Patt on the back: Friday¿s Celebrity Masterchef was the best of the three the week as always, and not just because it took only half an hour: the TV equivalent of fast food rather than nonsense in fancy restaurants that even the judges pay no attention to

Friday’s Celebrity Masterchef was the best of the three the week as always, and not just because it took only half an hour: the TV equivalent of fast food rather than nonsense in fancy restaurants that even the judges pay no attention to.

More importantly, Friday’s finale has three guests/ex-contestants assessing the dishes as well.

This automatically ensures far fewer shots of Gregg Wallace shovelling food into his huge, smiley, shiny, face, then saying something less informed, articulate, and intelligent than John Torode.

Plus there was something delicious about watching former champions/semi-finalists Alexis Conran, Sophie Thompson, and Reverend Richard Coles relish picking their counterparts’ efforts apart – as if they ran restaurants with Michelin stars.

Compared to these, actually seeing which of the celebrities we’d spent all week watching won through to the semi-finals was, well, small potatoes – so predictable it lacked any interest let alone tension. (Kellie Maloney and Vicky Pattison clearly had the edge over Adam Woodyatt or BBC weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker.)

Far more entertaining was witnessing the miraculous improvement in their cooking skills since Monday.

Kellie Maloney had immediately seemed characteristically confident even then, mostly because of the added advantage: she could cook. Or at least was the only one who admitted it.

Patt on the back: Friday¿s Celebrity Masterchef was the best of the three the week as always, and not just because it took only half an hour: the TV equivalent of fast food rather than nonsense in fancy restaurants that even the judges pay no attention to

Patt on the back: Friday’s Celebrity Masterchef was the best of the three the week as always, and not just because it took only half an hour: the TV equivalent of fast food rather than nonsense in fancy restaurants that even the judges pay no attention to

Advantage: Kellie Maloney had immediately seemed characteristically confident even then, mostly because of the added advantage: she could cook

Advantage: Kellie Maloney had immediately seemed characteristically confident even then, mostly because of the added advantage: she could cook

Vicky Pattison had started the week saying she was so nervous ‘I’m dripping like an egg sandwich!’ and claiming: ‘I don’t think there’s a level to describe just how bad I am!

Tonight however she produced a main course of ‘monkfish spiced with cumin and coriander, served on a bed of crab crushed new potatoes, and a side stew consisting of tomatoes, capers, olives, aubergines, red onion, and garlic.’

Admittedly she called this relish ‘Cremonata’ rather than ‘Caponata!’

‘I knew I was close!’ she told Torode.

Monday’s show had seen Adam Woodyatt insist: ‘I don’t do a lot of cooking, I do a lot of eating’, which wasn’t a massive surprise to fans of EastEnders who’d seen Ian Beale turn into a Weeble.

Delish: Vicky produced a main course of 'monkfish spiced with cumin and coriander, served on a bed of crab crushed new potatoes, and a side stew consisting of tomatoes, capers, olives, aubergines, red onion, and garlic'

Delish: Vicky produced a main course of ‘monkfish spiced with cumin and coriander, served on a bed of crab crushed new potatoes, and a side stew consisting of tomatoes, capers, olives, aubergines, red onion, and garlic’

Show time: Vicky and Kellie were joined Adam Woodyatt and Tomasz Schafernaker

Show time: Vicky and Kellie were joined Adam Woodyatt and Tomasz Schafernaker

Four days later, amazingly he prepared a starter of ‘tuna tartare served with mango, avocado, chilli, radish, and a lovely ponzu soy.’

Pretty mouth-watering, especially if you liked ponzu…

His menu also promised fillet of beef with onion three ways – onion puree, onion crisp, and baked onion.

Pretty mouth-watering, especially if you liked, um, onion…

As for Tomasz Schafernaker, waiting for the judges’ verdict, he said: ‘I’ve absolutely pushed myself today. Whether it’s enough, I’m not sure. It’s a 50-50 chance isn’t it?’

With two of the four celebrities going through, mathematically yes, but no, not really.

Delight: John Torode and Gregg Wallace beamed as the contestants showed off their skills

Delight: John Torode and Gregg Wallace beamed as the contestants showed off their skills

In tun(a): Adam presented his tuna tartare, telling Alexis, Sophie, and the Reverend Richard: ¿The crisp bread was done, but it was too greasy so I didn't serve it to you!¿

In tun(a): Adam presented his tuna tartare, telling Alexis, Sophie, and the Reverend Richard: ‘The crisp bread was done, but it was too greasy so I didn’t serve it to you!’

Schafernaker had introduced himself on Monday by enthusing he had an ‘experimental’ approach (‘I will throw raisins and cashew nuts in with tuna!’) and then made seabass when the judges wanted the contestants to do curry.

Sadly he’d failed to learn his lesson(s), combining the two tonight by making a wilfully contrary, faux, ‘Thai green curry’ adorned inexplicably with avocado and tomatoes.

‘Making a curry look nice on a plate is tricky,’ Alexis Conran (The Real Hustle, The Durrells In Corfu, and Celebrity Masterchef 2016 winner) suggested bitchily as they waited.

To his credit, Tomasz had clearly realised this. To his shame, his solution was using pretentious oblong plates with the food arranged along it with a puddle of green curry separate from cubes of jasmine rice and sweet potato, two slithers of avocado, and three tiny vine tomatoes.

‘I’m trying to make it look like a picture!’ Tomasz told Torode and Wallace, bizarrely.

Relax: Gregg Wallace on the other hand loved it (naturally), analysing Woodyatt¿s starter in his usual forensic manner: by basically just listing the ingredients

Relax: Gregg Wallace on the other hand loved it (naturally), analysing Woodyatt’s starter in his usual forensic manner: by basically just listing the ingredients

Cooking up a storm: Tomasz Schafernaker, waiting for the judges¿ verdict, he said: 'I¿ve absolutely pushed myself today'

Cooking up a storm: Tomasz Schafernaker, waiting for the judges’ verdict, he said: ‘I’ve absolutely pushed myself today’

‘The tomatoes don’t belong there!’ tutted former Celebrity Masterchef semi-finalist and Communard, Richard Coles.

Not to be outdone, Alexis countered: ‘The sweet potato could have done with a tad more cooking.’

Even though he ‘loved the flavour’ of Tomasz’s banana sorbet, he couldn’t help positing: ‘There is an argument that it’s too simplistic at this stage of the competition.’

An argument he was clearly endorsing…

Adam Woodyatt was as chaotic and tactless as Ian Beale on a busy night in Walford East. He presented his tuna tartare, telling Alexis, Sophie, and the Reverend Richard: ‘The crisp bread was done, but it was too greasy so I didn’t serve it to you!’

Curry on: Schafernaker had introduced himself on Monday by enthusing he had an 'experimental' approach

Curry on: Schafernaker had introduced himself on Monday by enthusing he had an ‘experimental’ approach

Flavour-filled: Sadly he¿d failed to learn his lesson(s), combining the two tonight by making a wilfully contrary, faux, 'Thai green curry' adorned inexplicably with avocado and tomatoes

Flavour-filled: Sadly he’d failed to learn his lesson(s), combining the two tonight by making a wilfully contrary, faux, ‘Thai green curry’ adorned inexplicably with avocado and tomatoes

‘A bit of crisp bread would have given it some texture!’ concluded John Torode minutes later.

‘It lacked seasoning!’ lamented Coles.

‘I find it bland!’ tutted Conran. ‘All I’m getting is heat. There’s nothing else.’

Gregg Wallace on the other hand loved it (naturally), analysing Woodyatt’s starter in his usual forensic manner: by basically just listing the ingredients.

‘It’s got the bite of spring onion! It’s got the heat of chilli! It’s got some sweetness as well from that mango! The avocado gives it body!’

Woodyatt’s beef fillet came with onion two ways when he forgot to make the onion rings -something Alexis Conran seemed to take disproportionately badly/personally, whining: ‘I was promised a whole load of crispy onion!’

Judging: The former Celebrity Masterchef contestants tasted the food

Judging: The former Celebrity Masterchef contestants tasted the food

Impressive: Sophie loved Vicky Pattison¿s crab smashed potatoes though. ¿All the ideas here are really banging!¿ the 2014 champion said

Impressive: Sophie loved Vicky Pattison’s crab smashed potatoes though. ‘All the ideas here are really banging!’ the 2014 champion said

Sophie Thompson complained the puree was ‘very runny’, although to be fair it looked like baby food, except worse (baby food that a baby had sicked up).

Sophie loved Vicky Pattison’s crab smashed potatoes though.

‘All the ideas here are really banging!’ the 2014 champion said.

Richard Coles enjoyed it too, reverting to type slightly by concluding: ‘It’s obviously someone who rejoices in flavour and understands flavour.’

Amen.

Taking her apple tarte tatin out of the oven, Vicky became giddy with excitement, exclaiming to Torode and Wallace: ‘That is delicious!’

Inevitably, her dessert didn’t match Kellie Maloney’s though.

John Torode had already declared Maloney’s main course (hake and pardon peppers) as ‘without fault’ with Sophie Thompson concurring: ‘It’s the flaky hake we all hoped it would be.’

Quite.

Bake away: Taking her apple tarte tatin out of the oven, Vicky became giddy with excitement, exclaiming to Torode and Wallace: ¿That is delicious!¿

Bake away: Taking her apple tarte tatin out of the oven, Vicky became giddy with excitement, exclaiming to Torode and Wallace: ‘That is delicious!’

Delicious: John Torode had already declared Maloney¿s main course (hake and pardon peppers) as ¿without fault¿

Delicious: John Torode had already declared Maloney’s main course (hake and pardon peppers) as ‘without fault’

Kellie’s pudding was the only dish of the night that sounded so yummy it made you hungry: ‘Banana soufflé with a hint of coconut served with a passion fruit sauce.’

Of course soufflé is notoriously tricky.

‘I’m really nervous for her!’ Gregg Wallace boomed. ‘John, a banana is one of the heaviest fruits there is!’

Well let’s not exaggerate, as the Italians say…

Whether Kellie kneeling in front of the oven (praying for the soufflés to rise) worked, or she was just a really good cook you can decide for yourselves.

Either way, Kellie cackled with delight when they floated up perfectly.

‘Oh my giddy aunt!’ gasped Sophie Thompson after her first taste. ‘I can’t get over this pudding. This delicate cloud of soufflé…’

Success: Kellie¿s pudding was the only dish of the night that sounded so yummy it made you hungry: ¿Banana soufflé with a hint of coconut served with a passion fruit sauce'

Success: Kellie’s pudding was the only dish of the night that sounded so yummy it made you hungry: ‘Banana soufflé with a hint of coconut served with a passion fruit sauce’

‘This soufflé is the best thing I’ve ever eaten here,’ announced Conran as if he had been a judge for decades. ‘It’s absolutely flawless!’

John Torode’s compliment had rather more weight when he declared: ‘I would pay for those in a restaurant!’

Kellie Maloney capped off a night of triumph when Gregg asked why being on Masterchef, and going through to the semi-finals, clearly mattered so much.

‘The people I’ve met have been fantastic,’ Maloney said, adding: ‘and you two! I used to watch you on telly and think: ‘I hate you two. I thought we’d end up having an argument!’

Who knows, they still might.

On this evidence, the judges will probably have some explaining to do if they don’t end up making Kellie Maloney this year’s Celebrity Masterchef champion.

Excitement: Kellie Maloney capped off a night of triumph when Gregg asked why being on Masterchef, and going through to the semi-finals, clearly mattered so much

Excitement: Kellie Maloney capped off a night of triumph when Gregg asked why being on Masterchef, and going through to the semi-finals, clearly mattered so much