On Friday 29th November tensions mounted in School House as the coveted Masterchef trophy was up for grabs again. We waved goodbye to Angus Brown and Bertram Tam in the Semi Final and welcomed Josef Westgarth, Charlie Stephenson and 2012 winner Tom Savage into Sharon’s kitchen for the night.

The judges gathered at 19.30. The Headmaster, Mr and Mrs McVoy, Mr and Mrs Hattam, Mr Cooling, Sharon and Mr Hattam’s Mum Lynne were eager to start the evening.

Josef was first up with a Chicken Caesar Salad – it was crisp with a salty garnish of chicken and crispy bacon complementing it nicely. Homemade croutons and a tangy anchovy dressing with parmesan shavings topped it off. It was agreed that the anchovies were not distributed evenly in places and the dressing could have been dribbled more liberally but a very good effort.

Next up was Charlie who made a Tuna Pasta Bake with beans and a salad garnish. It was well presented with a tangy flavour to perfectly cooked pasta given by some balsamic vinegar which was a surprising and welcome addition. There was then discussion around what makes a bake, the fact some judges preferred to sprinkle their own parmesan and some would have preferred a crunchy topping. Charlie chose this dish because he enjoys eating it at home. Mr Cooling would eat it up a mountain and Mr and Mrs McVoy for dinner. It was well executed but possibly too simple for a final dish.

Finally last year’s winner Tom cooked pudding to defend the title. He made a Dark Chocolate Fondant with Orange and Lime Ice Cream. He had made the ice cream in advance and it was a real show stopper. Tangy and reminiscent of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange – where the idea for this course had come from. There were only two Fondants that had not collapsed when they reached the table – cue a long discussion about whether this had been an error – the taste made up for the presentation however and a small raspberry garnish gave rise to some debate, too. Everyone was in agreement that this dish had shown skill and thought however.

We had cogitated, deliberated and digested – it was time for a winner. Tom Savage pipped the others at the post to claim the very well deserved title of Masterchef Winner 2013 and we look forward to next year to see if he can make it a hat-trick.

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