Hello everyone, I'm Michelle. I'm a writer and, well, just not a very good cook. And this is Reynold, the "king of desserts" from MasterChef. So I guess you could say he's a very good cook.
Recently, because I love pain and despair, I agreed to let Reynold put me through a MasterChef-style Pressure Test.
A Pressure Test requires you to recreate a recipe under a time limit. You get to see and taste the dish before cooking then you're given the recipe, and you're on your way. But before we get into it, I'm just going to reiterate, once more, that I am a shit cook.
He got me to try and make one of his signature desserts, The Little Garden.
The first thing I had to do was try to memorise everything: the number of torched mandarin segments, the thickness of the ganache, the type of flowers. EVERYTHING.
After seeing, tasting, and trying to lock the memory of everything in my mind, I started my two hours of pure hell.
I started with the first step which was the ganache. It seemed simple to begin with and everything was going great until I realised I didn't follow the recipe correctly.
Turns out that an important step in cooking with recipes you've never seen before is, you know, reading ahead and multi-tasking.
So, with my ganache pretty fucked up but as good as it was going to get, I decided to move onto my ice cream. And boy, oh boy, did I really fuck that up.
Like, I don't actually know how it got to this point. The cooking process was going fine, but when I went to strain it, it was a lumpy mess. I did try to blend it back together in an attempt to save it, before putting it in the ice cream machine and praying to the gods for the best.
From that point on I was determined to read ahead and not ruin anything else. You know, for the sake of my pride and for Reynold's tastebuds at the end of my two hours.
There were a few bumps in the road while trying to make the chocolate soil but some innovative thinking (aka the presence of a stand mixer) really saved my ass.
However, the same really couldn't be said about my honeycomb.
Look, no one tells you just how damn complex making honeycomb actually is. You need a THERMOMETER for the sugar. The sugar needs to be heated to EXACTLY 160°C and you can only whisk in the bi-carb for a certain amount of time otherwise it burns???? Nah, fam. That's honestly too much work.
And even though I could've burnt down Reynold's kitchen and almost set off the fire alarms, I thought he could've been a little bit more understanding.
Anyway, after all the honeycomb smoke settled, I prepared the rest of my elements so they'd be ready for the five minutes I had to plate.
Even though most of my elements were... not great, I thought that my perfectionist ways would mean my plating would be on point.
But you don't really take into account the pressure of someone yelling a numbers at you while you try to quenelle ice cream.
Despite it all, I didn't think mine looked too far off the original.
But Reynold had some differing opinions on my dish.
Look, let's be real, anything in a bowl is better than nothing in a bowl.
At the end of the day, even with my curdled ice cream and burnt honeycomb, we agreed that it didn't actually taste all that bad.
Which just goes to show, sometimes you can't judge a dish by all its burnt and ugly components.