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MasterChef: What would you have made?

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Annie Assheton Annie Assheton | 13:32 UK time, Friday, 25 February 2011

Eggs tend not to cross my mind when I'm devising a menu for a special occasion. I generally start with a piece of meat or fish as the "hero piece" around which a dish will be conceived. Eggs tend to be used more incidentally - as a functional ingredient rather than an inspiration. Recently, however, I was made to think about them in a completely different way.

20,000 amateur cooks applied for the latest series of MasterChef. The numbers were gradually whittled down through a long and rigorous process of application forms, interviews and auditions. 20 of us finally donned the coveted white aprons and filed into the studio kitchen. At the front stood the familiar figures of John Torode and Gregg Wallace who, after what felt like an eternity, told us that for our first challenge we would have one hour to cook a single plate of food from the selection of ingredients provided. So far, so expected, but then John and Gregg delivered the killer blow.

Gregg Wallace and John Torode from MasterChef.

 

Having been an avid fan of the programme for years, I was all ready for an invention test. I had rehearsed as much as possible by imagining what ingredients might be provided at that time of year (Gregg, as we all know, is a big fan of seasonality), and what dishes I could create with them. What I hadn't prepared myself for was the compulsory inclusion of an egg. The only advice we were given was that if we were even thinking of cooking an omelette, we should find the door and take ourselves home.

Spanish omelette

 

The other shocking realisation was that we had no oven. All thoughts of soufflés and sponges were quashed as we took stock of the single gas ring, barbecue-style grill and hot plate. We were given 10 minutes to select our ingredients; 10 panic stricken minutes during which ideas flew in and out of my head, the terror of being the only person in the room not to come up with a dish at all numbed my mind and finally, blissfully, a hint of an idea took hold, grew and provided my solution.

In hindsight, it's easy to think of countless dishes we could have chosen to cook. Eggs provide the answer to so many problems in the kitchen. They thicken, glaze and rise; they emulsify, enrich and bind; they are self-contained, but can be separated to provide component parts - each of which can be used in a myriad of ways.

Custard

 

After a frantic and unforgettable hour, 20 plates of food paid testimony to the versatility of the egg. They were incorporated within pastahollandaise, frittata, mayonnaise and meringue; they accompanied steak; topped haddock and coated rice noodles. Eggs play such a fundamental role in so much of what we produce in the kitchen. It was utterly appropriate that our MasterChef lives should start with them, for once, taking centre stage.

How do you like to use egg in your cooking? And if you watched the show, what did you think of the results of the Invention Test?

Annie Assheton is a contestant on BBC One's MasterChef.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Annie. We really like not only your cooking but also your lovely attitude. We are supporting you all the way and expect you to be in the final. Good luck.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Annie, you look really familiar. Were you a chalet girl by any chance? Would love to know!

  • Comment number 3.

    Annie - you are so cool calm and collected, unphased by the cameras and focused on the task, a lesson for all of us on concentrating on the objective, and you haven't put a foot wrong so far. Go go go!

  • Comment number 4.

    Annie you were robbed tonight it shouldnt have been you that left. Has put me of watching you have been the strongest every week so sorry for ypu xxx

  • Comment number 5.

    Annie, I cried tonight to see you go. You are such a sweet person and a great chef. I m not going to say who I wanted to go but I am certain that you will have a great future and I hope one day I can eat your amazing food in a michelin restaurant. Out of all the contestants you were the kindest, level headed and friendly. I wish you all the best and I know you have a broken heart to leave the competition now but I m positive we will hear about your succeses soon.
    Best wishes

  • Comment number 6.

    Annie - what a travesty!
    I never comment on public sites like this but I'm so annoyed by the decision that I sought out a forum to vent!! Not usually one to yell at the TV but have to confess I did tonight.
    Agreed it wasn't your finest hour but I would have hoped that your previous performance would have counted. Certainly a stronger force than Messy Bloke.
    your food looks fab but more than that, you come across as a very likeable person. Set up your own restaurant and we will definitely travel to eat there!!!
    With very best wisehs!

  • Comment number 7.

    I and my extended family have been behind you the whole way through the process of Masterchef!On the programme you came over as such a nice and unassuming person! we are so disapointed by the decision of wednesday evening but will still remember you as the star of the show for us!
    Best Wishes!

 

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