From the pressure of the skills test to the unintentional comedy of misplaced inventiveness, cooking. Doesn’t. Get. Tougher (or stranger). Than this

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Image: X things we learnt from MasterChef

Photo: BBC/Shine TV

Gregg Wallce and John Torode on the MasterChef set

There are so many great things about MasterChef: Gregg’s undeniable love of a buttery biscuit base, the many faces of Monica Galetti, and the music booming at such a pace that we felt more panicked than if we were about to do a skills test with Monica.


The cooking competition is back on our screens (hurrah!) but what culinary wisdom have we picked up in its 11 series?


Let’s cook. 


People don’t respect fish

First there was Aussie salesman Kieron who excitedly introduced dover sole with a smoky fish sauce and a spinach, pear, grape and almond salad to the judges. John’s reaction: “Who wants to eat fish with pears? Nobody.” Oh dear.

Our next fishy friend decided to add whisky and honey into the underwater mix. Wallace gagged and presumably took solace in a dry rich tea biscuit. 

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Fish and apple

Photo: BBC/Shine TV

A MasterChef fish and apple concoction


Rice goes wrong. A lot

A surprisingly large number of people can’t cook rice. Yes, they know their way around a blast chiller or some liquid nitrogen but ask them to cook a rice dish and they go to pieces. Cue starring blankly at grains of rice while they stick to your plate like cement (anyone remember Carl from last series?). Luckily for you, we’ve got the ultimate guide on how not to screw it up

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Rice pudding

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Mancunian Carl's rice pudding was like cement in the 2014 series


Working in a professional kitchen is mind-bogglingly stressful

For the MasterChef contestants (we’re talking your average Joe here, not the professionals), being plonked in a professional service challenge is a bit like trying to manoeuvre a lorry into a car park when you haven’t even heard of parallel parking while a furious person shouts "service!” at you. Who wouldn’t go to pieces?

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Via Ratatouille / Pixar /

If there’s not a fondant fail, it’s not MasterChef

Like the best romantic encounters, a good chocolate fondant should be internse with a meltingly soft centre. You make one to impress and show off your cheffy skills – it’s just a shame that those contestants rarely do that. Cue weeping over a spongy bun. 

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Chocolate fondant

Photo: BBC/Shine TV

Marcus is actually kind of a nice guy

We admit, when news of Michel Roux Jr’s departure reached our delicate ears, we were devastated. Turns out, the notoriously tough "Mr Nasty” Marcus is, well, not so nasty. He’s rather nice, actually. 

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Marcus Wareing

Photo: BBC/Shine TV

Very few people seem to have a ‘normal’ job

Lindy hop dance teacher? Amateau wrestler-slash-rock star? Witchcraft merchant? Check, check and check. 

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Via Mad Men /




'Kitchen pressure' gets to the best of us

We know, we know, the skills’ test is a scary place but when chef Jogi was asked to make tortellini, he whipped up some papparedelle. They’re not the same, Jogi.

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Photo: BBC/Shine TV

Don’t make pastry out of potatoes, wrap it around a plum and then boil it

"I’m mad me," said Carl before causing Gregg to presumably cry at soggy pastry that tastes of potato. Oh dear. 

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Photo: BBC/Shine TV

Former MasterChef winne plays judge and bravely tucks into the plum dumpling


Skordalia is a thick puree

Those MasterChef contestants were thrown by John’s potato puree. Hands up who knew skordalia was mashed and whipped potato spiked with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil? Nope, didn’t think so.  

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Fugzu / CC-BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr: fugzu

Gregg is never lost for a line at the mere mention of a dessert

We’ve witnessed a handful of successes that he wanted to “take a running jump into” but we'd settle for a “phwoooooar” or “that’s yummy” if we were on the show. MasterChef bingo, anyone?