm not feeling confident in the slightest.
In the Friday Final,
all four pairs will go head-to-head
to cook for culinary royalty Pierre Kaufmann.
What makes a great chef is very hard work.
Practice makes it better.
The professional chefs' reputations are on the line.
I'm frustrated. I can't find anything wrong with it.
But will the amateur home cooks live up to expectations?
You're not meant to be laughing!
It's no joke, is it?
This is Yes Chef.
Hello, and welcome to Yes Chef.
Let's meet today's home cooks.
First, it's Louise Coulter,
a chartered accountant from Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire.
When I'm in the kitchen, I like to follow a recipe,
I like to be quite precise, quite accurate.
I like to have instructions and follow them to the letter.
Matt Asbury is a sales manager from Sale in Cheshire.
I would say I'm inventive.
I can't really stick to a recipe
without deviating from it a little bit.
Frantic and adventurous, really, I would say.
And finally, it's Brenda Irwin,
a full-time mum and grandmother from County Down in Northern Ireland.
I'm a little radical.
I like to try things differently.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
We learn by our mistakes.
Our cooks are ready to start.
So let's meet today's chef.
Nigel Haworth is Chef Patron of Northcote,
in the heart of the Ribble Valley in Lancashire.
The style of cookery that I do is Modern British.
We're cooking food that is in season at its best.
Having held a Michelin star for 20 years,
his standards are incredibly high...
..and he's looking for the perfect partner to lead him to victory.
I like presentation. I like things to be neat.
I like that connection to make sure that
that person's really engaged and really wants to do their best,
so messy cooks are out with me.
Now, Nigel, you're going to be picking
one of our home cooks to be your partner in this week's Friday Final.
What are you going to be looking for?
I think I'm looking for a cook that feels confident
and really wants to show me
that they can cook and deliver something in a set space of time.
OK. Well, let's get on with it.
Round One. You've got 45 minutes to create your best dish for Nigel.
And at the end, it's the all-important Taste Test.
OK, if you'd like to make your way back to your stations, we'll begin.
And the cooks are off.
They're keen to impress Nigel with their signature dishes.
Today, Brenda has chosen a smoked haddock risotto,
which is a firm family favourite in Brenda's household.
After years of cooking for the family,
she's hoping that her simple yet flavoursome dish
will be enough to blow Nigel away.
Well, my family love this dish.
And it was they who chose it for me.
Over at the red station, chartered accountant Louise is making chicken,
rolled in Parma ham and sage,
with baby vegetables and a leek and cannellini mash.
She has been practising the dish at home,
but with only 45 minutes on the clock,
she must make sure she leaves herself plenty of time
to ensure the chicken is cooked properly.
The key things I need to get right are
the chicken not falling apart when it's rolled up.
And, hopefully, I can get a nice sauce out of it, as well.
I cooked it for my son yesterday as a last practice.
To my shame, he put it in the dog's dish!
Lucky dog. Sales manager Matt
has opted for a pan-roasted loin of venison
with sticky braised red cabbage, oven-roasted asparagus,
mash and a chocolate sauce.
It's a complicated dish, so Matt needs to get a move on.
The main part is making sure the cabbage is cooked all right,
making sure that it goes with the venison and the chocolate nicely.
And, obviously, not overcooking the venison,
because that would be game over.
Hi, Louise. How is it going?
Yes, I'm getting there.
I love that, chicken, sage and ham.
It feels Italiany, doesn't it?
Yeah, I really love Italian food.
You've got the Parmesan, yeah.
Well, it will be Italian, won't it, if it has got the Parmesan!
Oh, absolutely. So, how are you cooking the chicken?
I've rolled it up, I've put it in the fridge,
and then I'm going to fry it off,
and then steam it with some white wine and some chicken stock.
Right, that sounds a bit different, doesn't it?
Mmm. Have you practised this lots?
-I hope she has, I hope she has.
It's going to be lovely. I'm really sure it's going to be lovely.
Hi Matt, are you well?
I'm well, yeah, how are you?
Good. Yeah, very well.
That looks a nice piece of venison.
-It's a lovely bit, isn't it?
-That chocolate sauce with venison,
Frenchy and classical, yeah.
Interesting. Yeah. Do you like that style of cooking?
You have to say yes, here, now, Matt, don't you!
I'm kind of an inventive cook.
But, yeah, you can't beat a classic, can you? Tried and tested.
What we say in the trade is it's classic with a modern twist.
Classic with a modern twist, I like it.
Nice. So, this is the sort of thing you cook at home all the time?
No, venison's a bit too expensive to be cooking all the time, I think.
But special occasions, maybe.
This is a firm family favourite, isn't it?
Very much so.
And how many times have you had to cook it for your family?
Well, I've cooked it about 12 times so far!
Well, practice makes perfect, you can never do it too often...
-So they say.
-So they say.
If it feels comfortable and it feels right,
then it's going to be a good dish.
And with you standing beside me it could all go to pot!
I hope not, I hope not.
So, where in Ireland are you from?
County Down, in Newtownards.
And has the whole village tried it?
Oh, no, not the whole village!
And, I have to say, it's one of my favourite things, risotto.
-Oh, good, good.
-One of my favourite things.
-I love it.
-Right, see you later.
Letting the haddock just poach in the hot milk,
and then, when it's poached, I just take the skin off.
Cooks, you're halfway there.
The concentration is amazing.
I think it's all going to plan.
..making sure my timings are all right, really.
Well, let's start with Louise and her dish.
Yes. You know, looking at all the ingredients she's got on her plate,
it looks like if she puts all that on,
you'll not be able to see the chicken.
-So, hopefully she's a little bit reserved,
and doesn't overdo what she's going to deliver.
I think it's really tasty, it's got sort of Italian flavours,
which I love. And, yeah, I hope the people who taste it enjoy it.
And Matt, too, is doing venison with a chocolate sauce.
One of the key things will be...is what his red cabbage tastes like.
-Because, for me, that's the supporting role to the venison.
For me, I'd have been frying a few onions off first and a bit of apple,
and then breaking the red cabbage down.
-Classically, if he delivers, it'll be great.
I've cooked it once before, and it was plated in...
So, yeah, fingers crossed I can get it in a bit quicker today.
And lastly, Brenda, who is doing the smoked haddock risotto.
Risotto, yeah. It's going to be pretty haddocky.
-And it's smoked.
She seems very confident, doesn't she?
-So, you know...
-Yeah, nicely confident.
-You know, like you say, it's a well-rehearsed dish.
But the key is that you don't blow the rice grain.
If it's right, the flavours carry through and it's a beautiful,
beautiful thing to eat.
Normally, I'm very calm, but in this situation,
you can get a little nervous.
Right, cooks, you've got ten minutes left, ten minutes to go.
How are we doing?
-Going very well.
-The smells are beautiful,
and it's looking very good.
Good. I hope you enjoy it.
Yeah. I'm looking forward to that.
It's a little bit different when you've got Nigel Haworth
watching you put things together.
But I'm just going to think about the job in hand,
and, hopefully, it'll all be OK.
Louise's main concern is that her chicken will be cooked properly,
and with just ten minutes to go, the pressure is on.
Has your chicken come out OK?
Well, I'll see when I slice it!
But it's already cooked and resting?
No, it's still steaming.
Oh, is it? Oh, OK.
It looks good! It looks really nice.
-I hope so.
Cooks, there's just three minutes to go,
so start thinking about plating up,
cos you've only got three minutes left.
Oh, deary God.
The three home cooks have only minutes to spare,
and Brenda is full steam ahead, plating up first.
A big portion!
I think Nigel's hungry, though.
You're hungry, aren't you, Nigel?
Very, very, yes.
You'll have some healthy children there, with those portions.
Oh, I do, yes, yes.
And I've a big husband!
Northern Irish portion!
Just one minute left.
Come on, guys!
With only seconds to go,
Matt's left it down to the wire to get his food on the plate.
And not far behind is Louise,
putting her finishing touches to her cannellini mash.
Time's nearly up, as they race to the finish line.
30 seconds left.
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six,
five, four, three, two, one.
That's it, time is up!
You've done all you can.
-It's time to taste.
First up to be judged is Brenda, with her Dish Of The Day.
She's made a smoked haddock risotto, with pan-fried fillet of haddock,
garnished with chives and parsley oil.
How was the challenge for you?
-I enjoyed it.
-It looks nice.
-It does look nice.
-As we said, it's a hefty portion, though, isn't it?
It is a hefty portion,
but Northern Ireland have a hefty portion!
But I eat a lot, I'll tell you!
-OK, well, let's taste.
-Shall we have a little try?
-OK, let's have a go.
That's lovely. That's beautifully cooked, the smoked haddock on top.
-Mmm, really is.
For me, the haddock is really, really beautiful.
Obviously, it's probably a little bit big as a portion.
-It is big.
It's a little bit under-seasoned.
I didn't want to put too much seasoning in, because of the fish.
Because of the saltiness of the smoked...
I can get that, Brenda, I can really get that.
And I think, rather than being over-seasoned,
being cautious is good.
But as you go through the competition, be brave.
I cooked the fish properly, a little bit of seasoning wrong.
I think it's turned out well, the way it does at home, normally.
To get positive information from Nigel is quite something.
There was aspects of the risotto that perhaps needed finishing,
a little bit more seasoning, as we said.
But, you know, on the whole, a nicely balanced risotto.
-I'd eat it all.
All of it?!
Next up is Matt, with pan-roasted venison loin with mash,
sticky braised red cabbage,
oven-roasted asparagus and a chocolate sauce.
Hi, Matt, are you all right?
Hi. I'm better now, yeah.
-Did you enjoy it?
Yeah, it was good fun, it was good fun.
Shall I pour the chocolate sauce?
Go for it, Nigel, go for it.
That looks deep and lush, doesn't it?
-I hope so.
-You know, chocolate is a great thing with venison, so,
cooked rare, it should be wonderful.
-Shall I cut a piece?
-Yeah, go on, then.
Well, I was a little sceptical about your red cabbage when you were...
when you were cooking it. But you've brought that through.
What I love about the red cabbage is, it's really tangy,
and really powers through.
-It really is good.
-Don't mind me, I'm just scoffing away here!
It is delicious.
Asparagus, you could have used something else.
-But that is the only fault I can find with that.
I'm frustrated, I can't find anything wrong with it!
-Well done, Matt, brilliant.
Pretty blown away, to be fair.
To have a Michelin-starred chef even try your food is good,
but to have him say really nice things about it is unbelievable.
I've never tried venison before.
That is gorgeous.
I'm really looking forward to seeing
what he does in the next round, already.
I'm still a bit nervous, but just see how we get on.
Last but not least is Louise with her Dish Of The Day.
She's cooked chicken rolled with Parma ham and sage, baby vegetables,
a leek and cannellini bean mash topped with herbs,
and a side of jus.
-How are we doing?
-Good, thank you.
-OK, let's taste.
-Would you like to go first?
-That's for you.
-That's for me, the big one.
Well, we're quiet.
Mmm. Really tasty chicken.
Yeah. Almost surprisingly tasty,
because I sort of half-expected it to be drier.
In a way I was thinking, "Don't cut it, Louise, don't cut it,
"just leave it whole, leave it in, like a sort of little paupiette."
But it's very tasty, isn't it?
Mmm, really tasty, some lovely flavours in the chicken.
The only thing I'd say is,
it almost feels like you've just popped some veg on the side.
So I think, think a little bit deeper
when you're going through the next round.
But of course, well done.
-Thank you very much.
It's not always gone right at home, so I'm really pleased with today.
probably the weakest on the presentation, in a way.
-But the veg seemed a bit alien on the side there.
-Some were overcooked, some were cooked right,
and some of them were a bit undercooked.
-So that was the bit that didn't work at all.
Yeah. The chicken was lovely.
The chicken was really good.
I don't want to be the one who goes home first.
I've been cooking for a lot of years,
so, hopefully, I won't get thrown.
Is anyone standing out at the moment?
Yes, I think, to be honest with you, there's been pluses and negatives,
like you'd expect.
-But there is one that sort of shone through.
OK, well, we don't have to make any decisions yet,
because we're now going to go and do your Skills Test.
Nigel can only take one of the three home cooks into Friday's Final.
And to help him decide who will be sent home first,
he's set them a Skills Challenge.
So, Nigel, what are we doing?
We're just going to do a mushroom and herb pate.
It shows off knife skills, chopping, finely chopping and slicing,
and then you've got to assemble it, and you've got to season it.
So it's all those basics that I think about
when I'm training somebody up.
Right, so shall we grab the mushrooms?
So we'll prepare those up first.
What I want to do with the mushrooms
is just trim the bottoms off them
just in case there's a little bit of dirt.
We've wiped the mushrooms.
So when you wash them, they go darker, like a darker colour.
Yeah. They start to oxidise and discolour.
With this pate, actually, I want a nice, white pate.
What we're going to do now is,
we're going to just slice the mushrooms down.
So it's just a simple thumb on the top, four fingers wrapped round.
And then just sliced down.
And we want it nice and fine.
How are your chopping skills, guys?
Not as good as that.
OK? So we pop those in that bowl there.
OK. So we've got our garlic.
-That's the one I'm going to use.
Pop that in there. I'm just going to peel a little shallot,
and then cut that in half, like so.
The point of the knife works up to the core, and you cut along.
OK? So the thumb's on the top, then you just draw through, like so.
So you don't go right to the edge?
-Hold it together, then just make one little cut down.
Can you see how my hand's changed now?
OK? So my thumb's gone from the top of the knife to the heel.
We may need a few blue plasters!
So, we just want to gently, gently sweat those off.
About half a clove of garlic, pop that in.
And we're going to pop the mushrooms, then, on top.
Mix those in.
You can hear the mushrooms now starting to break down.
OK, so we've got some chives.
So you line them up, you bring the chives up closely,
and you just rock through.
So we've got our chives there.
So we just shift them up there.
And we need to sweat all that juice off until they're dry.
And then we have a dry pate.
Now, just a touch of pepper in there.
OK, and then I'm just going to get my parsley, and just shred through.
-Pop that in, like so.
Do you want to pulse that, Sheree, until you get it nice and fine?
She's very good, isn't she, as an assistant?
Thank you. How are you feeling, guys, about the challenge so far?
I've never been a mushroom fan,
but I'm slowly sort of growing into it, I think.
You'd better start liking them, I'll tell you.
I'd eat anything a Michelin-starred chef gave me.
OK, and we've got our little pate in the bottom now.
Mix that up now. Just check the seasoning.
We just want to pop a little bit of olive oil in there.
This is called to quenelle.
Have you ever come across that term?
You have. You love it, don't you?
Right, so we get our pate.
And you've got to keep shaping until you get the right shape.
So I'm shaking a little bit, I don't know what you're going to be like.
Right, so that last turn, there.
Pop it in the middle.
-Right, so we can just garnish it
with a couple of those, right?
So you see how something so simple can be so beautiful.
Fabulous. Right, guys.
If you'd like to make your way back to your stations, we'll begin.
Our home cooks have just 20 minutes to show off their skills
and perfect Nigel's mushroom pate.
They must ensure the pate remains white and tastes light and fresh.
Not the biggest fan of mushrooms,
so not feeling confident in the slightest.
It's the knife skills that I'm worried about most of all.
Chopping my fingers off!
Yeah, I'm doing OK.
I'm going to be a lot slower than Nigel can do it, obviously.
Only two cooks can be taken through to the next round.
It's essential they follow Nigel's instructions to the letter.
I'm just working as fast as I can, really.
Nigel is keeping a watchful eye
to see who is following his recipe closest.
-How are we doing?
-I'm just about to get these onions in the pan.
You're getting your shallots in there now, aren't you?
-Let's get this on.
-No, it's gone off.
-Oh, I had the wrong one on.
It's all right. It's all right. It'll warm up pretty quickly.
How are you feeling? OK?
I'm all right. I'm just trying to make sure it's all chopped properly,
so I'm a little bit behind.
So there might be a little mad rush at the end.
I can hear them sizzling.
Anyway, they're nearly...
-Yeah, there we go.
-I'll let you concentrate.
Yeah. Cheers. OK.
-Hi, Brenda. You all right?
-Yes, I think I'm OK.
Good, good. You're doing good.
Yeah, you can see how the mushrooms are starting to break down now.
-Lovely. Got yours whiter than mine!
Cooks, you're halfway there.
You've got ten minutes to go.
They're all a little bit slower than they perhaps need to be,
so they're going to have a bit of a crush at the end.
Louise cutting the shallot the wrong way round.
I think Matt's taken a lot of time on his mushrooms.
So when it's come to his shallot, it is a little messy.
Very chunky. Brenda seems to be out in front there.
-She's got the mushrooms going.
-The other two are going to be very close.
Yeah, still not 100% confident,
but everything's gone in the pan now.
I've just got to chop my chives up.
Brenda's in front,
but this challenge is about precision and flavour.
Cooks, you've got five minutes left.
Just five minutes to go.
Are you pleased with that?
The consistency, no, it's good.
Louise is using every second to ensure her pate
meets Nigel's high standards.
It's very wet.
The cooks carefully take their time,
quenelling the pate into the perfect shape.
Presentation is key.
Just two minutes left, cooks.
Two minutes to go!
-There you go.
That's it, just turn it. That's it.
-Bit heavy on the oil.
-No, it's fine.
It looks good.
Ten, nine, eight,
seven, six, five, four, three,
The moment of truth,
one of the home cooks will be leaving the competition
after this round.
Nigel will be judging their pate to help make his decision.
How did you all find the challenge?
Very difficult, but I actually learnt something.
I was very slow in comparison!
OK, well, let's start with Matt.
Looking at yours, you've actually got a slightly browner pate,
which means you've sort of fried it a little bit more than we wanted.
-It's wetter than it should be.
But your flavours are very, very good.
I'll take that.
You've got a perfect-looking pate, definitely the best quenelle.
I just get a little bit of rawness in there,
so that means you haven't cooked your shallots off just as much.
But it's still a very good effort.
Yours is, again, virtually perfect from a looking point of view,
just slightly under-seasoned.
You know, with your risotto, be brave,
because your consistency
and the look of your quenelle is virtually perfect.
Some lovely, positive comments there.
-Are you happy?
-Yes, thank you.
Good, OK. Well, if you'd like to go back to the waiting room,
we'll see you shortly.
But if you take these with you, and ask for some bread...
Now, Nigel has a decision to make before the Final Round,
and only two of the home cooks can go through.
Positives and negatives for all three.
Yeah, definitely so.
But you will get that when they're trying new dishes out.
It's frustrating that Brenda doesn't just get that seasoning now.
But we are where we are.
I'm kicking myself I didn't quite get the shallots right.
I had some other good comments about the seasoning and the quenelle,
so, hopefully, that will carry me through.
I would be very excited to get through.
To actually learn some more would be amazing.
To go through now would be fantastic,
but it's really, really close.
So it could be anyone's.
Have you got any idea of who you're going to send home?
I've got my clear
leader at the moment.
-So it's between two.
And I think I'm pretty much there, yeah.
All right, well, let's go tell them.
Firstly, I'd like to say well done to all three of you,
I hope you've enjoyed yourselves.
Unfortunately, one of you does have to leave the competition now,
and Nigel has made his mind up, so, Nigel, it's over to you.
Each of you have done fantastic things.
And then, each of you made mistakes, which you would expect.
But in the round, what I'm looking for is somebody
that can actually go through with the Final in mind,
and you've got to have the nerves,
you've got to have a bit of steel about you.
And you've got to be able to get that edginess about the food.
So with all that in mind, it was a big decision.
But the person who's going to be leaving us now...
-I'm sorry, Louise.
-Sorry about that, Louise.
Have you enjoyed yourself?
-Yes, thank you.
I'm quite disappointed that I haven't gone through, obviously.
I've had a great day, I've learned so much.
Give us a hug, Louise.
Because I feel awful.
It was very close.
That just leaves full-time housewife Brenda...
I'm very happy!
..and area manager Matt.
Bit nervous about the next challenge
because I've not got the most creative brain in the world,
so just knuckle down and give it my best shot, really.
It's now time for our third and final round.
Now, our home cooks have been given all the ingredients
to one of Nigel's signature dishes.
They'll have one hour to identify all the ingredients,
and to create a dish of their own.
So for you at home, here's what Nigel's chosen.
A sea bass fillet, shallots, potatoes, butter, red wine and port,
thyme and nutmeg, chicken stock, sugar, leeks and spinach.
Will Matt and Brenda know what all these ingredients are,
and be able to invent a delicious dish?
Nigel, any last tips for our home cooks?
I think just approach it with confidence, and think simple.
OK. Cooks, you have one hour.
Reveal your ingredients, because your time starts now.
This is their last chance to prove to Nigel
that they are the perfect partner for him in Friday's Final.
Matt seems to have come up with a plan,
but Brenda's only thought so far is to skin the fish,
but still not having a clue what to do or what to put with it.
-How are we?
-I'm not sure where I am.
-That's a big sigh, Brenda.
Firstly, have you managed to identify all the ingredients?
Yeah, a lot of them.
There's red wine there.
And I think this is some sort of vinegar.
OK. She's still looking to see if you're going to tell her!
And there was a fish knife there, so I took the skin off the fish.
-Don't tell her.
-I'm sworn to secrecy, Brenda.
Otherwise, it would be unfair on young Matt over there.
Tell us what you're planning.
-I don't know.
-You've got to do something with your fish.
-You've got to make a sauce.
So think about what you're going to do, and then hit your ingredients.
And just enjoy it. Relax and enjoy it.
I can see you're doing that now.
Just relax. You're fine.
It's just a piece of fish and some veg.
Matt, how are we doing?
Slowly piecing things together, I think.
Have you identified all the ingredients?
That looks like clarified butter, I'm guessing.
You've got butter and clarified butter.
There's a reason for that.
Do you think you'll use all the ingredients?
If I'm allowed to drink the port, then probably, yeah.
And the red wine. I'm just going to try and keep it simple, really.
You've made a start with your potatoes.
Fondant potatoes seems pretty logical.
I'm going to, I think, make, like, a caramelised shallot puree.
-All right, thank you.
-I'll need it.
-Yeah, all the way.
How are you feeling about Friday?
Thinking about it, the red wine, port...
It's throwing them.
Yeah. The worrying thing as well is that port is sweet,
and Brenda thought it was vinegar.
Matt said he's going to drink the red wine and the port.
And the port, yeah.
Brenda's taken the skin off.
-Why did she do that?
-Because there's a filleting knife there.
-Let's be hopeful.
-We are. Whatever.
-I'm sweating down some leeks and shallots.
I'm going to attempt to make a puree out of them.
I'm just going to pan-fry the fish, again, keep it simple.
Fondant potato on the side.
PAN SIZZLES LOUDLY
Brenda's decided to cook her ingredients as separate elements.
But how will she put them together?
Matt's making fondant potatoes and so is Brenda.
You've never done a fondant potato?
-Why are you doing it?
-Because I just...
Because I saw the clarified butter and thought I'd have a go at it.
Well, it's good that you are trying, doing something.
But if you've never done it,
why don't you do something that you're comfortable with?
Are you doing it correctly?
-I don't know.
-Don't make me laugh.
You're not meant to be laughing.
It's no joke, is it?
Don't let her put you off, Brenda.
She's putting me off.
-Is she putting you off?
-Hey! I was trying to help you!
Blowing me up to the chef!
I don't know what I'm doing.
I'm having fun. Aye.
I'm having great fun.
Matt is quietly getting on with his puree,
and in a bid to get something on a plate,
Brenda decides to deep-fry her leeks.
This could be a disaster.
Oh, dear, I think that's the worst thing I've ever made in my life.
It's all going wrong.
She's still trying to find her feet with this challenge,
and decide how to put her dish together.
-How are you getting on, Matt?
You can't be as bad as what I am.
-How are you getting on, Brenda?
-Dreadful, thank you.
-How did your leeks go?
-My leeks didn't.
I wouldn't class this as burnt,
I'd sort of call it deep, luxurious brown.
Guys, you have ten minutes left, just ten minutes to go.
Matt's dish is coming together well,
leaving time to perfect a rich sauce.
Fish don't take long.
But will Brenda have enough time to pull
all the elements of her dish together?
She's giving it her best shot, and, slowly,
it looks like they are.
On the other station,
Matt is in full control
and is calmly making the most of every ingredient.
Finished the sauce.
Potatoes are looking OK.
Spinach is about there.
Are you happy?
I don't know, you've not tasted it yet.
Miraculously, having started with no original plan,
Brenda's knocked up a great-looking plate of food way ahead of time.
Two minutes left, two minutes to go.
There's a plate of food in front of me.
Matt appears to be keeping his cool,
using every second to perfect his dish.
One minute left.
-He is, very calm.
Quick, get the sauce in the jug.
Five, four, three, two, one.
That's it. Stop cooking. Well done, both of you.
-Well done, you two.
-Brilliant, so good.
It's time to taste.
First up, it's Brenda.
Incredibly, she's managed to pull off pan-fried sea bass,
fondant potatoes with a side of wilted spinach and a red wine sauce,
topped with deep-fried leeks.
-How are you?
Glad that's over?
Very much so.
You look relieved.
I'm very relieved.
You'll sleep tonight.
-Right, well, come on, let's taste.
-Yes, come on.
Let's have a taste.
Gosh, it looks beautifully cooked.
-That's very good.
-That is very good.
The fish is
absolutely perfectly cooked.
is so good.
I've learned something.
And the flavour is lovely.
Halfway through, I was thinking, "Where are we going with this?"
And then you've just produced
what would be fit to serve in any restaurant.
-Oh, that's very sweet.
I can't believe it!
I'm in shock.
That was SO good.
-And it's one of the best dishes I've tasted off anybody.
From a contestant point of view, just so good.
-I could serve that in the restaurant,
and people would love it.
-I'm not sure if I've done enough.
I hope I have.
Next into the tasting room, it's Matt.
He's made pan-fried sea bass with wilted spinach,
fondant potatoes and a red wine, shallot and leek sauce.
-Pleased that's finished?
Over the moon, yeah. Been a long day.
You were a cool hand, there,
cos the last ten seconds, you finished your dish.
Yeah, didn't feel so cool.
-You looked cool.
-Yeah, he looked cool.
-Shall we have a try?
OK, need to put a bit of...
..sauce on there.
That's very good, as well.
-The cooking of fish is a particularly difficult skill,
and you've got yours absolutely bob-on.
-The spinach is really nicely seasoned.
Beautiful, lovely favour, buttery flavour, nicely seasoned.
Your sauce works incredibly well with it.
Perhaps a little bit too thick.
-Could just be a little bit...
-Yeah, reduced it a bit too much.
But I'm nit-picking there.
The dish eats great.
I think still a little bit shocked
that I managed to turn it out
and get nice things said about it, really.
To be picked by Nigel to go into Friday
and team up with him would be absolutely brilliant.
Another great dish.
-What are you going to do?
-Your fish is beautiful.
-Thank you very much.
Matt's seasoning has been consistently good, right throughout.
Brenda's has dramatically improved.
That last dish was so on point. Yeah. Problems.
Have you got an idea of who you might pick, though?
Well, don't worry, because you've got a little bit more time.
We're going to see what you do with those ingredients.
-Thank you. Let's go.
So, Nigel, put them out of their misery.
What do you make with these ingredients?
Well, I call this dish simply sea bass Shiraz.
OK? It's a sea bass dish with a Shiraz sauce.
-Shall we crack on?
-Let's crack on.
First thing I need to do is, I need to pop my shallots into the oven.
We're going to roast them in the skins,
which is something that I do quite a lot.
Get those in first thing, because they take a good half an hour.
And then get the potatoes.
Put a little bit of salt in there, and then pop those on.
The red wine and the port threw you both, didn't it?
Is that because you saw fish and then the red wine?
You don't often associate red wine with fish, do you?
Cut through our shallot.
And again, trying to...
..get it nice and fine.
Put our port...
..and our red wine. Full, to start off with.
We want to reduce that down almost till it's completely reduced.
The next job is leeks.
Just cut the top off. The bottom.
Go down and take that first layer off.
Do you serve this in your restaurant, this dish?
This dish has been on the menu, on and off, the last 20 years, yeah.
It happens to be my wife's favourite fish dish.
When we got married, we had this dish to start.
-Oh, we're getting romantic now!
-What a lovely story.
Gosh. So, we're going to pop the...
..leeks in there.
Just sweat it for a couple of minutes.
So, our home cooks didn't have any milk out, did they?
No, they didn't. Chef's prerogative.
A little bit of milk, there.
So I'm going to ask you just to give that a good beating, there.
Take the piece of fish, and just, with a sharp knife...
And why do you score it?
So that when you cook it, it doesn't rise up.
It allows the cooking of the fish to be more even.
-A bit more?
-A bit of oomph. A bit of oomph!
-My arm's aching.
Mix the leeks.
So, we've got our champ now, haven't we?
I will need to just check the shallots now,
cos they should be ready.
And you did your spinach bob-on, absolutely.
They both used the nutmeg, didn't you?
OK, often, I'd just hold the fish down, like that.
Right, I've got my shallots now.
Just nip the end off, just warm the sauce through,
and then I need to start thinking about serving this dish.
Let's get the fish now.
Shall we have a look at it again?
You can just see the difference, now.
Get the shallot. I can sauce up, before I put the fish on.
Why are you putting the sauce on before?
Because you have to sauce around the fish, otherwise.
That's simply more difficult.
Then we're going to pop it onto there
and I just want to pop that little bit of fresh thyme there.
And there is your sea bass Shiraz.
-So, there you go.
-There you go, guys.
Have a taste.
-What do you think, guys?
-Yeah, that's really good.
And your champ's lovely.
That's made my day, Brenda.
Absolutely wonderful, Nigel.
Thank you so much.
But it is now the moment of truth.
Who are you going to pick to be your partner in the Friday Final?
Before you tell us, let's have a quick recap
of what our cooks made earlier.
In the First Round, Brenda's smoked haddock risotto was under-seasoned.
Brenda's pate was well executed.
However, seasoning was lacking again.
In the Final Round, Brenda was well out of her comfort zone,
but, surprisingly, impressed Nigel with her sea bass.
I'd be very excited to get through to Friday.
Matt blew Nigel away with his venison and chocolate sauce
in the First Round.
Matt's pate in the Second Round was a little sloppy and overcooked.
But will Matt's pan-fried sea bass
be enough to win a place in Friday's Final?
We'll have to wait and see.
I think it's fairly level.
Firstly, congratulations to you both.
It's been an absolutely brilliant day.
But, sadly, only one of you can be Nigel's partner
in this week's Friday Final,
and he has made his mind up.
I think, genuinely,
it's been one of the hardest decisions I've ever made.
I made my decision thinking about what you cooked,
and what you're going to have to cook on Friday.
So, the winner is...
Well done, Matt.
I feel amazing.
Unbelievable. Never expected it at all.
I've had a wonderful day.
I've learned how to chop without chopping my fingers off.
-Well done to both of you.
Any last tips for Matt?
Believe in yourself,
have that confidence to go forward,
and you'll do really, really well on Friday.
The game plan for Friday is just to go out there,
smash it and enjoy ourselves.
Really looking forward to Friday now, getting to team up with Nigel.
I hope we can work together and win the competition.
Tomorrow, on Yes Chef...
..three more home cooks go all out to impress top chef Amandine Chaignot.
This food is very posh.
It's the chance for them to work alongside the best in the business.
This is my idea of perfection.
But only one can become their partner in the Friday Final.
Michelin-starred chef Nigel Haworth has his eye on the prize as he puts three home cooks through a series of culinary challenges, including how to make the perfect mushroom pate. Nigel will be judged by triple Michelin-starred chef Pierre Koffmann in the final, so his professional pride is at stake. But which home cook will he choose?