It’s crunch time for the MasterChef pros

Marcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace and Monica GalettiMarcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace and Monica Galetti
Marcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace and Monica Galetti
For some viewers, the 13th series of MasterChef: The Professionals has been the most compelling so far.

That might be partially down to the fact that it’s made the jump from BBC2 to BBC1, bringing it to a new audience.

The decision came after the series held the title of BBC2’s highest-rated cookery show for three years running, with 3.55 million viewers tuning in to see Stu Deeley raise the prestigious trophy last December.

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Charlotte Moore, Director BBC Content, said of the move: “MasterChef is one of the channel’s biggest brands and following the impact of Covid on the production of original programming it feels like the time is right to move The Professionals to BBC1 and find an even wider audience.”

But it might also be because at a time when trips to restaurants has been off the menu for many viewers, it’s been great to get a reminder of just how much culinary talent there is in the UK’s latest generation of professional chefs.

So, the pressure is definitely on as we reach Finals Week.

The winner will be crowned on Thursday, but before that the remaining six chefs will face the last Invention Test.

They are split into two groups of three and given just one hour and 15 minutes to emulate a legendary dish set by judges Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti. Although the ingredients will be laid out for them, they’ll still be expected to put their own twist on it.

The first group are making rabbit in mustard sauce.

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The judges will be looking for body and flavour, and it’s important that the whole rabbit is used – there’s no room for waste.

The second group create a classic bouillabaisse, with a rouille and a crouton, which needs to be hearty and full of rich flavour, but still be elegant.

The chef who presents the finest dish in each of the groups will be rewarded with a pass straight through to the final four, while the remaining contestants take part in a cook-off that will test their pastry skills as they produce a dessert of dreams.

Two will make it through to Wednesday’s episode, while two will be going home.

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The hopefuls who do get a place in the final four can’t afford to relax as the penultimate round sees them cooking for the Chefs Table.

That means they will each be responsible for serving a course to eight guests who between them hold 12 Michelin stars; Aktar Islam, Matt Abé, Sally Abé, Michael Caines, Jun Tanaka, Niall Keating, Daniel Clifford and Anna Haugh.

Once that is over, they will be given an hour and 45 minutes to cook a dish dedicated to someone special, but sadly for one contestant it will be the last time they whip something up for the judges.

That’s because only three of them can make Thursday’s final, when they cook three courses that they feel embody everything they are as a chef.

Then it will be time for Marcus, Monica and Gregg Wallace to reveal 2020’s winner.

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