Masterchef: The Professionals 2015

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, where TV wannabes are turned into social media cannon fodder, whether it be X-Factor, I’m a Celebrity or Masterchef: The Professionals.

2Michelin star chef Marcus Wareing returns for a second season with Monica Galetti and the culinary equivalent of the Churchill dog, Gregg Wallace.The PR machine has been in full effect, with each of the judges making attention seeking comments to media to stir interest in the aging format:

  • Galetti – “women have to decide how much they want their career v having a family
  • Wareing – “No matter who walked through our door – no matter what food critic or client – the chef was king. Back in those days, in the Nineties and Noughties, a manager was just a punch bag for a chef to work out on.”He sounds borderline disappointed that modern kitchens have put paid to all that. Source: The Daily Telegraph.
The Show – Masterchef: The Professionals 2015

One of the opening lines from the show proclaim:

Tonight, they [the contestants] face two challenges by judge, Gregg Wallace, & two of Britain’s best chefs.

And already the credibility of Masterchef: The Professions is starting to slide. Whilst Wareing may have had his fingers in many pies in the past 18months:

  • Consultant for the Burnt feature film,
  • Opening Tredwells, a mid price restaurant in Seven Dials, London
  • Closing, refurbishing & re-opening his 2Michelin star flagship outlet at The Berkeley
  • Finishing his fifth book

the consistency at his restaurants seems as steady as ever. The problem comes with Galetti & Wallace, the former left the safety of her part-time senior sous position at Le Gavroche after a 12 year tenure to open her own restaurant, saying at the time:

It’s still very early days and too soon to talk about. It’s exciting. I’m absolutely terrified, but it’s a great opportunity.

That was March, and Galetti is still yet to actually make the grade as a Head chef, let alone in her own right.

As for Wallace, it is well documented that he’s an oaf. I’ve met him, and wasn’t really surprised at the lack food knowledge, with him describing espuma in a menu briefing as:

Is that like phlegm chef?

Wareing’s skills test

Omelette Arnold Bennett, it’s a classic from the ‘Répertoire de la cuisine’, a book which use to form the basis of culinary education up and down the land. Then the system was reformed in to the NVQ verification and the classics went out of the window, and it showed with this generation of chefs. Whilst Wareing did a demonstration of what he was looking for, and FYI Marcus – Hollandaise sauce with whipped cream folded in is Sauce Mousseline not Hollandaise, it really threw some of the contestants.

Had Wareing asked for a Scotch egg of Bulls testicles with a cauliflower purée, then I’m pretty sure he’d have ended up with with six variants on a theme. All it really illustrated was how poor the current chef education system is, with a lack on consistency & foundations.

Galetti skills test

Galetti opted for a pastry challenge, Brandy snaps with summer berries. I’ll say it, as it has already probably been said on social media – ‘I would not give that to Michel’. Due to her choice of sugar, Galetti’s examples came out very dark, almost burnt in colour. Again, whilst this dish would have been a staple in the City & Guilds 706 education, it flummoxed some of the participants. As brandy snaps have become passé in pastry decoration, only a chef who will have really invested in his culinary education, would have the depth on knowledge how to proceed.

Signature dishes

Like its BBC stable mate, Great British Menu, the use of waterbaths & appearance of purée skidmarks were present. Sadly this was costly for the Chef de Partie from Worcester who proceed to strip all the fat from his lamb, waterbath cook it, then give it a second cooking in a pan of foaming butter. It showed a complete lack of understanding of the sous-vide method.

The use of the phrase ‘signature dishes’ is so dated that I’d expect steak Diane to be flambéed at the judging podium. There are so few chefs who actually have ‘signature dishes’ with which they’re synonymous; Ramsay’s Lobster ravioli, Ferran Adria’s Melon caviar, Heston Blumenthal’s Snail porridge etc. Chefs who haven’t actually achieved an awful lot aren’t likely to to come up with a classic which will stand the test of time, let alone become a distinction on the culinary landscape.


Tim’s fish in the banana leaf pulled on his own heritage, it looked a decent plate of food which divided opinion. Galetti & Wareing generously approved, whilst Wallace may have had a valid point about the salsa and a cream textured sauce combining on his palate. Does this finally mean that the former Greengrocer has a grown a set & decided not to try and pander to the chefs?

Yes, we’ll have to endure more of the attention seeking wannabes who want to use the BBC as a platform to launch their media careers, and I may actually watch on iPlayer, cringing at seeing at how far the culinary education has fallen.

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