Contestants face off in the Maggi Food Court fried battle
The Maggi Food Court Caribbean battle heats up with every new challenge, and the piercing stares of the jurors heighten the tension in the kitchen as they watch the defendants try to manipulate the tools on their battlefield, all for the title of The Maggie Food Court Champion and the US$10,000 cash prize.
The fourth episode was a true test of culinary mastery, time management and creativity. Dubbed ‘Battle-fry’, contestants had to go way beyond the basics of frying to impress the jurors and the resident judge.
Jamaica’s Cardel Alcock and Trinidad’s Marlon Timothy were the first to enter the food court.
Alcock, a proud father of two, is a treasured part of the Courtleigh Hotel Suites. His co-workers are a big part of his support system as they believe in his immense talent and promise. His competitor, Timothy, is also a well-respected chef at 12 By Rishi in Trinidad. He is described as an aggressive competitor who is creative and innovative.
Both men were given 45 minutes to present arguments using nothing but their culinary expertise. They eagerly set out on a quest to prepare Maggi-inspired dishes. It was quite obvious that they were comfortable in the kitchen as they gathered all their ingredients in a matter of minutes.
The progress on the floor seemed a little too comfortable for juror Natasha De Bourg. She stepped in and snatched Alcock’s mango, which was the foundation of his sauce and Timothy’s actual sauce which was also an essential ingredient in his dish.
With the missing pieces, the chefs had to employ the tricky variable of improvisation. They enhanced their dishes with different Maggi products in an impressive sprint to the finish line.
Alcock presented Maggi jerk chicken breast served with smoked crusted potato and seasonal vegetables, topped with a curry-crusted sauce. Juror, Janille O’Brien, expressed satisfaction with the sauce; however, fellow juror, Daniel Caron was unimpressed with the potatoes as they were soggy.
Timothy managed to plate his dish in the nick of time. His homemade tortilla Maggi seasoned salsa topped with fried fish. The crunch of the fish was great for Natasha and Daniel.
In the end, the jurors ruled that they “both fell short on time management and the doneness” of their dishes. However, the judges deemed that what Chef Marlon lacked in time management, he made up for taste and picked him as the first semi-finalist.
THE ‘MAGGI-CAL’ TOUCH
The second set of contestants were Marcella Evans-Ingram from the Bahamas and Laneil Doyley from Jamaica. They were placed under the same circumstances with the same rubric as the first.
Like many Caribbean children, Evans-Ingram was introduced to the kitchen by her grandmother. Among her favourites were homemade bread, crab and rice and fried fish. At 26, Doyley is the head chef at Vista Ridge Vacation Villa. This round certainly had the makings of a good competition as both chefs were qualified and equally determined to compete.
Doyley opened the competition by professing his love for the Maggi All-Purpose Seasoning with his rationale being the rich flavour it adds to each dish. Evans-Ingram also had great praises for the particular additive but infused the Maggi fish seasoning and coconut milk to perfect her dish.
As is customary, juror O’Brian removed two very hot exhibits from the kitchen. Doyley lost his pumpkin and carrot but seemed unbothered, while his Bahamian competitor was very sad to lose her potatoes which were key to her garlic mash.
At the end of the battle, the jurors had difficulty choosing just one dish. They were thoroughly impressed with the execution of both of the defendants. Evans-Ingram was, however, selected as the winner as her pan-fried snapper fillet, coupled with her deep-fried lobster and coconut-infused shrimp, was quite pleasing to the jurors.
Doyley was left disappointed even though his pork schnitzel with lemon thyme cream sauce was well received by the judges.
A SALTY FINALE
Things got a little more interesting with two experienced and hungry chefs on either side of the battlefield. Marlon Timothy and Marcella Evans-Ingram were now up for a spot in the semi-finals.
The last challenge of the show was the biggest one yet. The chefs were thrown a curve ball when they were given salt fish, Nesquik and almond milk to make what would be the deciding dish of the day. It was an even bigger curve for Evans-Ingram, who had no experience with salt fish. This resulted in a poor decision of frying the ingredient, which spoiled her very attractive meal.
Chef Timothy’s blend of seasonings worked well with the salt fish and almond milk in his creamy Maggi Nesquick Almond soup. This landed him a semi-finalist spot.