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Macarons and More chef Tim Kinnaird returns to the MasterChef Kitchen

PUBLISHED: 12:52 02 March 2018

Tim Kinnaird, Dhruv Baker and Alex Rushmer return to MasterChef as guest judges (C) Shine TV Ltd

Tim Kinnaird, Dhruv Baker and Alex Rushmer return to MasterChef as guest judges (C) Shine TV Ltd

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Macaron master Tim Kinnaird was back in front of the MasterChef cameras with friends Alex Rushmer and Dhruv Baker to appear as guest judges - just what did the Norfolk-based patissier make of the dishes he ate?

Masterchef's John Torode and Gregg Wallace (C) Shine TV Ltd Masterchef's John Torode and Gregg Wallace (C) Shine TV Ltd

Norfolk’s macaron maestro Tim Kinnaird has been back in the MasterChef kitchens with fellow 2010 alumni Alex Rushmer and Dhruv Baker to help judge the cooking competition’s quarter finals.

MasterChef has returned for its 14th series as 56 amateur cooks try to prove to judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace that they have the potential to be the 2018 champion – in the second episode of the series, seven cooks took on the MasterChef Market challenge which whittled down the competition to four contestants.

The four remaining cooks, Richard, Zaleha, Alex and Jamie, then made two of their own dishes for John, Gregg, Alex, Dhruv and Tim, who was a paediatrican at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital but started a new career after being a finalist on MasterChef 2010 and will shortly celebrate the fifth birthday of his Royal Arcade cake shop, Macarons and More.

Alex Rushmer ran his own restaurant, The Hole in the Wall, in Cambridge but despite being listed in The Sunday Times’ Top 100 restaurants, closed last year to focus on different areas of cooking while Dhruv Baker was crowned winner of MasterChef in 2010 and has gone on to work at some of the UK’s top restaurants including Le Gavroche and The Connaught before opening his own gastropub, The Jolly Gardeners in London.

Masterchef 2010 finalists Dhruv Baker, Tim Kinnaird and Alex Rushmer (C) BBC Masterchef 2010 finalists Dhruv Baker, Tim Kinnaird and Alex Rushmer (C) BBC

The three have remained great friends and are regular guest judges on the competition where they met on the sixth series and finished as finalists in a competition which saw them cook for the country’s most renowned critics and at Michelin-starred restaurants and serve a banquet for the Maharajah of Rajastan and his family at a royal palace.

“We’re not expecting a new food trend to emerge today, we just want some tasty food cooked well with a bit of enthusiasm and a bit of love behind it and you can spot that…you can taste it,” said Tim before sitting down with his fellow judges to a quartet of dishes.

Firstly, Richard cooked a cep tortellini with chanterelles, pine nuts and a sage and butter sauce followed by barbecue hanger steak with anchovy and caper butter, served with a baked potato, corn and lettuce with a ranch dressing.

“He’s done a brilliant job at getting the pasta right abd the technical skill at getting that right is impressive,” said Tim, with fellow judges agreeing the dish was ‘almost perfect’ – John Torode said the dish was “a grind of pepper away from being exceptional”.

Of Richard’s steak dish, Tim said: “He’s got to spend some time and love with the hangar steak so he cooks it right and the only way you can do that is to pay it some attention. It’s not something you can just whack on and come back 10 minutes later and flip it over and cross your fingers…”

When he ate the dish, which was served a minute late, he said: “I like beef with a bit of chew to it, but there is quite a lot of texture here…”

Alex cooked Pasteis de Bacalhau (salt cod fritters) served with a tomato and broad bean salsa, lemon mayonnaise and parsley powder and Carne De Porco a Alentejana (pork and clams) served with chips.

“I can eat an indefinite number of these!” said Tim of the fritters, while of the pork dish he said: “It’s visually quite understated but it’s so beautifully seasoned and the pork is tender and the little salty clams, they’re really not chips but they’re cute things and perfect for this.”

Jamie’s dishes were king scallops on Indonesian spiced noodles with a prawn broth and Balinese chicken with fragrant rice and coconut potatoes with a mango and pineapple ketchup.

“It feels like you could take four hours to make a proper prawn broth to get the flavours in…if they could do that, job’s a good one!” said Tim, but then he tried the scallops and said: “I’m a bit saddened by it. I’m not enjoying it, I’m afraid.”

Of the chicken dish, Tim said: “It’s a funny old business, this. I’m struggling to comprehend how this all goes together. The chicken tastes like it’s almost stuffed with frangipane…like he’s got Bakewell tart filling. And the sauce is almost like a smoothie.”

Zaleha cooked Malaysian fish cakes and mango and pepper salad with a sweet chilli sauce and Gulai Pahang, a Malaysian chicken curry with a tomato rice and a pineapple and cucumber pickle: “What she’s done really well is the contrasting bits and pieces that nice spicy chilli sauce to with it and a really fresh and refreshing salsa to go on the side…it’s absolutely delicious,” he said, before trying Zaleha’s curry, which was served four minutes late: “she’s a little bit late but you’d almost queue up for this food. I would wait another hour for this!”

After the judges’ comments were taken into account, Jamie was sent home and the remaining three cooks went through to the third episode and the quarter final.

On Twitter, Tim - who also runs a cookery school - said the appearance on the BBC1 show had been: “almost the most fun you can have with two of the finest people I know - televised...Thanks for having us, MasterChef, delicious food (mostly) and equally good company.”

• MasterChef is on Mondays at 9pm and Thursdays at 8pm for an hour and on Fridays for half an hour at 7.30pm.

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