This week marked the return of MasterChef (BBC1, 9pm, 12 March and 8.30pm, 13 March). And phew, it stuck to the tried and tested formula rather than trying something new as it did in 2011 with the much derided X Factor-style auditions. All the familiar ingredients were in place: the ebullient, pudding-loving Gregg Wallace the more serious, quietly spoken John Torode and the usual motley contestants, some very talented, some highly deluded.
That’s not to say a few new ones weren’t chucked into the mix - notably the palate test. In the second episode, this involved Torode cooking a pigeon wellington with glazed shallots and the contestants trying to guess the ingredients before cooking it themselves. Easier said than done. Only one identified the pigeon and when it came to recreating the dish, although they all correctly picked the pigeon from the ingredients they’d been given (some of which were not in the dish), they pretty much all overcooked it - and Ingrid dished up what could only be called a great big sausage roll.
If it weren’t for the bigger mess Rob made of his sauce she’d have been out. Instead, he walked and she lived to fight another day. I was worried that when rival Emily crashed and burned in the round judged by previous MasterChef winners (her lamb dish delivered sans lamb), Ingrid would get through despite her iffy dishes. But she didn’t have a chance against the talented James and Dale, with their perfectly executed (if not complicated) dishes. They’ll no doubt discover cooking DOES get tougher than this.