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Watch: ‘Masterchef: The Professionals’ Is Back

The chef joins Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace in searching for the next new country house hotel talent

Masterchef: The Professionals 2018 judges Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti, and Gregg Wallace on the BBC Two television series BBC/Shine TV Ltd

Spoilers ahead for Masterchef: The Professionals 2018

Masterchef: The Professionals is back. The BBC Two cooking competition, now in its eleventh season, sees contestants — all of them professional chefs — showing off their culinary prowess in the hope of impressing recent Michelin star demotee Marcus Wareing, celebrated chef and owner of Mère Monica Galetti, and once-upon-a-time greengrocer and husband Gregg Wallace. The highlight of the early rounds are the skills tests, where the two chefs set — relatively — elementary tasks primed to antagonise nervous chefs with shaky hands.

Eater will be casting an eye over each episode, picking out the key moments, the best lines, and the winners and losers. Expect GIFs.


Masterchef: The Professionals — Episode 1

Monica Galetti skills test: Squid tempura, saffron and roasted garlic aioli

Contestants:
Archie | Oldham | Two AA Rosette gastropub
Darren | Lincoln | Family-run bistro
Jess | Wales | Boutique hotel

1:52: Monica is adding black curry powder to her tempura batter. Trend-aware; Insta-ready; not very Masterchef at all.

4:00: Monica plates her dish on a wood board — not the “looks like a board” kind, but the “I just chopped this off a hardy spruce” kind. Trend-aware assessment: retracted.

5:11: First contestant Archie continues the time-honoured tradition of mentioning only Monica and Marcus in his intro, disregarding Greg(g) entirely.

6:36: Archie fails to hydrate his saffron for optimal flavour and colour absorption, earning the first Skills Test Side-Eye of 2018 from Monica. Across the series, expect triple figures: while Monica and Marcus often lean into bemusement or eye rolls, Gregg prefers the gurn first, ask questions later approach.

Monica Galetti on Masterchef: The Professionals 2018
Withering
BBC/Shine Ltd

6:51: Marcus Wareing briefly remembers when he had 2 (two) Michelin stars, rather than 1 (one.)

Marcus Wareing on Masterchef: The Professionals 2018
Two become one
BBC/Shine Ltd

07:45: Archie should have washed his squid, and delivered that more vibrant saffron colour that Monica so laceratingly side-eyed. A few minor errors, but “not a bad dish,” according to Marcus. Too-thin tempura is his ultimate downfall.

11:03: Darren adds his black curry powder to his mayonnaise, creating a fetchingly Gothic black sludge. His mayonnaise is plated with a Vintage Masterchef Swoosh. The squid is not clean; the rings are anaemic; the mayonnaise is still black. Nonetheless, Marcus sees skill behind his eyes.

13:45: Jess forgets to clean the inside of her squid, and also fails to take the skin off. Masterchef pressure has done this to many a contestant; some, of course, don’t see it that way:

Your [sic] welcome, @markmur29395263

14:29: Jess is the only chef to put the black curry powder in the batter, but it’s bad. All three judges are concerned about the squid cleaning, and are reluctant to taste. Nerves have done it.

Marcus Wareing Skills Test: Cauliflower steak, cauliflower garnish, nut butter

Contestants:
Andre | Darlington | “Fine dining” hotel restaurant
Callum | Jersey | Michelin-starred restaurant
Michelle | London | Contract catering chef

18:37: Former greengrocer Gregg announces, with some surprise, that Marcus is treating the cauliflower the same way as a steak or chop. Former. Marcus also discards at least 60% of the cauliflower, because it’s “on the coarse side.” Dan Barber winces.

19:02: Gregg: “So, nut butter has no butter in it all.” “No,” says Marcus, smiling, behind the smile an irresistible urge to sheen Gregg’s bald head with melted, real butter before roasting it to oblivion. Breathe, Marcus.

24:21: Low on the side-eye here, so straight to the judgment: it’s a “tasty plate,” says Gregg; Monica is disappointed by Andre’s “rushing”; Marcus wants a bigger steak... But it’s a “good start.”

25:48: Callum says that this is “a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity” with all the enthusiasm of a Masterchef: The Professionals guest critic sitting down to a chocolate fondant.

26:13: Callum: “I’m not afraid of vegetables.”

27:10: Callum: “Originally I didn’t like Paris, because when I went as a kid, I always found it smelled.”

Monica Galetti on Masterchef: The Professionals 2018
?!
BBC/Shine Ltd

28:02: Callum’s nut butter is nuts in butter. Marcus’ nut butter is sentient and has a Twitter account.

28:10: It’s a good start for Callum. The nut butter is a failure. Everything else is good.

31:53: Another lack of side-eye for Michelle’s skills test. The emphasis on butter means the steak and florets are a little too similar; pickle provides welcome contrast. Per Monica: “it’s not a bad start.”


Signature Dish Round

35:55: Marcus is concerned about Archie’s rabbit going dry. Monica is concerned about Archie’s rabbit going dry. Don’t let the rabbit go dry, Archie!

37:10: Jess is inspired by Wales. According to the editing suite, only the beef is Welsh.

38:09: Darren is serving orange whiskey butter sauce. “Orange whiskey butter sauce,” says Marcus. The fear: it’s palpable.

39:42: Callum: “My head chef kinda said to me, “What’s your favourite ingredient, Callum?” And I said... Artichokes.”


Archie: Poached and roast rabbit loin, beans, broad beans, asparagus, truffle, morels
Masterchef: The Professionals Cliché Score: 6.5/10
Verdict: Great potential, sadly wasted. Monica is “just disappointed.”

Darren: Sous vide salmon, pickled vegetables, orange gel, fondant potato, orange whiskey butter sauce
MTPCS: 7/10
Verdict: Monica is confused by a surfeit of pickling, while Gregg and Marcus are unimpressed by... Most of it.

Jess: Wagyu steak, confit shallots, horseradish, pink fir potato fondant, madeira jus
MTPCS: 6.5/10
Verdict: The wagyu is cooked wonderfully, but Monica finds the sauce “wishy-washy.” Marcus feels “short-changed.”

Andre: Barbecue pork loin, corn purée, onion purée, black pudding croquette, charred shallots, charred corn, pork jus
MTPCS: 7/10
Verdict: The winner of the round: well-cooked pork, charry flavours, “a fun plate of food.”

Callum: Aged lamb, artichokes barigoule, artichoke purée, baby artichokes, ramsons
MTPCS: 7/10
Verdict:

The garnishes were excellent, though.

Michelle: Roast chicken breast, morels, wild garlic emulsion, nettles, pea and pancetta croquette, onion purée, crispy chicken skin
MTPCS: 6/10
Verdict: Slightly “out-of-balance,” but Gregg loves the “sweetness that is coming out of the sweet vegetables.”


ELIMINATION

Andre | Darlington | “Fine dining” hotel restaurant
Callum | Jersey | Michelin-starred restaurant
Michelle | London | Contract catering chef

Archie | Oldham | Two AA Rosette gastropub
Darren | Lincoln | Family-run bistro
Jess | Wales | Boutique hotel


Masterchef: The Professionals — Episode 2

Monica Galetti skills test: Gurnard, tomato and pepper sauce

Contestants:
Luke | Hampshire | Two AA Rosette hotel
Marika | Manchester | Bar and grill
Ross | Manchester | Hotel restaurant

02:27: Monica neatly sieves tomato seeds to get all of the juice out. Zero-waste points ahoy.

7:30 Marcus is confused by a chef loving a skills test. Luke’s enthusiasm does not sit well, for Marcus remembers the tough days. The good old days.

08:35: Luke has, by all accounts, it must be said, smashed it.

10:23: Marika suffers the first flesh wound of the series.

12:11: Marika is done with the test, and Monica might be done too...

Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti, and Gregg Wallace on Masterchef: The Professionals 2018
Done.
BBC/Shine Ltd

Nonetheless, the fish is cooked well, but the garnish is not a true sauce.

14:46: Ross is 31 (thirty-one.)

Masterchef: The Professionals 2018 contestant Ross
Thirty. One.
BBC/Shine Ltd

14:52: Monica’s patented eyebrow-raise is in full effect during Ross’ filleting. His description of his cooking style, focussing on a Unique Selling Point (USP) leaves Marcus unimpressed; somewhat perturbed.

16:52: Poor fish prep and another sauce far too strong with chilli makes it a fairly weak showing all round.

Marcus Wareing Skills Test: Hanger steak and chimichurri

Contestants:
Alex | Surrey | Michelin-starred restaurant
Matt | Glasgow | Hotel
Josh | Cornwall | ‘Seaside restaurant’

19:40: Marcus is cooking his steak in not one, but two pans, for the sake of expedience. Two stars, two pans. One star, two pans.

20:12: The flatbread component is pre-made! Scandal.

24:26: Alex doesn’t even stretch to grilling his bread, but Marcus eyes glaze over at his preparation of the steak. Chimichurri lacks the garlic, chilli, herbs, and vinegar, but he’s done okay.

27:40: Matt adds butter — a lot of butter — to his chimichurri. Marcus is unimpressed, somewhat perturbed, again. USP is his USP.

29:17: Matt’s butter sauce is obviously not chimichurri; Marcus tells him: “if you’d packed more herbs into it, garlic, chilli, oil, vinegar, touch of lemon, you’d have been half way there.” That is to say: if Matt had made chimichurri, correctly, he’d have been half way there. Hindsight, oh hindsight!

30:58: Josh on onglet: “where’s the nice part?”

31:40: Josh on cooking: “I thought I was good”

32:00: Josh on chefs repeatedly asking questions during a skills test:

33:01: Out of chaos, beauty: Josh’s attempt is the best of the three, despite being conducted with all the naïve fervour of a student restaurant website’s reporting.


Signature Dish Round

36:45: Marcus is concerned about Marika’s coffee burning. When coffee burns, it is bitter, and does not taste nice. Correct, Marcus. Correct. Monica, meanwhile, rolls back over the old venison-and-chocolate-work-but-if-it’s-too-sweet-it’s-a-dessert-don’t-make-it-sweet.

37:10: Luke is using words familiar to this decade: corn with miso, bone marrow gremolata. A rare, welcome thing. There’s honestly not much to say about the rest of the interludes.


Marika: Coffee-seared venison, pommes anna, orange carrots, carrot purée, stout and chocolate sauce
Masterchef: The Professionals Cliché Score: 7.5/10
Verdict: Cooking of the venison is right on, but everything else is a write off. Mixed, very mixed. Gregg is a fan, but the chefs are unlikely to care.

Darren: Baked halibut, butter-poached scallops, greens, parmentier potatoes, squid ink tuile, lobster coral sauce
MTPCS: 7/10
Verdict: “It’s nice.” Dagger to the heart.

Luke: Pan-fried beef, coriander salsa, miso corn, charred corn, glazed bone marrow, crispy onions, miso and rice wine jus
MTPCS: 4/10
Verdict: Marcus is mightily impressed overall, but finds the sweetness distracting. Gregg: “the bone marrow just felt ODD.”

Masterchef The Professionals 2018 judge Gregg Wallace
Odd
BBC/Shine Ltd


Josh: Roast lamb rump, ravioli, broad beans, asparagus, salsa verde
MTPCS: 6.5/10
Verdict: It looks like two dishes. It eats like two dishes. It tastes like two dishes. It is two dishes.

Ross: Roast quail, stuffed with legs, roasted celeriac, pickled celeriac, truffle-honey-celeriac purée, roasted grapes
MTPCS: 6.5/10
Verdict: Ross’ waldorf salad-inspired dish does not taste of waldorf salad.

Alex: Pigeon, pigeon and duck crispy cigar, hazelnut crumb, celeriac remoulade, celeriac purée, pigeon and date sauce
MTPCS: 7.5/10
Verdict: “beautifully-cooked pigeon ... sauce is like silk ... this dish tells me that we’ve got a very very good chef standing right here.” Marcus is in love. So is Gregg, with his usual over-excited use of the words “sweet”, “big,” and “crunchy.”


ELIMINATION

Luke | Hampshire | Two AA Rosette hotel
Alex | Surrey | Michelin-starred restaurant
Marika | Manchester | Bar and grill

Ross | Manchester | Hotel restaurant
Matt | Glasgow | Hotel
Josh | Cornwall | ‘Seaside restaurant’

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