Belfast Telegraph

Old soldier Dick gets dressing-down for sauce

By Heather McGarrigle

Northern Ireland TV personality Dick Strawbridge travelled across Europe for the first of this week’s three instalments of the Celebrity Masterchef final.

Dick, Lisa Faulkner and Christine Hamilton were given a masterclass in creating two classic sauces — a white sauce, or béchamel, and a red wine reduction on last night’s show.

Disaster occurred when his béchamel burned, forcing him to start all over again. It was criticised for not being cooked enough; however, a smile appeared behind the famous moustache when presenter Greg Wallace said he loved the “deep, fruity and rich” red wine reduction Dick had created.

Next, they were whisked off on the Eurostar to cook for some of the world's most discerning culinary critics — the French. The famous wannabe chefs had two-and-a-half hours to prepare lunch for 10 dancers at the iconic Moulin Rouge.

Dick was charged with dessert, a fruity extravanganza of panna cotta with a strawberry coulis and sorbet and fruit compote with lemon sorbet.

He confided: “I can't afford to mess up. At this stage, if you stumble, there's no time to recover.”

On day two, it was off to the heart of France's Champagne region to cook a three-course meal at a prestigious champagne house.

A lamb fillet encroute accompanied by pea gnocchi, a chorizo and pea jus and chorizo-stuffed tomato, Dick acknowledged it wasn't the kind of cuisine he was used to. “There's not enough substance. It's got no potatoes!”

The gnocchi was slammed as “bland” but Dick’s passion for food shone through, with his lamb described as “professional quality”.

Looking ahead to the next leg of the final, Strawbridge said: “I don’t know what they’re going to throw at us next, but I want to be the Masterchef champion.”

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