Belfast Telegraph

It’s murder in the kitchen of Orient Express for Dick Strawbridge

By Heather McGarrigle

Dick Strawbridge is no stranger to high-pressure situations after 21 years of military service.

But few will have prepared him for wielding an enormous kitchen knife while on a high-speed train.

The 100-year-old Orient Express, famed for luxury travel and fine dining, was the setting for last night’s BBC Celebrity Masterchef.

The Northern Ireland celebrity displayed characteristic cool as he prepared wafer-thin slivers of meat as the train hurtled through the English countryside.

He created a complicated starter of beef carpaccio, accompanied by oyster emulsion, fennel and celeriac salad and champagne caviar.

Whilst his presentation was described by judge Gregg Wallace as first class, the “too fishy” oyster emulsion was unpopular with diners. The next challenge saw the former Lieutenant-Colonel receiving his orders from a Michelin-starred chef.

A strict, detailed set of instructions guided Dick through the preparation and cooking of kid goat assiette with aubergine and basil puree and potato and parmesan gnocchi.

This time there was a cleaver in his hand as he got to grips with butchering the goat carcass.

He carefully chopped it into five different parts and set about braising the shoulder.

The gnocchi and four other parts of the kid had to be prepared at the last minute.

Strawbridge’s military timing served him well as he brought the elements of the complicated main course together.

Five top chefs were waiting to pass their expert judgement on the efforts of the celebrity cooks.

They found fault with the tough meat but declared the sauce “worthy of three Michelin stars”.

An exhausted-looking Strawbridge said he was delighted with the comments.

Ahead of the final ‘cook-off’ tonight, presenter Greg Wallace said the competition was “still a three-horse race”.

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