Celebrity MasterChef final: all you need to know

What time is it on, what are they cooking and who’s going to win?

Pick a winner: Celebrity MasterChef finalists Oisín McConville, Niamh Kavanagh and Simon Delaney

Pick a winner: Celebrity MasterChef finalists Oisín McConville, Niamh Kavanagh and Simon Delaney

 

What’s cooking?
On the menu is the final of Celebrity MasterChef. It’s the second series of the Irish version of the show, and the first with chefs Robin Gill and Daniel Clifford as judges. Who? Yes, there was a lot of that, but Gill, a Dubliner who runs three top London restaurants, and Clifford, a British Michelin-starred chef, have proved to be a very good double act. They’ll be back.

So are there any genuine celebrities on it, and can they cook?
Well, there were the obligatory also-rans, a couple of who admitted early on that they’d never seen the working end of a kitchen before. But some star performers emerged too, and you’ll probably recognise at least a couple of them.

Who are they then?
The three finalists who have made it through seven rounds of hard-core cooking are actor and TV presenter Simon Delaney; singer and former Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh, and former Armagh player and GAA All Star Oisín McConville.

Who’s going to win?
All the betting trends, and past performance, point to the laid-back Delaney, who played a blinder in the pro kitchen task, and acts like he’s holding something back for the finale. Niamh Kavanagh has been the quiet but determined one, but she struggles to add finesse to her food. Oisín McConville has had the steepest learning curve, going from serving “poo on a plate”, as Robin Gill described his ostrich dish, to wowing the critics’ table with his duck.

Who was supposed to win it?
From the bookies’ perspective, these three are the ideal trio. All the “clever” money went on Amnesty’s Colm O’Gorman, whose ambition ran away with him; calm and collected Samantha Mumba, who lost it when she had to pluck and eviscerate a grouse; and front-runner Sonia O’Sullivan, who fell at the first hurdle. The also-rans shown the door early were singer-songwriter Mundy, meteorologist Evelyn Cusack, reality TV star and model Nadia Forde, and former Miss Ireland and newspaper columnist Holly Carpenter.

Don’t look so surprised ... Samantha Mumba has been shown the door of the Celebrity MasterChef kitchen
Don’t look so surprised ... Samantha Mumba was shown the door of the Celebrity MasterChef kitchen

So what’s involved in tonight’s final?
The three finalists have three-and-a-half hours to cook three epic courses of their own choice to serve to Gill and Clifford.

Is that all?
Yes, but along the way they’ve had two stints in professional kitchens, in Dublin and London. They have attempted, spectacularly unsuccessfully, to create complicated dishes – Celeriacgate alert – in masterclasses given by the judges. They have spent an awful lot of time huddled around Big Green Eggs – product placement alert – on Dún Laoghaire pier. And they have cooked for a table of ravenous food critics.

What’s that Celeriacgate all about?
That was the masterclass given by Daniel Clifford that involved turning a gnarled, dirty root vegetable into a golden slipper, by means of the science called molecular gastronomy. Yes, they all failed, and yes, it was amusing to watch the meltdown.

Who was the best value for money?
That’d be singer-songwriter writer Mundy, who charmed the pants off the judges, but whose creativity and freestyle approach didn’t cut it with the masterclass task of “black grouse stuffed with heather and hay, served with duck hearts, Roscoff onions and corn salsa” – and who could blame him?

A bird in the hand ... Singer Mundy is the latest contestant to leave the Celebrity MasterChef kitchen
A bird in the hand ... Singer Mundy is the latest contestant to leave the Celebrity MasterChef kitchen

Sounds like they’re cooking cool stuff alright. When can I place an order?
The final is on TV3 on Thursday at 9pm. Bon appetit.

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