Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The competition

I've never written of my culinary prowess before because, well, I'm the modest sort.

However, when presented with the opportunity to appear on 'Masterchef' I couldn't turn it down.

The competition was made up of three rounds.

Host Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins and sous chef Monica Something gathered the four contestants - myself included - into a room to demonstrate our skills and some basic cooking ability. One of the four would be eliminated, with three going on to cook for renowned Michelin tyre owner, sorry, Michelin star-having chef Michel Roux Jr.

= =

1) The Elimination Test: We were charged with de-packeting a Chomp bar and opening a jar of pickles.

The Chomp has a foil wrapper that, serated edges or no serrated edges, is piss easy to tear. Monica Something gave a tiny wee wince even though I knew I'd nailed it. Looking back now, I reckon her grimace was just for the cameras, the preening bitch.

Anyway, yeah, that proved no significant hurdle. I plated up and went on.

The pickle jar proved trickier. I'd had a pre-event tug to ease the nerves, so the bastard thing wouldn't take in my hand full of leftover man goo. I demonstrated considerable nous, however, in my tea towel technique and the lid popped off with such zeal that poor Billy Corgan's sizable dome almost took a cutting.

Monica Something: I admired your technique with the Chomp, you've clearly de-wrappered before. It's got the perfect texture of chocolate and caramel.

Billy Corgan: Myum myum.

Monica Something: The pickles in this jar have the faint taste of Radge inseminant, but by and large it's been a good effort.

Billy Corgan: Myum.

Result: I got through to cook for Chef Michel.

= =

2) The Ingredients Test: We were told by Chef Michel that we would have to use smoked fillet of thigh of French 30-year-old virgin to make two dishes.

Other ingredients included some Paxo, one turnip, some shallots, some men's hair, otter whiskers and nine glugs of whiskey.

In this round, improvisation is key. I whipped the turnip into a frenzy and interlaced it with a compote of shallots and men's hair (grey and thinning). I finished it off by roasting the virgin thigh and garnished it with leftover Chomp.

My second dish was exactly the same, but I cleverly used a bowl as opposed to a side dish.

Chef Michel: The compote is seasoned perfectly while there's a great texture to the thigh of 30-year-old French virgin. The Chomp lets you down, it's a little bit under-confident, but overall it works.

Billy Corgan: Nyam.

Chef Michel: For your second dish, the presentation is exquisite. You've used exactly the same ingredients and techniques to create something absolutely the same but wholeheartedly different.

Billy Corgan: Yur.

Result: They don't judge you until after the third test. Pay fucking attention.

= =

3) The Classic Recipe Test: Chef Michel told us to put together a dish of disgruntled pheasant, a Norwegian banquet staple, followed by a classic Lemon Tartlet.

This proved tricky. I loaded up and hit the fields with greatest haste. I was on the clock and knew I had to track down, kill, carry and cook a disgruntled pheasant before the clock struck 3pm.

As it happened, I got a mobile phone call telling me to get back to the studio, the pheasants had been pre-captured and were waiting in the car park to be evaluated.

I raced back, chose my pheasant, shot it, de-feathered it, threw it in the oven and tended to my garnishes and accoutrements.

I just managed to get it on to my plate before the judging started.

Chef Michel: Ooooh. Big problem here.

Me: Yes chef?

Chef Michel: This pheasant, while cooked perfectly, was clearly deeply morose in its last moments. It was far more than disgruntled. It's a beginner's mistake. The garnishes work fine but I'm afraid this isn't what we asked for.

Billy Corgan: No.

Chef Michel: And the classic Lemon Tartlet?

Me: Here it is chef.

Chef Michel: That's Kim Basinger.

Me: Yes chef.

Chef Michel: Go home.

Me: Sorry chef.


mapstew said...

I haven't decide if you're feeling better, or the fever is at it's peak right now!

But you have described that show to perfection!


Radge said...

Mapstew - Cheers. Much better. I couldn't write while I had the pox. This is just a sign of my chronic insanity.

Therese Cox said...

Dear God, I hope there was a soundtrack for all this. And I hope it wasn't Billy Corgan.

Terence McDanger said...

That dodgy box is doing things to your brain; It's pickled, you tart.

Stop watching so much TV.

Radge said...

Therese - I like to think it was And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. Frenetic yet melodic.

Terence - No dodgy box anymore. Not for months and months now. UPC now. Fear not, though, such fatigue-driven blog posts are the exception, never the rule.

Maimie said...

Brilliant Radge - def. one of your best. Only thing is you have painted my favourite programme in a completely different light. Now it has to become comedy for me!!! Looking forward to your culinary delights when next you visit. But leave the virgin in Dublin.

Radge said...

Maybe I'll make my patented squid with poached Curly Wurly, Maimie. You'll love it.

McMuck and the Mystery of the Kuúgleflarg said...