Masterchef came back strong on Monday night – as the judges praised a contestant for the ‘best ackee and salty fish’ they had ever seen on the show.
Gregg Wallace, 58, and John Torode, 57, returned to the screens for the 2023 season of Masterchef UK to host auditions for the new BBC series.
Nine ambitious home cooks took to the kitchen to produce their best work under strict time pressures in the nail-biting episode.
Tensions were high from the start as the judges were greeted with two undercooked chickens, blue rice and microwaved hollandaise sauce.
But while the judges were wowed by a “remarkable” aspiring chef, viewers at home were less impressed, calling the contestants “the most boring” to date.
Matthew, 33, an IT project coordinator from Wolverhampton, won over the judges with his Caribbean cooking.
He presented Gregg and John with a classic Ackee and salt fish with coconut lime rice.
Stunned by such success so early in the show, Gregg said, “Matthew, he’s the most beautiful and smartest Ackee and salty fish I’ve ever seen.” It’s fantastic.
“There’s absolutely nothing that would stop me from tearing this plate down and asking for another one.”
John added: “This is the best ackee and salty fish I have ever eaten. Never!’
The tasty dish quickly earned Matthew one of the series’ first aprons as he progressed to the next round.
However, viewers were less impressed with the new set of contestants.
Geva, a local government councilor, angered viewers over her failed attempt to microwave Hollandaise sauce, while her pancakes reminded people of ‘sick’ and ‘Branston pickle’.
People at home couldn’t believe their eyes at his antics, commenting: “Geva made strong sauce in round one and sick on a crepe in round two.
“Did Geva just top her pancakes with Branston?”
Meanwhile, product trainer Jonny and supermarket manager Woei have both suffered from raw chickens and had to cook again in the invention round – where contestants have an hour and 15 minutes to prepare a recipe at from given ingredients.
“Nothing says failure more than going to Masterchef and serving pink chicken,” one viewer commented.
But it was delivery driver Nickolas who infuriated viewers, as he raced towards the Invention Challenge ingredients to snatch the best ingredients, with the judges noting his “enthusiasm”.
Linda Bateman tweeted: “Is it me or is Nicholas extremely annoying?” while Pip Horton added: ‘The most boring group of contestants ever.’
Another added: ‘Calm down Nickolas’ and a fourth said: ‘I already want Nicholas to crash and burn at the first opportunity.
At the end of the episode, Matthew and Terri were followed to the next round by Zoe, Jonny, Woei and Nickolas. Geva and Jo were eliminated.
Masterchef UK continues on BBC One on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
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