MasterChef – Nigella week starts

Nigella Lawson Week starts tonight.
Contestants have 75 minutes to create a delicious dish based on Nigella’s divine indulgences. The top three will have a chance at immunity while the bottom three face elimination.

Matt Preston says this week’s guest is a food hero of his and when he says her name the contestants go berserk. They seem more excited than for MPW (perhaps the producers promised those who cheered hardest they could escape the MC for a caffeine fix).
“I want flavours that are bold but not tricksy; I want food that is made to give pleasure, not to impress …I just want to be made happy when I eat your food. And I’m wearing something stretchy – I can eat a lot.”
She’s in the figure-hugging jersey dress we’ve seen in the flogged-to-death ads but next to the other judges she looks so pale skinned and much younger than her 56 years.

What’s in Nigella’s box?

Yum – lots of great flavours there that automatically go together. Anything with feta and pancetta is a winner is a must eat for me.

After no air time since a strong showing in the first week, Mimi makes a reappearance. She’s doing a layer-style cake of pumpkin sponge with cumin ice cream. With only 60 minutes to bake a cake and cool it enough to fill it with ice cream, is the reason we’re seeing Mimi purely because she’s heading for a fall?
Zoe is also doing a pumpkin-based dessert – a mille feuille filled with pumpkin, cumin and chestnut filling. Wow, it’s going to be really tough to do puff pastry in that time.
Here’s Heather the jus queen (wearing a headband so we can tell her apart from the other pony tail wearers) and she’s doing a pumpkin filo stack. Is anyone NOT using pumpkin? Nigella tells her you should be able to read the newspaper through super-thin filo pastry.
Finally, someone who is at least using the chicken. Jimmy is doing cumin and ginger chicken with pumpkin and chestnut puree. He is going to “hero” the ginger.
Oh my god – Elena speaks!! She’s doing pumpkin parfait, pancetta crumb and cumin tuille. She’s a high school visual arts teacher who wants to inspire young people to grow their own produce. This is a lot of air time on Elena. Is she the winner?
Nigella and Matt pop over to tell Zoe she’s mad for trying rough puff in 60 minutes.
Dessert enthusiast and golfr Charlie is doing savoury: crispy chicken with cumin and pumpkin puree with a pancetta and chesnut crumb. He wants to take the pumpkin “really far” – is this MC speak for burnt?
But what are Karmen, Harry, Intense Matt and Theresa cooking? Anastasia? Chloe? Ranger Miles? Trent? Airline captain? The judges come over AGAIN to hassle Zoe about her pastry.
Elena – after asking Karmen for some quick advice on praline – is happy with her tuille. Zoe takes her pastry out of the oven and it’s a flop.
It’s plating up time and Mimi’s cake is boiling hot so she can’t put the ice cream in it. Just put it in a side dish, Mimi!
The challenge is over – did no-one use the pipis? Surely someone made ravioli? Did Con do pumpkin panna cotta?

The tasting
The judges pick five dishes to taste.
Heather’s filo pumpkin stack: Nigella loves the textures and flavours: “This is something that creates joy.”
Jimmy’s chicken with ginger and cumin: Jimmy is beside himself to be in the presence of Nigella. “I can’t believe it,” he whispers to Matt. Gaz is more enthusiastic about it than Nigella is – the skin wasn’t crispy.
Elena’s pumpkin ice cream stack: It’s her first time being tasted and she’s thrilled to be there. Matt loves the cumin tuille but the deconstructed nature of the dish makes it hard to enjoy the flavours together. Nigella likes the flavours.
Zoe’s mille feuille with pumpkin chestnut cream: “It’s kind of a successful failure,” says Nigella, adding the pastry tastes like caramelised butter cookies.

Charlie’s chicken with cumin feta pumpkin puree: George eats with his knife and Nigella pulls him up on it – thank you, Nigella! Please, teach him some manners. “Absolutely delicious,” says Gaz, kindly pointing out how much nicer it is than Jimmy’s dish. Nigella thinks it’s fabulous.

Who will the judges pick?
The judges have two fave dishes and let Nigella make the final pick. They are Heather and Charlie’s dishes. Surely Heather gets points for making filo?
And Heather With The Headband wins – well done.

She’s whisked away to the pantry and shown three core ingredients from which to pick.
She has to make something divine and indulgent and gets to choose from chocolate, lemons and pistachio. Heather chooses chocolate and everyone should be happy with that.

Aha – Anastasia speaks again … so, she’s in trouble?
Karmen is thrilled to have a chocolate challenge and she’s doing a miso caramel with sponge and mousse – it sounds as though there are a lot of elements.
Chloe, who did so well in Reynold’s “Moss” pressure test, is wearing a tie-dyed shirt because they want you to know she’s more chilled than a parfait. Inspired by Reynold’s mousse recipe, she’s doing mousse with fruit and nut granola. We’ve heard she has a photographic memory so she should do okay with the mousse at least.
Harry plans to do his first dessert – a dome filled with meringue, parfait and fizzy chocolate something. Jimmy is making a tempered chocolate berry sphere while Mimi is keen to redeem herself with a beetroot sorbet and salted chocolate tart.
Heather is doing some kind of chocolate crackle; Charlie semi freddo; Zoe a choc raspberry tart.
And Anastasia has gone rogue and is doing a savoury dish – a beef stew with cacao powder. Good on her for trying something different.
Who haven’t we seen at all today? Con, Nicolette, Intense Matt and airline captain Brett for starters. Is Cecilia still in it?
Ranger Miles is doing a cheesecake with lots of components and Matt is worried it’s too much.
Back over at Chloe’s bench, she’s stuffed up Reynold’s mousse mixture – the one thing about which she was confident. She switches to Plan B: semi freddo.
The company which makes those red silicon moulds must be happy with all the exposure they are getting. Karmen’s domes work but Jimmy’s are buggered. And Miles has realised Matt was right and he made way too many things – none of them well. Poor Chloe is serving a plate of crumbs and puddled semi freddo.

Time for tasting
Mimi’s salted choc tart with beetroot sorbet: It looks cute and it’s not dome shaped, so it stands out from the rest. “I just adore these flavours,” Nigella says. She gives Mimi a kiss.
Chloe’s puddle: “You’ve got to stick to what you know,” George tells her. “If you try and do things beyond your reach, you’re going to fail.” Isn’t this the EXACT OPPOSITE of the whole MasterChef ethos? Did he take a Grumpy Gary Pill today? Luckily Nigella pitches in to say Chloe had a bad day and we need to make mistakes so we can learn from them.
Anastasia’s chocolate Mexican bowl: Nigella likes it.
Elise’s (ah – there’s one I forgot) lime white choc mousse: Nigella loves it
Charlie’s white choc semifreddo with strawberry consomme: Pretty and good technique.
Matt’s fennel and almond butter cake: He’s made a dukkah and the judges think it’s clever.
Heather’s snap, crackle and pop: Not chocolately enough. So much for the advantage.
Zoe’s white choc raspberry tart with lychee and rose sorbet: “It’s making me smile,” says Nigella.
Jimmy’s “buried chocolate”: As he feared, Nigella can’t hack through the chocolate of his failed dome. Gaz winces at something he tastes. George tells him he has so much potential but he doesn’t know how to temper chocolate.
Harry’s white chocolate and rose royales: They aren’t perfectly finished but the judges are keen to pick them up in their hands and chomp away. “I’m enchanted,” says Nigella.
Miles’s cheesecake and gelato: It’s another puddle – two in fact. It sucks, but Nigella loves the tea cream and says if he’d done that and a simple choc cake he’d be safe.

Karmen’s “chocolate decadence”: The judges are thrilled by how interesting it looks and Nigella loves the ice cream. They all love it. “This is rock ‘n’ roll stuff,” says George.
There we have it – not even a tasting edit for some contestants.

Top three
Mimi, Karmen and Harry
Bottom three
Miles, Chloe and Jimmy. No surprises there. So it’s the 24-year-old versus the two “old” guys.

Tomorrow night
The bottom three have to cook three Nigella dishes in an hour.



  1. I will look forward to your excellent recaps, Juz, and to all the comments.

    I find it hard to bear a few minutes of Nigella. To endure a week’s worth of her simpering is beyond my strength.

  2. Nigella has a rackstory.

    Yeh,snap, I wanted to vote for all but had to stick with parfait and fennel…`

    Poached pears , too, done to death.

    Nigella’s “chest” nuts are a real stand out.

  3. Nice mystery box for the regular person that wants to pay $10 for a small bag of chestnuts. I do love roasted chestnuts, though. Have seen Nigella making soup with them before.

  4. We just want one contestant to tell her that we learnt how to flirt with the camera from her show instead of the scripted ” I have learnt so much from your cookbooks.”

    • I will give her multiple points for doing that and also for telling Matt off when he stated that he knew which dish she preferred.

    • Nigella’s presence just showed the three stooges for the uncouth pigs they’ve always been. She earned her money just for that imo.

  5. Very interesting that the 5 chosen dishes were less than overwhelming. Must have been some very mediocre efforts to choose from

  6. Really, Heather (who I find a bit painful) won !
    I agree all those 5 dishes were underwhelming with Charlie’s dish the best out of the 5.

  7. It seems that Nigella was the only one offering constructive criticism. George told a couple contestants if they can’t do something don’t (so much for MC being the greatest apprenticeship) and Gary was way too gleeful telling his loathed contestants they failed.

    Miles will probably be booted tomorrow if Gary has his way.

  8. I didn’t watch so have enjoyed recap and comments. Daily Mail has pic of George and said knife. Pig😀

  9. All style and very little substance, Nigella Does Masterchef.
    I take my hat off to her for forging a successful career out of licking spoons, and she wasn’t as annoying tonight as some of the giddy contestants.
    But sashaying around, swinging those fulsome hips, wearing earthy tones … she looks like a walking Mars Bar.
    And why does she speak like she has a mouth full of … er, cream or something?
    Men are lighting cigarettes.

    Jimmy’s getting a little annoying with his over-the-top optimism and hugging. I swear he nearly hugged a food processor and gave it encouragement.

  10. I wonder how many times they have to reshoot some of the scenes when Nigella is in.

    I read someone who was at the team challenge that so many takes were taken when Nigella was there judging

  11. Thanks for the great recap Juz.
    Well we saw someone else I’d never seen before. I didn’t catch her name though.
    Beetroot should never be in sorbet. It only belongs on a hamburger.
    Hilarious contrast between that guy who made those huge domes & had 1 for each judge & that tiny chocolate mouse cake thing that didn’t look enough for 1 person let alone those 4 gutses.
    Poor Miles, don’t you hate it when the judges are right. I always like when they ignore the judges & prove them wrong. Not this time.
    It wasn’t a surprise who the top 3 & worse 3 were.

  12. Oh, I like her. Nice to see a woman with a bit of vavavoom. Plus I could stare at her complexion for hours. She also has a different set of requirements apart from trizzy plating, and calls the judges out playfully, while flirting with the contestants. What’s not to like!

    Wish Charlie had won the mystery box round. He’s so sweet when he’s done well.

    Can’t wait to see doughy Chloe go – her ‘food dream’ is ‘Chef’s Night In’, where she who is not a chef and her boyfriend cook for people in their home. Ah…no.

  13. Interesting night..

    2 new contestants who have suddenly appeared… some teacher person who is 20 years younger than Nigella but looks 20 years older.. and some other person I’ve never seen before.

    Hippy girl wearing some psychodelic t-shirt… should’ve put a warning prior to the episode as it could cause epileptic fits to some viewers.

    How the #### did she get her vanilla slice with the raw non puff pastry tasted?? Looked like poop served between two crackers.

    Anyways, my bet is the old guy gets it tonight… they’ve been wanting him out for a while as we can’t have such a non marketable fella still remaining, and his whole re-unite his family thing is not appealing enough.

  14. Thanks for the recap Juz.
    Top 5…compared to what. The other dishes must have been absolute crap. Wasn’t impressed with any of the supposed top 5.
    Why was Zoe called up when her rough puff pastry was a fail? Surely the judges knew that before they called her name. The two other desserts did not look appetizing and the chicken dishes were not very creative.
    So predictable who the bottom and top 3 would be and so boring. Too many spheres. Too many trying to emulate Reynold and they are failing. Karmen and Harry did the best but even their desserts did not stand out, IMHO.
    Continues to be the worst season evah!

    • There is nothing to fear except sphere itself.

      I want the contestants to show some real balls.

  15. Even with Nigella, MC lost to House Rules in the rating war.

    I m sure there were some better dishes than those in the Top 5 for mystery box. Failed puff pastry but got complement for got flavours.

    Why bother to cook. Just give the judges a few components of a dish and asked them to eat them together. Viola. Great dish, great flavours

    • I nearly watched House Rules but this is the greatest cooking show on the face of the Earth and the chance of missing another parfait or fennel abomination was too great to pass up. George and Gary hissing like vipers. Dreams. Flavour. Simplicity.

  16. Haven’t read any comments yet just finished watching.

    Only 12 tasted and Elise was the last one to be shown to be tasted.

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