Celebrity MasterChef: No amnesty for Colm O’Gorman after kitchen disaster

Soggy seafood salad leads to a surprise eviction from the kitchen for the over ambitious chef

Fingers crossed ... but good luck isn’t enough to keep Colm O’Gorman in the MasterChef kitchen

Fingers crossed ... but good luck isn’t enough to keep Colm O’Gorman in the MasterChef kitchen

 

“Carry it like it’s a new born baby, not a f***ing pizza,” barked Andy McFadden, the Irishman at the helm of Michelin one-star restaurant Pied à Terre in London.

Former Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh has two children, so she’s well qualified to fulfil that request, but professional kitchens seem to make quivering jellyfish out of even the most seasoned performers.

“Apologies, sir,” she squeaked from behind her pigtail plaits in response to yet another admonition from the chef, this time about the state of her plates.

The final four in TV3’s Celebrity MasterChef were doing a lunchtime service at the Charlotte Street restaurant in the next stage of their “journey”, as co-judge Daniel Clifford insisted on calling it, and it wasn’t going well, at least for some. (Stop smirking at the back of the kitchen, Simon Delaney).

“Being a dad is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done,” Colm O’Gorman has said. But the Amnesty boss might want to revise that statement after a bruising week in the MasterChef kitchen that ended with him being shown the exit, looking as gutted as the mackerel that got him there.

Downfall

There was turbot to blame too, as it also contributed to the downfall of the former star pupil. “I don’t think it’s seasoned enough ... I’m quite disappointed actually,” was Clifford’s damning assessment on being served O’Gorman’s fish for his lunch in Pied à Terre.

Niamh Kavanagh gamely cooked her first lobster an served it with monkfish and smoked potato
Niamh Kavanagh gamely cooked her first lobster and served it with monkfish and smoked potato

Once Niamh Kavanagh’s hands eventually stopped shaking, she mastered her cured scallop dish, capitalising once again on her proficiency at origami – who knew that was a skill that would be so much in demand – when turning apple slices into fancy cones.

Across the restaurant kitchen, Simon Delaney was basking in the heat, and the glory, of nailing his lamb three ways dish. “Inside I’m dancing, baby. This is mental and I’m loving it.” At the judges’ table, Robin Gill was in agreement. “He’s got the hardest section and he’s smashing it.”

“The lamb is absolutely perfect, and the last time he served us lamb, it was raw,” Clifford said, seemingly not yet over the horror of it.

Oisín McConville, spotted propping up a counter while another chef whipped up a component of the pineapple dessert he was responsible for, was taking it handy. “He did some nice dots, which I’m very particular about,” was chef McFadden’s assessment of the budding pastry chef’s performance.

“Stew? In the semi-final of MasterChef?” Daniel Clifford spluttered

Colm O’Gorman’s report card was a bit more critical. “He’s quite sure of himself. If you give him any feedback, he’s just kind of yea, yea.”

But there was worse to come for O’Gorman when the four remaining contestants returned to the MasterChef kitchen in Dún Laoghaire and cooked for a place in the final.

Bulging larder

Two courses, two-and-a-half hours, and a bulging larder full of mystery ingredients – what could possibly go wrong? Simon Delaney mistaking lamb for pork for his stew for a start.

“Stew? In the semi-final of MasterChef?” Daniel Clifford spluttered, more upset by the lack of ambition than the meat mix-up. Thankfully, all four contestants gave the bowl of hearts a wide berth.

Yes Simon, it’s time to cook lamb again
Yes Simon, it’s time to cook lamb again

“It’s still alive,” squawked Oisín McConville when confronted with a lobster, before retreating to his place of safety – a slab of steak. Earlier, he had recalled the first dish he’d cooked in the competition – “I threw up a steak” – bad choice of phrase that, for a MasterChef contestant.

Happily for the judges, who were openly incredulous at his hour-long immersion plan for the measly little slice of meat, McConville’s attempt at cooking the steak sous vide backfired. “I took it out of the bag and I thought, if I saw that coming to my table, I just wouldn’t like it.” Good call.

There was praise for Kavanagh’s bravery in tackling ingredients she hadn’t worked with before

Robin Gill was “excited” (relieved, more like) to see that McConville recognised the shortcomings in his poached steak and that he rustled up a pan-fried replacement in the final six minutes. “You need to smile more, yea” said Clifford, grinning like a man who knew he had dodged a bullet.

Niamh Kavanagh was by this stage elbow deep in a monkfish, having gamely dispatched her lobster in a pot of boiling water with the soothing words, “Don’t cry”. It didn’t, but the judges almost did when they tasted the overcooked flesh. But there was praise too, for Kavanagh’s bravery in tackling ingredients she hadn’t worked with before, and her efficient evisceration of the grizzly monkfish.

Dreaded celeriac

“I just want to keep it simple and clean,” Colm O’Gorman assured the judges, while attempting to wrangle mackerel, the dreaded celeriac – two ways, no less – horseradish, apples, sea veg, hazelnuts, and caviar (why not!) into harmonious submission on the one plate.

You’d have got very long odds on that being the final line-up

But it proved to be a mash-up too far, and in a shock turn-up for the cookery books, he was sent home, leaving Niamh Kavanagh, Simon Delaney and a bemused Oisín McConville at the stoves for next week’s finale.

You’d have got very long odds on that being the final line-up, and it’s definitely an open race to the finish now the early favourites have fallen by the wayside.

No one seemed more surprised than McConville. “I definitely didn’t think I’d be in the final. I didn’t even think I’d get past the first round,” said the former GAA star, who has admitted that he couldn’t cook at all before accepting the MasterChef challenge.

His rapid progress is all down to intensive coaching from (his wife) Darina, apparently. What odds on a Crossmaglen Cooking School if he pulls off the biggest coup of the competition next week?

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