THE PRESSURE of MasterChef has caused many a cook to crumble.
So you can imagine the stress heaped on a novice.
Today that newbie was I, as judge Marcus Wareing challenged me to take on one of his skills tests.
Alongside three other wannabes I was asked to prepare Bangers and Mash with an onion and stout gravy.
It is the same test the real chefs are set in tonight’s MasterChef: The Professionals.
The difference being they are simply handed the ingredients and asked to get cooking.
Thankfully us novices were allowed to watch Marcus at work first.
I started out with confidence – I know my way around a kitchen and can usually follow a recipe with success.
But this was entirely different. We had no list of weights and measures and had to memorise the method.
And things took a turn for the terrifying when Marcus revealed we had to caramelise our onions by using a blowtorch to burn off the brandy.
This was no beans on toast.
As I headed to my workbench my head was swirling with instructions.
The clock started – with just 20 minutes to create the dish.
One pan of burnt onions and a flaming sprig of rosemary later, I cobbled together a plate of food and liberally added butter to my mash.
"My heart was beating out my chest"
When they called time my heart was beating out my chest.
I can understand why even the most professional chefs struggle under the spotlight.
Marcus was impressed with my presentation but said my sauce was too sloppy.
I’ll stick to my trusty Bisto next time.
MasterChef: The Professionals, starts tonight, 7.35pm and 8.30pm, on BBC One and catch up on iPlayer
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