• From MasterChef days: Leaving the competition

    If I had been told when I applied for MasterChef that I was going to come 6th, I would never have believed it. At that stage, I wasn’t even sure whether or not I was good enough to get onto the programme at all, so being part of the final 20 was incredibly exciting. The problem though, is that the further you go, the more your expectations and ambitions grow. My first few rounds went pretty well. The dish I cooked in the “egg inventions test” was good enough to put me straight through to the final 12. The reaction to my orange and pomegranate cake made me realise that I really did deserve my place in the final 10 and could stand up even to that tough competition.

    Nothing drastic went wrong in the intervening tests. Our sensory cooking with Alexis Gauthier was a revelation to me and although I had a bit of a wobble cooking for Yotom Ottolenghi, I redeemed myself with my beetroot trio at the circus. The start of the fine dining test went well, with my stuffed and braised partridge with spiced breadcrumbs showing John and Gregg that I could raise the standard of my food to the next level. My puddings at Merlin weren’t a fabulous success but I had at least produced 50 portions in a cramped portacabin and emerged on time to carry a trolley full of food across rough ground, in the dark, for Richard Wilson and his guests.

    Invention tests were never going to be my strongest point. I’m the type of cook who likes to plan ahead and can spend days developing ideas for a dish which will morph into several different guises before I decide it’s absolutely right. So being asked to produce two dishes on the spot was a huge challenge for me and on that occasion I simply didn’t rise to it. Whether it was a lapse of concentration, the effect of the pressure we were under, or even perhaps a hint of over-confidence I’ll never know. Whatever the reason for my mistakes, the dishes simply weren’t good enough.

    I suppose I was a bit unlucky that my disaster happened when it did. Everyone left in the competition had already had bad days and lived to tell the tale. This time there was no cook off to give me a chance to save myself and the axe fell fast and sharp. I knew that John and Gregg absolutely had to make a decision and the outcome was nobody’s fault but my own. I just would have given anything for a second chance and another opportunity to show them what I could really do.

    Being part of MaterChef was all absorbing and took over my life completely. I had begun to think that I really could make it into the final and was loving the experience so much that leaving at that stage was heartbreaking. But I will never regret a minute of it, except perhaps that final parfait.

    1 Comment

    • 1. Nov 17 2015 2:38PM by Tricia

      Hi Annie. I am looking forward to meeting you on 30th Nov at Loddon Vale Rotary club. Having read your very interesting articles on your Cookery career I am looking forward to giving the vote of Thanks for your talk.

      Kind regards Tricia

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