MasterChef continues with its eighth series and more fantastically talented amateur cooks who want to put their culinary skills to the test and take a shot at lifting the coveted MasterChef Champion title. Over the last few weeks the contestants have been battling to keep their place in the MasterChef kitchen, and now only the best eight remain.
In this episode, judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace ask the remaining cooks to take on three cornerstones of European cuisine - they must each master the art of Italian, Spanish or French cooking. Each group begins by being given a master class by a top chef in their chosen style, a chef who has developed their reputation by being the leading advocate of that country's cuisine: Italian Francesco Mazzei of L'Anima; Ben Tish from The Salt Yard, who specialise in Spanish tapas; and Bruno Loubet, chef in his self-titled French restaurant, Bistrot Bruno Loubet.
The MasterChef cooks are taught to prepare a dish that captures the heart and philosophy of their chosen country. They then must compete in the heat of service, mastering another dish working under their head chef, ensuring they reach the exacting standards of not only the restaurant and chef, but the specific cuisine of their chosen area. The contestants must take in everything they can if they are to impress when they return to the MasterChef kitchen. Here, watched by their mentor, they must create one dish that proves they have understood how to encapsulate their chosen country's style and flavours, and show John and Gregg that they have the skill to succeed.
The pressure is really on - for one contestant, their dream of becoming MasterChef Champion 2012 is over.