"Kids wouldn't eat that," she snorted at the TV. "It's so boring. Why is he so boring?"
Suffice to say, her verdict didn't exactly inspire me to watch the rest of the programme, so I decided to watch Masterchef: The Professionals (BBC2, 8.00pm, 23 September) instead. And I'm so glad I did. What a bunch of deluded fools! It was hilarious. These so-called professionals couldn't make a decent omelette, let alone shuck an oyster or fillet a fish.
What really put the lie to the claim they possessed any genuine talent was the fact all three contestants who'd made it through the culinary expertise and skills tests went on to undercook the chicken. THE CHICKEN. I couldn't believe Gregg Wallace and fellow judge Michel Roux Jnr tasted the rest of the dish without spitting anything out. I felt queasy just watching them.
Needless to say, the winner was posh private chef Marianne, who'd offended once on the undercooked poultry front, having already dished up quail so rare it could have walked off the plate. But clearly this was not a contest in which it mattered if the diner lived to tell the tale. As long as the food was presented fancily and the rest of it tasted all right, you were home and dry. OK, I exaggerate slightly. Some rounds were pretty tough. In one, the chefs had to recreate classic dishes brandade de Nîmes and madeleines with a sabayon cream, for instance (admit it, you haven't got a clue either) and they did so with reasonable aplomb.
But otherwise, the level of incompetence was jaw-dropping and not just when it came to the so-called professional chefs. Roux showed up the witless Wallace for the idiot he is. Most of the time, the Michelin-starred chef's judgement was so spot on, Wallace could do little more than parrot what had just been said or offer half-hearted praise to counter Roux's criticism. What joy to see the sweet-toothed one finally get his just desserts.