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Four of the best chefs in Britain
are on the hunt for their perfect partner.
Three amateur home cooks are here to prove they have got what it takes
to be paired with the best in the business
for the cooking experience of a lifetime.
That sauce isn't a sauce - it's solid!
Each day, a different Michelin-starred chef
will choose their perfect partner from three talented home cooks.
I am definitely feeling the pressure now.
Then, in the Friday final,
all four pairs will go head-to-head to cook for culinary royalty,
What makes a great chef is very hard work.
Practice make it better.
The professional chefs' reputations are on the line.
It doesn't make any sense. It's just unnatural.
But will the amateur home cooks live up to expectations?
It's just something I've never tried to do before, more nerve-racking.
This is Yes Chef.
Hello, and welcome to Yes Chef.
Let's see who's cooking in the kitchen today.
First it's Fiona Tierney,
a telephone researcher from Worcestershire.
My cooking style is family with a bit of a posh twist.
Under pressure, I'm usually OK,
but we'll have to see how it goes today.
Chris McGhee is a civil servant from Edinburgh.
I think I'm quite adventurous in my cooking style,
so there's nothing I'm scared to take on.
I do like strong flavours,
so I'll try and incorporate them into my meals.
And finally Eva Caton is a full-time mum from Rugby.
The kind of chef I'm looking for today is someone that's quite stern,
but very helpful and can just point me in the right direction.
Well, our cooks are at the ready, so let's meet today's chef.
Aiden Byrne has worked in some of the best restaurants in Britain
for the last 20 years
and has become known for classical cooking with a modern twist.
My main focal points are traditional marriages
and really strong flavours.
He began his career working for free in a hotel kitchen,
and at the age of 22,
became the youngest person ever to win a Michelin star.
Any competition you enter, you want to win it.
I am up against my peers, and we've got to cook for Pierre Koffmann.
It's not just one challenge - there's two big challenges there.
So, welcome, everyone.
Now, Aiden, 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?
Firstly, we want a great plate of food, obviously.
But bearing in mind the challenges that Friday throws up,
I need to see some confidence, cleanliness, organisation,
and just keep hold of them nerves.
Hm! Right, well, let's get on with it.
So this is round one.
Cooks, you have 45 minutes to create your best dish.
Now, Aiden will be watching your every move
to see how you cope in the kitchen,
so no pressure(!)
Right, guys, good luck, this is it.
Your time starts now.
So, our cooks are off.
This is the first chance to impress Aiden
with their own style of cooking.
Today, Chris is pairing king scallops with black pudding.
It's a classic combination which he's hoping to take
to the next level with some diced pear, chorizo bonbons
and a lemon hollandaise sauce.
But with time already ticking, Chris knows he must work fast
to ensure he gets everything on the plate.
Yeah, I've cooked it only once in 45 minutes.
I did have some struggle with the sauce in the past,
but other than that, I think everything should be fine.
Telephone researcher Fiona is also aware of the clock.
She's chosen sticky salmon,
topped with toasted sesame and nigella seeds,
served with lime and a coriander rice.
Key moments are getting the timing of the salmon, the rice
and everything else so it's all ready at the same time.
But the great thing about it is that
you can get it all prepped ahead of time,
and then 15 minutes before you want to have it,
that's when you start cooking it.
Over at the yellow station,
Eva is making a mint and rosemary lamb chop
with a red wine jus and a side of Hasselback potatoes.
They're Swedish spuds, sliced almost right through,
sprinkled with salt and roasted.
Yeah, I'm feeling all right, actually.
I am a bit nervous, but...
You know, I just cut my finger. Can I just...?
-Can I have a plaster, if that's OK?
-Yeah, I'll go and get you one.
Oh, thank you.
You cut your finger already.
-It just went in when I was cutting my potato.
-Just take some deep breaths...
-..you'll be fine.
The strain of cooking for a professional chef
is starting to show,
and Eva's not the only home cook to make a mistake.
-Chris, what's going on?
-I've just cut my finger.
-Wrap that round it there.
-Here, let's help you here.
-Fabulous. Thank you very much.
-Shout if you need me, OK?
Will do. Thanks very much.
As Chris makes up for lost time,
Eva's back on track and sticking to her plan.
I'm just cutting up the chops so they're all equal sizes
so that they cook the same time.
-Are you all right?
-Yeah, are you?
-I'm OK, I'm OK.
How many times have you practised this dish?
-I cook it quite often.
-Oh, do you?
-Something we like in our household, so, yeah, definitely.
And the lamb comes medium rare?
-I'm hoping it does today, yeah. Yeah.
-OK, we'll let you get on with that. Get out of your way.
-You feel confident?
-Yeah, fairly good. Hopefully.
-You look quite calm.
-Yeah, and in control.
I've made it a lot, so I'm hoping it'll be all right.
That was my next question - you've made it many times, have you?
-Yeah, it's my daughter's absolute favourite.
So she'll be thrilled.
You could do it with your eyes closed.
Well, maybe not quite... Not with these knives!
-How are you getting on?
-Fine, I think.
-These are my black pudding and chorizo bonbons.
Some of my favourite ingredients in there,
-the chorizo and the scallops.
-Wanted to do them proud.
-And is this a family favourite?
Probably just for my wife and friends
-that we've made it for in the past.
-Well, very excited.
Well, we'll let you get on. Watch the knives!
Right, cooks, you are halfway through.
So, we've had a look at our home cooks and what they're making.
Let's start with Fiona - what do you think of her dish?
She's come in with quite a safe dish.
But taking her out of that comfort zone
and throwing the challenge at her with lots of different ingredients,
I think she potentially might struggle.
Obviously, the pressure of cooking for somebody like Aiden,
because this is actually a really simple dish,
but is it going to impress him enough? It's not difficult,
but it's important to get everything timed right.
So let's move on to Chris,
and you said there's lots of nice ingredients.
-Will they all work together?
-Will they all work together?
You've got the samphire, you've got the pear, the chorizo,
the scallops, the black pudding,
but I don't understand why the pear is there, I just don't get it.
But you just never know.
The next step for me is the hollandaise sauce, so this is
probably the trickiest part of the dish, to be honest with you.
-Eva's got lamb.
-Again, she's playing quite safe,
but to be able to cook a piece of lamb medium rare
in a short space of time is no mean feat. No.
And you're impressed that she's making her own stock as well.
Making her own stock, the Hasselback potatoes -
there's a lot that could go wrong there.
I'm just frying off this lamb to get all the flavour together.
Just going to golden this up.
This is from my own sauce that I'm making,
so it's basically like a stock.
And it's the nerves that are added on to the pressure.
I mean, two of them have cut their fingers already.
-So it'll be interesting.
-Yeah, looking forward to it.
Aiden's looking for a partner he can work with in Friday's final,
and Chris is hoping his hollandaise sauce will prove his culinary skill.
The pouring the butter in is the crucial element
to actually making the sauce.
If the butter's too hot, the eggs could scramble
and the sauce would be ruined at that stage.
I'm definitely feeling the pressure. Absolutely, yeah.
I'm just going to thicken up my sauce now.
Add a bit of water and cornflour.
Yes, I'm definitely feeling the pressure.
Time is flying by for Eva and Chris.
I need a fork and I've not seen a fork here.
But with nothing to cook until the last ten minutes...
I've got one here, if you want. I'm not using it.
..all Fiona can do is watch and wait.
-How are you getting on?
-Not bad, not bad.
I'm delighted the hollandaise sauce has actually managed to come out OK.
That was a bit of an issue. But it seems to work quite well.
Show me what you're going to do.
I'm really struggling to get my head around this pear in the dish.
-The pear goes really well with the black pudding and the chorizo.
-Actually adds a little bit of texture to the dish as well.
Would you usually use something else?
Probably apple with the black pudding and the chorizo.
OK, now I'm getting it. The scallops and the apple and the black pudding,
and you're using the pear instead.
Cooks, you have just 15 minutes left. 15 minutes to go.
Your potatoes, how are they getting on?
-They're getting on really well.
-Can I have a look?
-They look amazing.
-Thank you. They're good, they're good.
-They look nice and crispy.
-They look fab.
I'm actually going to try them at home.
-Easy to do.
-At last, something sizzling.
-I know, I know.
Just crisping off the salmon skin,
-and then that's going to go in the oven with the seeds on top.
Now, you cook a lot for your children, don't you?
I cook a lot for my four 19 year olds.
-Oh, my gosh!
Two sets of twins - twins and step-twins.
Now, I heard you sent them off to uni with a cookbook.
-That is amazing.
I self-published a cookbook for them called Faff Free, and they loved it.
-It smells so good.
-Must be something happening now.
-Do you feel better? Are you less worried now?
-I was getting nervous!
Oh, wow. They look nice.
Yeah, they look quite nice, I'm quite happy with them.
-They're so crispy.
-This is crispy pancetta.
And these are the bonbons.
-Are you big on presentation?
-That's one the weakest parts of my cooking.
-I'll make it look as nice as I possibly can.
-Oh, I'm so excited to eat it.
-Oh, I'm glad to hear that.
Cooks, you have just five minutes left.
The salmon's in now, the rice is almost finished,
just about to cook the pak choi.
I think we're there.
So, there's only five minutes to go. You've seen them all in action.
-I'm extremely nervous about Fiona.
-I don't know.
I've just never seen a cook that chilled out before.
It's just, like, unnatural.
-And then Eva, she seems really, really nervous.
-I think she's the most nervous out of all three of them.
And Chris - there's a lot more going on now
it's coming to the end as well.
He wants to impress. He's trying to put as much as he can on the plate.
Whether that pear in place of the apple works or not,
-we've still yet to see.
-Well, let's get back out there.
-I'm interested to see how they plate up.
-Exactly, I'm excited.
Right, guys, you've got just two minutes left.
Get that food on the plates.
Our three home cooks are on the home straight,
each one determined to deliver their best dish for Aiden.
Eva's keeping her nerves in check
and is hoping to impress with her flavours.
It tastes really good.
Yeah, it's all going to plan.
But for Chris, turning his attention to presentation will be a real test.
We'll have to see what I can do with this one today.
One minute left. Just one minute to go.
And for a previously relaxed Fiona,
she now has to prove to a watching Aiden that her time management
will deliver on presentation and taste.
Come on! Get the food on the plates!
Ten, nine, eight,
seven, six, five, four,
three, two, one.
That's it. Step away from your plates. Stop cooking.
Well, that's the end of round one, everybody.
First to be judged is Fiona, with her dish of the day -
sticky salmon topped with toasted sesame and nigella seeds,
a lime rice with coriander, and spring onion and a side of pak choi.
-First dish of the day.
You were very calm in there, weren't you?
Well, I didn't feel as calm as it looked,
-but because it was fish, it was a little bit last-minute.
So if I give you a box of ingredients which you've never
seen before, how are you going to cope with that?
I'm really good with that, actually, because that happens
a lot in my house, when you get down to the end of the week
and you see what's in the fridge and that's got to be supper for eight.
-Right, OK. I like that. Yeah, OK.
Are you happy with the way the dish has turned out, the way it looks?
Usually, when I do it for the kids, I do it, I skin the salmon,
and I left the skin on, so that's not quite the way I'd have done it,
-but apart from that, yeah, I'm happy with it.
-Oh, what a gentleman!
OK, I'm going to go for the salmon.
-So, I'm going to be brutal.
-I'm going to be honest. Positive and negative.
The one predominant ingredient which is standing out to me,
and it stays there the whole time, is the sesame seeds.
Sesame seed is one of the most powerful ingredients in the kitchen.
-It does have a tendency to completely take over.
-I think the salmon's cooked really well.
-Like, for me, that's just how I like it.
It's not too dry, it's not falling apart.
It's holding itself together.
-But I get what you're saying about the...
-It's a strong, strong flavour.
-Thank you very much.
-Perfect. Well, well done.
-Thank you very much.
-Thank you very much.
I thought it went really well.
They liked the salmon, they liked the way the salmon was cooked.
-Do you want to try it?
-Yes, please, yeah.
Too many sesame seeds, but I can understand that.
That's lovely. I love the flavours in the rice.
Mmm. That's lovely.
With that list of ingredients, I was expecting really fresh flavours -
the coriander, the lime.
The whole thing just got a little bit lost
because of the overuse of the sesame seeds.
I hope I've done enough to stand out. Fingers crossed.
Time for Chris with his dish of king scallops
with black pudding and chorizo bonbons,
served with crispy pancetta and a hollandaise sauce.
-Welcome to the judges' chamber.
Thank you. It's a bit daunting.
Well, what you've got here, by just looking at it,
is a very classical flavour combination.
You know, this is something that I wouldn't think twice
about putting together.
The only curveball is replacing the pears for the apples.
-OK, well, let's have a little taste.
-Yeah, let's tuck in.
-It's a very healthy plate of food, isn't it?
There's definitely plenty of food on there.
-I could eat them all day long.
-Oh, they are so good!
-Yeah, that's a lovely plate of food.
-Oh, thanks very much.
When we do scallops and black pudding and apple,
-you would put a Granny Smith in there for a hint of acidity.
-But with the lemon hollandaise, it works.
I was quite impressed with your presentation skills as well...
-That's very kind.
-..because you did say that presentation wasn't your thing.
-It definitely isn't.
-But I thought it looked really nice on the plate,
which I should've said before I tucked in and made a mess.
It's very accomplished cooking. I congratulate you on it.
-Thank you very much indeed.
I think there were some very positive comments, so it's great to
get those from a Michelin-starred chef of his calibre.
Well, I don't know about you, but I thought that was absolutely tasty.
Very accomplished cooking.
-I'm quite excited about him, actually.
-Really, really nice.
I've seen the competition is very tough,
so I don't know about high hopes. I'll do the best I can, though.
And finally, it's Eva with her dish of the day -
minted rosemary lamb chops with a balsamic jus, Hasselback potatoes,
and a side of green beans and broccoli.
-It almost looks like a Sunday roast.
-I can't wait to get tucked in.
-That's the way I cook.
-Yeah. Warm, homely food, yeah.
I can't wait to try one of these potatoes.
-Ah, go on, after you.
-Looks so good.
-Mmm. The lamb's lovely.
I'm not a lamb chop kind of guy.
I prefer to do a rack of lamb,
because I'm always very nervous of lamb overcooking.
-Oh, yeah. Same.
-The lamb has to be served medium rare.
But, you know, you've really nailed it, cos that's perfect, isn't it?
And there's beautiful flavours coming through as well.
-The rosemary and the mint...
I like the way you've presented your broccoli as well.
Trimmed everything off. It looks lovely on the plate.
-Thank you very much.
-Really nice. A plate of food has to look good...
-..in order for you to want to eat it.
-And I think you've got that. It does look lovely.
I think it went really well. I'm really happy with their comments.
-So, overall, a really good plate of food?
I think without them seasonings,
-it would've been a very boring plate of food.
-Oh, so bland.
But she nailed it.
The competition is tough,
so I'm going to have to step up my game for the next round.
Honestly, hand on heart, I'm completely undecided.
The next challenge is not easy at all, and it will see
whether they've got the nerves to be able to cope with this.
With one person leaving the competition after the next round,
these three home cooks have just one more chance to prove to Aiden
that they're his perfect partner.
Now, before Aiden decides who will be going home,
he's set you a skills challenge.
-So, Aiden, it's over to you.
-Thank you very much.
One of the dying traits of our industry is skills with knives.
Without further ado...
What I want to see from you is whether your nerves
are strong enough to fillet this fish.
So the best thing to do is probably you guys come round this side
so you can see what angle I'm coming in at.
Come round. Come on.
There's the backbone, and what we're trying to do
is go on either side of that backbone.
So I'm peeling the flesh back as I'm doing it.
You see the way I'm peeling that back all the time?
-So I'm not going at it blind.
So again I'm peeling it back, using the tip of my knife.
And there we are. That's pretty much what we're looking for. OK.
So now the next bit is just follow the head around.
So, exactly the same on this side.
The bone that's inside the flesh is attaching itself to the ribcage,
so we've got to cut through that,
and then follow the ribcage and just peel it away.
And then the same with the other one.
So that's the guide. You almost want to see right through that.
Not too much flesh left on the carcass,
but also, at the same time, a really nice, plump fillet.
The next is taking the pin bones out.
Look at the direction the flesh is going - it's all going that way.
If I start pulling pin bones out this way,
I'm going to tear the flesh.
So I run my finger along there, where the ribcage was,
and there's usually about five or six bones.
Using my tweezers, just pull them out
in the direction that the flesh is going in.
OK, just going to give the fish a little rinse.
Pat it dry, and then we're going to cook it.
So we're listening for that sizzle, guys.
So, how long will it need to be in the pan for?
It'll probably take about three minutes.
-And you just keep it skin side down?
-Skin side down.
Right at the last minute, turn it over.
It's the crispy skin that you want to get.
When you think the fish is half-cooked,
that's when it's best to take it off,
cos then, obviously, it's going to continue to cook.
I always find sometimes if I've done,
like, a sea bass with a crispy skin,
-it goes all soggy.
-How can you stop that?
Just work faster.
THEY LAUGH OK!
So we'll turn it over now.
Nice crispy skin.
Put a knob of butter in.
Then again, right at the last minute...
some lemon juice, to just help with the freshness of it.
There you have it.
-A fillet of sea bream.
-That looks gorgeous.
-So are you all feeling confident?
Right, well, if you'd like to make your way to your stations,
Our cooks are against the clock.
They have just 15 minutes to transform
their fish into a perfectly cooked fillet.
-Oh, it's so quiet!
-The concentration is...
-Are you enjoying yourself?
-I am, actually.
Feel like I'm executing some kind of operation.
-Remember - don't leave any food for the cats.
First, the cooks must carefully slice through the flesh
without tearing it, and Fiona is feeling the pressure.
It's just something I've never tried to do before,
so it's just out of my comfort zone,
which is good, but more nerve-racking.
Whilst Aiden is looking for a cook with natural flair,
he also needs to know they'll follow his instructions to the letter
when it comes to the Friday final,
and this challenge is all about precise knife skills.
-How are you getting on?
-It's strangely therapeutic, I think.
-Are you happy so far?
-Yeah, fairly happy, yeah.
As Chris finishes filleting,
Fiona is racing ahead and is getting to grips with the fiddly task
of removing every pin bone.
When you set this challenge,
I felt a little bit... SHE GASPS
..cos two of them already had a knife accident this morning
-and nicked their fingers.
-And it's all about the knife.
-It is, yeah.
It's all about keeping the nerves under control.
When you do it, you make it look very easy and very simple,
but if you're under pressure and you're nervous,
that is not going to help.
Once you've cut into that flesh, you've cut into the flesh.
There's no bringing it back.
Aiden is watching for accuracy,
and the amount of fish left on the carcass is crucial.
-Yeah, I'm reasonably happy. Yeah, yeah.
I think I've probably left a little bit too much for the cat,
Cooks, you've had ten minutes, so there's just five minutes to go.
With time running out,
all three cooks have started to fry their fish.
Aiden's looking for perfectly crisp skin.
A sizzling pan is key.
Too cold and the fillet will end up with a soggy bottom.
And coming from a family of fish and chip shop owners,
Eva's feeling quietly confident.
Over the years, I have had a lot of practice in chip shops, yeah.
Watching my parents skin fish, it helps.
Just two minutes left, cooks. Two minutes to go.
Fiona is first to finish, but this challenge isn't about speed -
it's all about precision.
30 seconds to go.
Chris is carefully cooking his fish, and using every last second
to ensure his fillet meets Aiden's standards.
Ten, nine, eight,
seven, six, five, four,
three, two, one.
That's it. Step away from your fishes.
Your time is up.
It's the moment of truth.
One of our home cooks will be leaving the competition
at the end of this challenge,
and keeping their performance from round one in mind,
Aiden will be judging their fillets to firm up his decision.
OK, Aiden, so it's over to you to inspect.
I remember the first time I filleted fish,
and it didn't look as good as any of these,
-so I'd like to congratulate you all, first and foremost.
But three very different end results.
Chris, your fish is relatively empty.
But I think your fish should've spent more time in the pan.
-Especially on the skin side.
Eva, yours is by far the cleanest
and, you know, your fish is definitely cooked through.
It's certainly not overcooked. Nice caramelisation.
I think you've done a really good job.
Now I come across to you, Fiona.
It looks like you've really struggled filleting the fish.
-Yeah, it was the first time.
-As you can see, yours is quite jagged.
The fish has taken a bit of a battering.
But, you know, cooking-wise, I think you've done a good job.
Well done, all of you.
Now, if you'd like to go back to the waiting room,
Aiden can deliberate on who will be leaving the competition.
The home cooks have done all they can.
Now Aiden has to make up his mind.
-So they've all done OK.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Are you quite impressed?
Considering the challenge, 100%, yeah, yeah.
There's a really good one and there's a really bad one,
but the really bad one is probably better than I done
when I first filleted a fish, so it's not that bad.
I think it went pretty well.
The pressure of having a Michelin-star chef
watching everything that you're doing is crazy.
It wasn't great, but it wasn't an absolute disaster.
I did get it cooked with a crispy skin,
so I'm hoping it was good enough.
It wasn't my best dish.
I was disappointed that the skin wasn't crispy at all.
I think I'll be quite lucky to get through.
So, thinking about the first challenge and the fish,
is there someone that quite clearly in your mind is going to go home?
Yeah. From what I've seen so far, I most definitely have.
-Oh, most definitely.
-Most definitely have, yes.
-OK. All right. Well, let's go break them the news.
Only two can be taken through to the next round.
For one of our home cooks, it's time to leave the competition.
So, cooks, you've completed two challenges for Aiden
and he's seen what you're capable of,
but, as you know, only one of you can be his partner
in this week's Friday final.
So sadly we have to say goodbye to one of you now.
Aiden has made up his mind, so it's over to you, Aiden.
So as you're aware, Friday is all about surprises.
It's all about working calmly, keeping your nerves
and being able to deliver a product that's been put in front of you
which you've never seen before.
So based on all that information,
the person that I'm unfortunately going to send home...
-I'm terribly sorry, but thank you very much.
Well done, Fiona.
Oh, well, gutted not to go through to the next round,
but it was really, really strong competition.
Ready to cook again are civil servant Chris...
Bit of a surprise, but absolutely delighted
to get through to the next round.
..and full-time mum Eva.
Quite proud of myself, actually.
I'm really excited to see what Aiden's got in store
for us for the next round.
So it's time now for our third and final challenge.
Our home cooks have been given all the ingredients
to one of Aiden's dishes.
They'll have just one hour to identify what everything is
and create their own dish.
Aiden's chosen monkfish tail and pancetta,
a globe artichoke and chestnut mushrooms,
shallots, garlic and thyme,
chicken stock, and a glass of red wine.
Easy enough for an award-winning chef,
but what will our home cooks think?
So this is the last chance for our home cooks to really impress Aiden.
Any final tips?
Just take a long hard look at what you've got, guys,
the ingredients in front of you.
If there's something that you find is going to be quite challenging,
then go for it - don't leave it out.
But good luck, enjoy yourselves,
and, you know, just cook some really good food.
Right, cooks. Good luck.
Reveal your ingredients, because your time starts now.
I'm not even sure what fish this is.
I don't know.
I'm quite happy that I sort of recognise the things that are here.
So this is the monkfish tail, red wine, mushrooms, pancetta, shallots,
garlic, butter, thyme and parsley, so the ingredients are fine.
It's just what do I need to do with them within an hour
to make something fantastic?
-How are we feeling?
Erm, quite nervous, actually, cos I've never cooked monkfish.
I didn't even know it was monkfish
until I heard Chris saying what it was.
But it might not be monkfish.
-He seemed quite clued up on his fish.
-Ah, right, OK, OK.
-Have you identified the rest of the ingredients?
Mushrooms here, artichoke, and obviously shallots.
Have you ever cooked artichokes before?
-We don't cook them, actually, in Cyprus - we eat them raw.
-With just salt and lemon on them, so...
Have you got an idea of what you're going to put on the plate,
or are you still mulling it over?
I do have a little idea, yeah. I'm not too sure yet.
-Well, good luck. We'll leave you be.
Chris, how are we getting on?
-Well, I think it's monkfish.
It's got one big bone down the back,
which is what I think monkfish has got,
so there's hopefully no other bones in it.
I've taken off some fillets... and that's about as far as I've got.
-Have you cooked artichokes before?
No, I've not. I know roughly what to do with them.
-But we'll see how we get on with that.
How are your nerves?
-I've nothing to lose at this point in time, so I feel OK.
Well, you might be getting sent home.
Yes, I might be getting sent home.
Hopefully not, but I'll do my best.
With less than an hour on the clock,
both cooks don't waste any time getting stuck in.
They've successfully identified all the ingredients,
but with only one place up for grabs in Friday's final,
they're keeping their menu to themselves.
-How are you getting on, Eva?
-I think I'm doing OK. And yourself?
Well, I know what the ingredients are, which is always a start.
Deciding what to do with them next,
which is a bit of a challenge, to be honest with you.
-I have been struggling with that.
-I'm getting there.
I'm assembling something which hopefully will look like
food on a plate at the end of it.
What's Chris done with his artichoke?
He's peeled it, he's taken all the leaves from the outside.
In fairness, he's doing the right thing.
It's just how he cooks it now.
You really need to know what you're doing with it,
otherwise it'll be an absolute disaster
cos it's really, really bitter.
-When Eva said that she eats it raw, I was just like, "Eurgh!"
-I couldn't think of anything worse!
-I've never heard of that.
-No, me neither.
-Raw with lemon.
Won't be putting globe artichoke in front of Mr Koffmann raw -
-put it that way!
-With a squish of lemon.
Cooks, you've got half an hour left, so you're halfway through.
-Does that fill you with dread?
How are you getting on?
It's coming to me a little bit as I go ahead, go along with it.
-It's coming to me.
-Are you going to cook it?
Yeah, I'm actually going to cook it. I've just decided so.
And what have you done with your fish?
I haven't done anything with it yet.
-I'm going to leave that till...
-The last minute?
-But you still don't know what you'll do with it?
-I do have an idea.
I'm going to pan fry it and then pop it in the oven for the remainder.
OK. I'll get out of your hair.
Aiden's looking for a cook with a natural flair
and creativity in the kitchen.
But with both Eva and Chris using the same ingredients,
it might all come down to who can capitalise on flavour.
The biggest challenge with this dish
is making sure I don't overcook the fish.
I've never cooked it before,
but I'll have to keep my eye on it as well.
So, I see you've made your fish into smaller fillets.
-I think it might make it easier to cook.
That's my thinking. I'll have to use the chicken stock
and I'll maybe add some red wine to it as well.
And then just sort of saute them in that with some thyme as well.
-Oh, gosh. It's so hard, isn't it?
Right, cooks, you have just 15 minutes left.
15 minutes to go.
Definitely feeling the pressure now.
Eva knows this is her last chance to impress Aiden,
and faced with some unfamiliar ingredients,
she decides to experiment.
-What are you doing here?
-I've made a kind of, like, dip.
-So, where is the artichoke?
-It's in there.
Sorry, let me just get my head around this.
-So you peeled the artichoke?
-And I've boiled it to soften it.
-And then I've added some garlic and parsley.
And what are you going to do with that?
It's just going to be with the fish as some sort of flavour.
I'm going to try it now. Haven't done it before.
That's what this is all about - taking you out of your comfort zone.
Yeah. You certainly have taken me out of my comfort zone.
Eva's inventiveness with the artichoke
has certainly caught Aiden's attention,
but will her dip be worthy of a place in Friday's final?
Meanwhile, a previously confident Chris is starting to question
if his monkfish is cooked.
How are you getting on?
It's difficult because it's as thick as it is.
I'm just not sure exactly how it's getting on
in terms of cooking times.
I think what I'll do is just give it a couple of minutes in the oven.
Yeah, yeah. Good shout, yeah.
-That looks like a rich jus you've got going on.
-Yeah, it is.
-For the mushrooms.
-Wow, look at that.
We shall see how this all pans out.
Cooks, you only have four minutes left, just four minutes to go.
Really, you need to start thinking about plating up.
In the final moments of the competition,
our home cooks must turn their attention to presentation.
That looks lovely.
What are your presentation skills like at home?
-Do you present food?
-Yeah, I always do.
When I'm at home, cos I've got four kids,
-I literally just slop it on the plate.
-Yeah, I can imagine!
But Chris appears to be in no hurry to serve up and is using
every last second to make sure his fish is cooked to perfection.
Tried it and it actually tastes quite nice
which is a bit of a surprise,
but at the same time, a very happy surprise.
Cooks, you only have one minute left, just one minute to go.
-Are you going to make it, Chris?
It's literally seconds to go.
Ten, nine, eight,
seven, six, five, four,
three, two, one.
That's it. Stop cooking. Step away from your plates.
You really have done all you can.
It's now time to taste.
First up, it's Chris with his pan-fried monkfish and pancetta,
served with a side of artichoke and a mushroom and red wine sauce.
So, how do you feel after the challenge?
It was a challenge, that has to be said.
I knew what the ingredients were, I was quite comfortable with that,
so I knew pretty much what to do with them,
except the artichokes, which I hadn't cooked before.
It looks extremely flavoursome.
Oh, that's very kind of you. I thought it looks like a fright!
It looks messy - there's no disputing that.
-But the proof is in the pudding.
-Yes, it sure is.
-Let's have a little taste.
-Let's have a taste.
The one thing I am extremely intrigued about is the artichokes.
And they're definitely cooked.
You can taste the thyme. You can taste the garlic.
The monkfish isn't overcooked at all.
Honestly, if I had my eyes closed, it would be a perfect plate of food.
-That's very kind of you.
-It's got some lovely flavours.
-Powerful flavours there.
-And you've done them justice.
-Thank you very much. Well done.
-Thank you, both.
-How did that go?
It looks a bit of a fright, but they thought it tasted OK,
as long as they had their eyes shut.
I thought they were fair, in terms of the presentation being poor,
but they said there were strong flavours,
which is what I enjoy in cooking, to be honest.
The artichokes were cooked. And they were lovely.
And I love the fact he did use everything, which is brilliant.
I think I've done as well as I possibly could
with what I have got in the time I've got.
-That's really nice. Well done.
-Thank you. Surprisingly good.
Next into the tasting room is Eva.
She's made pan-fried monkfish with a shallot and mushroom jus
served with an artichoke dip.
-Hi. Are you glad that's over?
The ingredients really did shock me
cos I didn't even know what monkfish looked like.
I've never cooked an artichoke before,
so I did just make up my own thing with that.
-Are you happy with it?
-I'm happy with the way it looks.
-I think the fish...
Well, I'm hoping the fish is cooked nicely.
-The proof is in the pudding.
-Go for it.
Oh, we will!
-Definitely got a kick to it, hasn't it?
-It is like a pesto, really, isn't it?
And some of the mushrooms and shallots with a piece of the fish...
-The fish is slightly undercooked.
It is undercooked, so that will go against you, unfortunately.
Yeah, I understand that.
How did you cook the fish?
-I actually pan-fried it and then put it in the oven.
How long did you put it in the oven for?
Not long enough. Obviously!
-Probably could have done with another couple of minutes.
There is a huge positive,
is I've never seen an artichoke paste before.
There's lots of different ways to cook artichokes.
I've never seen it done like that before.
Considering you were given an ingredient
which you've never cooked before
and you came up with that, then credit where it's due.
And credit to you both, because the stark look on your faces
when you pulled cloth back...
-But what you've produced is a credit to you.
How did you get on?
My monkfish was undercooked.
Never cooked an artichoke before.
-I did what I could.
-Yeah, go for it.
The fact that she undercooked the fish...
Obviously, she'd never seen a monkfish before,
she didn't know how much it needed cooking,
but it was a well-presented dish and there was a component on there
-that I'd never seen before.
-Fair play to her.
-I like that. I like that a lot.
Thank you very much.
So, have you seen enough to make a decision
on who you're going to take through to the Friday final?
I have seen enough, but I'm still yet to make a decision.
Hold that thought because now we are going to see
-what you would do with those ingredients.
So, this is the bit where you two get to sit back and relax
and we get to see what Aiden makes with those ingredients.
So, it's over to you, Aiden.
So, first and foremost, we're going to prepare the monkfish
because we're going to use the carcass of the monkfish
to help us make the sauce.
Peel that straight back.
Comes off ever so easy.
Not really much prep to do on a monkfish.
And then we'll start caramelising at the bones.
Then we'll get onto the artichoke.
We want to try and keep as much of the artichoke heart in place.
So you try to take off too many of these leaves at once,
it takes a big chunk of the heart away with you,
so you don't want to do that.
-There's not a lot left.
-There's not a lot left, no.
Then we've got to take all that green off
which isn't pleasant to eat.
-There's a lot of effort for something that's so small.
-I mean, I know it's tasty...
-It's my favourite vegetable of all.
-Yeah. That's the heart, and that's the choke.
Take the choke out, just spoon it out.
I'm going to roast these from raw.
Going to put the lid on, and they will roast really, really gently.
Right, this is going to help us make the sauce, which is quite important.
Jut going to put all these flavours in here.
Right, now I'm going to put them in with the artichokes.
It's all about getting as much flavour in here
as you physically can.
Right, now a little bit of garlic.
In with the red wine.
Now onto the mushrooms. Pretty much bite-size.
Everything's going in there, on top of the garnish.
I don't need that any more.
Now we're just going to put a knob of butter in there
and just let that do what it needs to do.
So now we've got some heat in the pan, put the bigger piece in first.
-There's not a lot of ingredients there.
What you've made is...
If Mr Koffmann gave me these ingredients,
we would win hands down.
-That is his cup of tea.
But the likelihood is he's going to give you a pineapple and a prawn.
Put the fish in.
Put the fish in, give it a good stir around.
Probably going to give it
about a minute and a half on the stove there.
Do you two think you'll attempt this dish at home?
-It's too good not to.
-It is, isn't it?
Right, so, I think the fish is probably cooked enough.
Let this rest for a minute.
A couple of knobs of butter in there,
and that butter is going to give us that lovely glaze. Stir it in.
And then in with the raw thyme,
and we're pretty much good to go with that.
So, I'm just going to cut it into nuggets.
-That looks perfect.
-I know, it does.
Quite simply, with the garnish.
Then the sauce.
And that's it. There we go.
It's almost like monkfish bourguignon with globe artichokes.
-Now you get to taste.
What do you think of the presentation, Chris?
Just slightly better than mine, yeah.
Right, tuck in. Go on.
-It's so rich, the sauce.
-Thank you so much, Aiden.
You're an absolute star.
Now, before you tell us who you're taking through to the Friday final,
let's have a quick recap of what our cooks made earlier.
In the first round, Chris wowed Aiden with his flavours.
His filleted fish was slightly undercooked in the second.
But he pushed himself out of his comfort zone
with a mouthwatering monkfish stew in the final round.
I think Aiden's a great chef,
so I'd be delighted to work with him on Friday.
Meanwhile, Eva impressed with her minted lamb in the first round,
produced a perfectly filleted fish
that secured her place in the competition,
but was her artichoke dip enough to win her a place in Friday's final?
I hope I've done enough.
Fingers crossed, yeah.
Congratulations to you both.
You've been absolutely amazing today.
But it is time for Aiden to declare his winner
and who will be his partner in the Friday final.
The challenge that I set you, it wasn't easy.
It was very, very difficult. I obviously done that on purpose.
I needed to see you guys out of your comfort zone.
Based on the results,
bearing in mind the challenge that's in front of us on Friday,
the person that I'm going to choose...
-Thank you very much.
I feel absolutely amazing, fantastic.
I'm absolutely delighted.
Chris was the deserved winner, and I hope he does really well on Friday.
So, Friday, any last tips for your partner?
The main thing we need to work on,
-I think you'll agree, is presentation.
Cos we are trying to impress a three-star-Michelin chef.
And we're going to win!
Chris cooks from his heart. You can tell that he loves it.
I definitely think I've made the right choice.
It's hard to believe that I've actually been picked
to go through to the final. I'm so thrilled.
It really is fantastic. Can't wait for Friday.
Tomorrow on Yes Chef...
Three more home cooks go all out to impress top chef Stephen Terry.
Anyone nearly finished, like me?
It's the chance for them to work alongside the best in the business.
But only one can become their partner in the Friday final.
Top chef Aiden Byrne has his eye on the prize as he puts three home cooks through a series of culinary challenges, including how to perfectly fillet a fish. Aiden will be judged by three-Michelin-starred chef Pierre Koffmann in the Friday final, so his professional pride is at stake, but which home cook will he choose?