Lorna through to last ten of MasterChef
A Berwick woman has made it through to the final ten of BBC cookery show MasterChef.
Lorna Robertson came through her first minor blip in last night’s episode.
The 22-year-old made a butternut squash and sage tortellini with a pumpkin veloute, sage brown butter sauce, topped with pancetta and pine nuts.
“I’ve done a lot of game before already so didn’t want to cook that again and I wanted to do something that was maybe a little bit different to what everyone else was doing,” she told presenter Gregg Wallace.
However, guest judge, Scottish chef Tom Kitchin, said: “The filling in the tortellini is very, very good but the pasta is too thick. At this level it just needs that little bit more finesse but the marriage, the idea, it could have been brilliant.”
Presenter John Torode said: “The sauce is thin and it shouldn’t be. The flavours are good but the pasta lets the dish down.”
Fellow presenter Gregg Wallace added: “I think with thinner pasta we may have all been discussing this dish differently but such small margins are what divides the okay from the good.”
Lorna admitted afterwards: “I do feel a bit deflated. The standard is so high and everyone else’s food looks so good that it comes down to the smallest things.”
However, Gregg and John felt that Lorna’s effort was ‘good enough’ to get through.
Earlier, she had her first experience of cooking in a professional kitchen under the watchful eye of Steve Groves, head chef at Rouz at Parliament Square, winner of MasterChef: The Professionals in 2009.
Lorna was in charge of the starter, Orkney scallops with crab served with apple dashi, a Japanese broth.
Steve Groves admitted it was a very challenging dish that even his own chefs would struggle with.
Although she struggled with speed at the start, Lorna was congratulated and got a hearty ‘well done’ on her efforts.
“I didn’t make any mistakes and I didn’t make a fool out of myself and I got a handshake at the end so I think I did a good job,” said Lorna.
That was backed up by Gregg and John.
“That’s a very pretty and accomplished dish,” said Gregg.
“Lorna’s done very, very well,” added John.
Lorna said: “It was a lot of fun. I learnt a lot about how to work quickly and efficiently.
Previously, Lorna had impressed judges at every stage of her journey to the knockout stages of the BBC One show.
Lorna told presenters Gregg Wallace and John Torode: “This has just been the most mind-blowing experience from start to finish.”
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On Monday night, it was her mouth-watering roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, with braised red cabbage, roast potatoes, red wine sauce and a cauliflower cheese puree which won the plaudits.
John said: “It’s fantastic. It tastes like roast dinner at home but it looks special.”
In her quarter final, the challenge set by restaurant critic Jay Rayner was to cook a savoury dish that showcased aubergine or a dessert with honey as the star.
Lorna decided to make an organge blossom pistachio and honey frangipane tart topped with chopped figs with a salted pistachio ice cream, crystalised rose petals and honeycomb.
She admitted it was ‘quite terrifying’ to be cooking for Jay Rayner.
However, she had nothing to worry about as she presented a beautifully prepared dish.
Jay Rayner said: “It looks gorgeous, it is gorgeous and it’s a brilliant piece of technical cookery as well and I can taste the honey so it’s delivered on all the things I was hoping for. I love it.”
John and Gregg were equally impressed.
John said: “You made your own pastry, you made your own ice cream, you’ve done your own frangipane, you’ve done your own honeycomb and then put it all on a plate and taken real care. I think that’s just delicious.”
Gregg said it was ‘absolutely delightful’ and ‘very sophisticated’.
Lorna, who describes herself as a creative cook who doesn’t mind experimenting with different flavours, was delighted with the comments.
“To get feedback like that from the three judges was just out of this world, amazing, such an incredible feeling,” she said.
In her first round, she made a faultless prawn linguine to get through.
Then she had to cook two courses for three former winners – Peter Bayless, James Nathan and Mat Follas.
Her venison carpaccio starter and roast grouse main was comfortably good enough to make it through.
Lorna, who did work experience with the Berwick Advertiser and spent time as a reporter with our other Tweeddale titles, now lives in London where she works for a foodie PR firm.
MasterChef is on again tonight at 8.30pm on BBC One.
In this edition the contenders have just one challenge - to secure their place by winning over judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace with a showstopper dish prepared in just 90 minutes. Only nine will become semi-finalists, inching closer to being crowned the series champion of 2017. For one therefore, the MasterChef dream will be over.