Celebrity Masterchef

…has returned for the gazillionth series. If Masterchef: The Professionals makes me envious of the judge’s job, then the “celebrity” incarnation makes me very grateful I don’t have to taste anything. Even from my sofa, I was scared of their culinary atrocities. This week was a bunch of people whose names I didn’t recognise and faces I vaguely did when their notoriety was explained to me by the voiceover, and they were absolutely rubbish. Seriously, a blender with the lid left off and four plates around it would have created better dishes than they managed. There was ex-Corrie actor Ken Morley, who fried some lettuce in the first challenge- creating a burger. Simple enough you may think, but no. I liked him though and was sad when he was eliminated and actress Emma Barton was allowed to stay. For a woman whose famous character was a type of food stuff (Honey in Enders) she was consummately terrible. She’d never made a burger, never made a pudding and in yesterday’s alarming skill and knowledge test (a prawn cocktail) Greg managed to say a diplomatic “your lettuce is edible.” John tried to hint at how she should have cooked the prawns (instead of pushing them around a pan in vinegar and serving them raw): “How else do you cook things in a pan? Think potatoes.” “Mash!”

After the prawn debacle, they were let loose on mass catering and managed between them to cook half of what was needed. Alison Hammond (a woman whose stature suggested she was familiar with good food) and Amanda Burton caused “fireworks over a spotted dick”. A running theme with Russell Brand’s girlfriends, I’d imagine.

After that, they had to cook two dishes for former celebrity contestants, including human foghorn Janet Street-Porter, whose disbelieving face said it all. They all attempted simple dishes, but still cocked it up. Emma produced a sad bit of fried trout with a salad and for dessert, crushed digestives on a plate with cream and a bit of fried banana. “I think they’ll like the colours” she said after. While whipping the cream, she span the bowl around until Greg suggested holing it. “You worry me” he spluttered. She worried me, and I wasn’t in a room with her.

Alison created a horrific prawn cocktail, ackee and saltfish medley that no one wanted to try, with some unidentifiable water at the bottom. And so on. Basically none of them deserved to go through, and yet somehow Amanda and JB managed it. Poor John and Greg certainly earned their wages this week.

Incidentally, what has happened to Amanda Burton’s face? She was once a striking looking woman but I think there’s been a filler misdemeanour somewhere along the way as she smiles in a very, very strange way.

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