The top 5 MasterChef South Africa contestants were left star-struck when culinary legend and MasterChef: The Professionals judge Michel Roux Jr paid a visit to the MasterChef kitchen.
Chef Michel was on hand to deliver a very special MasterClass, demonstrating how to prepare his signature dish of stuffed artichokes with chicken livers, chicken mousse and truffles. The contestants could barely contain their excitement as they watched the master at work, but no sooner had they tasted the dish than they were told they would be preparing their own versions as part of an elimination challenge.
In addition to preparing Michel’s dish, each of the contestants was required to prepare a chicken ballotine, or stuffed chicken leg, to go along with it. Their choice of fillings ranged from pork mince and pistachios (Deena) to cream cheese and herbs (Sue-Ann) to peppadews (Sarel). Michel was intrigued by the proudly South African peppadews, but expressed his doubts as to whether their strong, spicy flavour would work well with the earthiness of the truffles. And, while he was enthusiastic about Lungi’s combination of chicken liver and cauliflower puree, he wasn’t sure that it would work as a stuffing.
The contestants were competing for a place in the final four and an added advantage in the next challenge, in the form of a bell that would allow them to call on the assistance of one of the judges. After a frantic two hours of cooking, it was time to present their dishes.
Manisha was up first and, despite putting up a dish she didn’t feel comfortable with, she managed to get very close to Chef Michel’s creation. Sarel’s use of peppadews, however, fell flat. Chef Michel liked his presentation, but felt that the combination of truffle and peppadew was “never going to work".
Both Sue-Ann and Lungi struggled with their ballotines and both were criticised for their lack of stuffing. Deena, meanwhile, produced the only successful ballotine of the day, winning praise for his intelligent cooking and attention to detail.
When the results were announced, Deena was declared the winner, while Lungi was told to hand in her apron, narrowly missing out on a spot in the final four.
Catch Michel Roux Jr in Service!, Thursdays at 20:00 on BBC Lifestyle (120). For a closer look at Michel's magnificent recipe from tonight's episode, check out the official MasterChef South Africa website.
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