I’ve always wanted to visit Auberge du Pommier, Michael Bonacini’s landmark Toronto restaurant, but haven’t gotten the chance. Yet. In the meantime, Thursday’s new episode of MasterChef Canada opened the doors on the property’s 30th anniversary and let the home cooks in to run the kitchen. The fact it was Auberge du Pommier was stressful enough but during the third decade of business? Crazy.
Not that their performance would sink the place—the restaurant takeovers are packed with network folks and special guests (including the Your Morning crew) of the production rather than paying customers—but still.
After a week off, “Auberge Anniversary,” returned with the Top 6 heading into the kitchen to prepare dishes for dinner service. Barrie and Aaron, who made the best Scotch eggs two weeks ago, were the captains of their teams. Barrie picked Trevor and Mai while Aaron chose Thea and Miranda. At first blush, it looked like Barrie had the best squad, a trio of folks who were not only strong in the kitchen but stellar at plating. But would tables of patrons cause them to wilt under the pressure and send Barrie’s team to the Pressure Test?
I must say that making two appetizers and two mains with just three people seemed like a daunting task … and a little unfair if you ask me. I hate it when culinary competitions throw a small number of cooks into a kitchen when the fact is a phalanx of chefs would be there during a full-on service. Still, it does make for good TV, and we certainly got that on Thursday. Duck consommé en croute, artichoke salad, beef tenderloin and ham-wrapped monkfish proved to be a challenge during prep and service to the 52 “customers.” In the early going, Barrie crumbled and Trevor stepped in to take over while Aaron was running a tight ship. Of course, the tide quickly changed for the mains and the beef tenderloins flummoxed both squads. Trevor’s meat wasn’t cooked enough and Aaron’s were just plain burned.
In the early going, Barrie crumbled and Trevor stepped in to take over while Aaron was running a tight ship. Of course, the tide quickly changed for the mains and beef tenderloins flummoxed both squads. Trevor’s meat wasn’t cooked enough and Aaron’s were just plain burned. Adding insult to injury? Chef Michael came back into the kitchen and told Aaron the error of his ways. The red team got their mains out and blue struggled to keep up, but then ironed out issues after Aaron let go of his pride and let Miranda help him. After the judges tasted plates from each team, they awarded the win to Barrie’s red team and blue were headed to the Pressure Test.
Moroccan vegetable tagine with herbed couscous was on tap for Aaron, Thea and Miranda, and only Aaron had any experience with it. But as much as he thought he knew what he was doing, Chef Claudio thought he was overthinking it. Miranda’s plate was given high marks from Claudio and Chef Alvin, Thea’s looked good but fell short on flavour and she was convinced she was headed home. Claudio and Michael criticized Aaron’s tagine for having too much clove in it and making the plate bitter. So, who out of Aaron and Thea was going home? Aaron … but it wasn’t all bad. Michael offered him a gig at his new Oliver & Bonacini restaurant in Montreal.
MasterChef Canada airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.
Images courtesy of Bell Media.