26.02.2019

Mastering MasterChef - Game on

It was ‘Game On’ in the first quarter-final of the series, as the task involved cooking a piece of game. Known as the Critic's Test, this one was particularly tough. The amateur cooks were put through the mill with a seriously daunting test set by critic William Sitwell. His challenge was for them to make an exceptional dish using game. William said that he wanted to be surprised, he wanted to see how they used spices or could cook Venison in a different way.  

The good news for the six competitors was that they had been given the challenge brief before returning to cook their game in the Masterchef kitchen. To have time to do homework was very important to both Annabel and Yui as they had never cooked game before. In fact, Yui mentioned that she didn’t know what it was. Annabel had spent her time doing research by watching a lot of videos on You Tube to help her understand how to cook game.

As William had mentioned early on, with some meats such as chicken, beef, lamb etc. you can effectively pop them into the oven to roast and the meat itself does most of the cooking for you. However, that is not the case with game. With game you have to keep a constant eye on how well it is doing. One of the big dangers is that you cook it too long and it just becomes tough to eat. Tough meat is not a pleasant experience for any diner.

All six winners of the heats had no time to rest as they continued to fight for their place in the competition. A lot was at stake. Out of the six, three would go forward to ‘Knock-Out Week’ and three would be knocked out there and then and sent home.

They had 90 minutes to cook one amazing dish. It seems like a long time but I can tell you from my experience of being a contestant, the time whizzes past. It feels like seconds rather than minutes.

Once their cooking time had ended, the contestants stood before William Sitwell and judges, John and Gregg to hear their feedback and find out what they thought of the dish and whether they had managed to rise to the challenge and meet expectations.

Despite never having cooked game before, Annabel did an amazing job so much so that William said “your dish provides an epic example of why game should be on all menus” – wow high praise indeed. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out well for Yui (who also had never cooked game previously). Her Venison did end up being tough.

None of the contestants really made any major mistakes. Some of the meat was tougher than it should have been, some of the contestants had too many elements on their plates but other than that the food that was presented had been well thought out. And the presentation from each competitor is improving. I cannot wait for the next episode.

For the three that made it through to the next round, namely Annabel, Irini and Tim, it really is now, game on!




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