MasterChef SA: Episode 9 – the Chicken Invention Test
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!
The first back-to-back elimination happened last night in the MasterChef kitchen.
Episode 9 kicked off with Chef Reuben Riffel announcing the desirable reward for this week’s challenge: the winner would get to decide on the pairings for the next team challenge. But it would not be easy … Pete Goffe-Wood revealed the challenge that would send one competitor home today: “to create a beautiful family dish using the entire chicken – skin, white meat, dark meat … all of it,” he announced.
Ian (49), an advertising consultant from Cape Town, thought the giblets would be a bit of a curveball. “I’ve never eaten it, so I’m going to have to cook and taste and find the solution on the fly,” he admitted, and Claire also immediately felt a premonition: “My roast chickens come without giblets,” she complained. “I don’t like giblets and I want to gag. In my opinion those are organs that shouldn’t be touched!”
But after some thought she announced to Benny Masekwameng that she was planning a “Chicken Three Ways” dish with fried chicken breasts and chicken ballantines stuffed with her Granny’s Chicken Stuffing, plus some sticky sweet chicken wings.
When the time came to present their chicken creations to the judges Cape Town musician Francois (22) was happy with his chicken pie that he served with sweet potato purée and aubergine mozarella chicken liver roulade, but unfortunately the judges all thought that the pie didn’t cook for long enough.
Siphokazi (38), a domestic worker from Cape Town, served her famous peri-peri roasted chicken with tomato samp and chicken liver bruschetta.
Roxi (26), the train driver assistant from Durban, presented chicken tapas with couscous croquettes, butternut-stuffed chicken ballantines, chips three ways, and chicken lollipops filled with chicken liver mousse, which Benny thought fell far short of the description she gave him earlier.
Durban teacher Penny (31) had a hit with her Coc Au Vin with mashed potato, green beans almondine, and chicken liver paté bruschetta. “This is what Coc Au Vin should taste like!” Pete raved.
The reviews were mixed on 38-year-old Cape Town dental technologist Abigail’s “Flavours Of The Cape” platter.
Claire’s “Chicken Three Ways” creation didn’t work out as she had planned. “All three chickens taste the same,” Benny complained. “To me it tastes like chicken that was done in the oven and nothing to differentiate them except for the basting sauce on the side. The whole combination for me didn’t work.”
But Philippa’s “Roast Chicken á la Robinson” with Jerusalem artichoke mash and gravy had Pete wishing for more.
And Ian was up last with his spatchcock chicken with chicken heart and livers salad, and fresh breadrolls that he baked himself.
Pete summed up the three best dishes of the day on behalf of the judges. Ian’s spatchcock chicken was great, he said. “You really brought out the flavours of the chicken … great bread, and a great salad accompaniment”. Penny’s Coc Au Vin was faultlessly prepared, he said, “a beautiful, unctuous dish, wonderful to eat”. And he loved Philippa’s “beautifully roasted chicken”.
Penny was named the winner of the chicken Invention Test and could start thinking so long who she wanted to pair with whom for the next challenge. “Being able to choose pairs for the next round, I think it’s a huge advantage,” she reflected happily. “You get to strategise and think who you cook well with but not only that –who could benefit you most in the kitchen.”
In the end, it was a sad farewell for Claire, who had enjoyed a number of highlights during her time in the MasterChef kitchen