It's the most successful cookery television format in the world having been adapted in 52 countries and viewed by over 250 million people worldwide. Now the MasterChef TV Experience is going from screen to plate with a new restaurant in Dubai. It's a world first, and Euronews' Jane Witherspoon went to check it out.
Shaun O’Neale was champion of MasterChef US Season 7. He says the contest was one of the most stressful and hardest things he's ever done.
"You've got Gordon Ramsay screaming down your throat if you're not doing something right. But, it was the most rewarding thing, the most fulfilling thing. It really showed me my true passion and my true love for food. So it's about time for people to come in and experience and get a taste of that mystery box."
Running the show
In charge of the kitchen, the restaurant's Head Chef, Margarita Vaamonde-Beggs. She says the MasterChef brand is a perfect fit for a restaurant - and for Dubai.
"I believe that we stand out for us because we have already a huge fan base. In the Dubai market, it’s a city of foodies and it means something to so many people around the world."
The Mystery Box
One highlight on the menu is based on the show's 'Mystery Box' challenge. Guests choose secret ingredients from the box and chefs have 35 minutes to create an original dish.
And that's the dish Euronews wants.
Today the Mystery Box ingredients include black garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, fresh oregano and a variety of mushrooms.
They look delicious but will barely more than half-an-hour be enough time to turn them into a meal?
Chef Margarita isn't worried: "We are going to be on time. It's going to be fine."
It gets down to wire but 35 minutes later, with not a second to spare, Chef Margarita has produced a mouth-watering stuffed raviolo, covered with chocolate and black garlic.
Not only does it taste amazing, it looks wonderful too.
"I want you to enjoy," Chef Margarita explains. "Food comes through the eyes first."
Here's the recipe for Chef Margarita's Euronews Mystery Box
Mushrooms, Brie and Quail egg Raviolo with Asparagus and Chocolate Sauce (Serves 2)
400g mixed mushrooms (you can buy a mixed packet with your favorite varieties)
4 cloves of black garlic
1 banana shallot finely chopped
Quail eggs (1 per raviolo)
4 cloves garlic
5 pieces of white jumbo asparagus
250g all-purpose flour
4 fresh egg yolks
120g brie cheese
Caramel chocolate coins (to your taste)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
75ml light soy sauce
25ml olive oil
For the pasta dough: In a mixing bowl, add the all-purpose flour, egg yolks, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix all ingredients together until you form the dough – you can add a drizzle of cold water if necessary, to create a strong dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest in the chiller for at least 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes start to work it with either a pasta machine or a rolling pin if you don’t have one. Make a pasta sheet paper thin, no thicker than 2 or 3 mm. Cut the desired shapes for your ravioli, either with a round cookie cutter or a wide glass. You will need two sheets per ravioli.
For the stuffing: Place the mixed mushrooms on a tray and sprinkle them with olive oil and soy sauce. Roast them for a short while in a hot oven until they are brown and look slightly dry (300 C). Let them cool down and finely chop half of the amount. Add the black garlic (to your taste) and continue chopping. Add some fresh chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
Soft poached quail eggs: Bring a small pot of water to the boil, add white vinegar and a pinch of salt. Stir until you the water swirls. Crack the quail egg adding it in the middle of the swirl, so the movement covers the yolk with the white. Once the egg white is cooked enough to pick it up with a spoon (yolk still soft) take it out of the water directly into an ice bath and let it rest until the next step.
Filling your ravioli: Place a spoonful of the stuffing in the center of one of your already cut pasta sheets, put 3 small cubes of brie cheese and 1 very soft poached quail egg nested in the middle. Brush the edges of the pasta dough with some egg wash (raw eggs beaten with a bit of water) and put the other pasta sheet on top to cover the ravioli, making sure there’s no air bubbles inside and being careful not to squeeze the soft poached quail egg inside.
For the sauce: Shave off the outside layer of the asparagus to remove all the rough fibers, slice it into small discs and keep the tips for garnish. On the stove add olive oil and butter into a pot. Once melted, add chopped shallots and chopped garlic – let them sweat but not get any coloration. Add the asparagus and stir for around 2 minutes before adding the milk until completely covered. Season with salt and pepper and cook until nice and soft. Put all in a blender and mix until smooth before passing it through a fine strainer to remove all the extra fibers, leaving a silky sauce.
Place the asparagus “cream” in a pot and add the caramel chocolate (to your taste) along with cubes of brie cheese. Let the cheese and the chocolate blend and check the final seasoning. I always like to add a small dash of fresh lemon juice to cut through the richness of the cheese and the chocolate.
Put your ravioli in a pot of boiling water and some salt to cook for three minutes. In a large pan add butter, shallots, fresh thyme, the asparagus tips and the remaining roasted mushrooms. Sautee them both until nice and golden before adding salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice at the end.
For plating: Place a spoonful of sauce on the plate and put the ravioli on top (2 or 3 per person), place some of the sautéed mushrooms and cauliflower tips around the plate, before adding more sauce on top of the ravioli along with a few cubes of brie cheese. Finish by grating the remaining chocolate with a fine grater on top.
Learn more about the MasterChef TV Experience here:www.masterchefdxb.com