Updated: Jan 21

Well! That was intense wasn't it!

By now you will have seen the final edited version of the MasterChef: The Professionals Rematch 2019 show...it was a crazy 48 hours of filming aside from the actual competition itself, so we thought we'd give you a sneaky peak under the hood of what that entailed!

When I was first approached by the Production team I was naturally excited, but also the feelings of fear and dread were there too...the MasterChef kitchen has been the graveyard of many a chef's career...but it can also shape and mould skills as I learnt the first time round. Being under the spotlight will do that to you...the process really forces you to discover yourself as a Chef and to find what it is that makes your food different. Whilst I have never been more confident in the style of food I do now, nothing compares to cooking in such a short time frame, with the aim to wow the judges and complete it all in time... whilst being filmed! 

Not only that but the chefs I was cooking alongside are amazing. For those who follow my personal instagram account on instagram (@chefmichelletrusselle) you may of noticed that I actually joined Adam Handling for a day at his restaurant The Frog not too long ago and celebrated my wedding anniversary there. I had a fantastic time there and his food is definitely a must try! Sven's food also showcases a real farm to fork ethos as he's inspired by the fields and pastures of Melbourne Estate in South Derbyshire and brings it to your plate. He is actually hosting an event at Carousel, I'll be there on Friday sitting down at his supper club and I honestly can't wait.

This time round was a little different though as for the second year running MasterChef had hit the road to catch up with five of the competition’s most successful past contestants, whose careers have been transformed since competing. I assume in a way that would appeal to nervous potential contestants that need a bit of encouragement...I know I certainly did back then...

Naturally, I have been immensely proud of my achievements during the first time I was in the MasterChef kitchen, but more importantly how it helped me to shape my vision of what 'my' food should be and to have the encouragement I needed to start on the journey that is Myristica.

The filming crew are awesome people, experienced and highly professional. They work incredibly hard to get as much footage as possible to showcase everything correctly, us chefs thought we done long hours - these guys are incredible! I remember from my first time being on the show it was amazing to see how many days of filming actually ended up being one episode! I add now that I am referring to all the background information and other shots, when you are in the kitchen under a time constraint you are not allowed extra time!  

Whilst I can't share too much with you, as the secrets that make MasterChef so successful are closely guarded, what I wanted to do is to share some special insights of the days spent filming to make the whole experience more real...so here are our favourite snaps of the filming in the Myristica kitchen and then the supper club itself...enjoy!

Scroll down a little further for the highlight reel of the show, the full version is available via BBCiPlayer too.

So what's next for Myristica? Well...I will be taking a few days off as there are a few dishes I am working on to be ready for our first supper club of the year which will be in February. With all of our scheduled 2020 dates sold out we have decided to release more dates. So if you'd like to dine with us then head to the Myristica Home Page and join us as a subscriber to know first when we release more dates! Also, if there's a sold out date you'd like to attend, simply email us the date and amount of tickets you would like so we can add you to The Waiting List.

Having decided to focus all of my efforts on developing Myristica, 2020 will be an interesting year for us, we remain very thankful for all the support from you guys as our clients and look forward to developing new dishes for you to try in the months to come...

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The lush vegetation of the Caribbean is every Chef's dream...a larder crammed full with colour, variety and of course, taste. The nations of the Caribbean produce literally millions of tonnes of bananas each year alone and these are exported worldwide, but it doesn't stop there. There are hundreds of vegetables to experiment with, the starchy tubers such as yam, taro, cassava and eddoes found at the root of plants, up to coconuts at the top of the swaying palms found along the coast...fruit and vegetables are everywhere you look!

Mangoes ready to be picked!

A short trip into the centre of the Caribbean Islands shows a bounteous bonanza of ingredients just waiting to be used...mangoes, nutmeg, pineapple, bananas, soursop, papaya - just to name a few, all grow by the roadside. The Caribbean is a rich habitat mostly due to the ideal climate and also the volcanic soil which supports such eclectic plant life.

At Myristica, we look to experiment with different flavour combinations to highlight the incredible produce from this region. Other times we depend on age old pairings such as pineapple & coconut, but delivered in a different way.

Frequently, we are discovering new ingredients, which inspire us to continue on our culinary journey. For example, on a trip to Shepherd's Bush Market (in our native West London) we came across a type of Caribbean squash called a 'Christophine' (also known as a Chayote) which we've seen countless times, but never really got to know. We took it back to the kitchen and tried it raw, blanched and baked. This way we can explore its taste using various cooking methods. Occasionally e use it to add 'bite' to a savoury dish, or to give a crisp and clean taste to a course... but between you and I...we are still experimenting with it!

Breadfruit growing on trees often found by the roadside

To us, that is the beauty of Caribbean Food, there is much to still be discovered. Whether that be unusual and versatile vegetables and fruits, or even if we are familiar with them (such as Breadfruit), how they can be used in our dishes.

We are continually learning new things about what these ingredients can do. This is the journey of Myristica and we have only really just begun!

A course of ours: A tasting of breadfruit. Breadfruit layers with a bay leaf powder, bread fruit veloute, bay leaf oil, breadfruit & bay foam and burnt onion powder

The delicious plentiful vegetables and fruits that are native to the Caribbean make getting your 'five-a-day' pretty easy. These plants are an important part of local culture and are celebrated in various creative ways throughout the Caribbean. One of our personal favourites comes from an Artist known as Macka B from the Island of Jamaica. Have a listen to the way he makes an awesome Reggae song about his favourite vegetable - the humble Cucumber...

It may have been a couple of months since I last stepped on Grenadian soil but the memories don’t leave you, and if you visit Grenada for the chocolate festival, I know you’ll be feeling the same way!

As you probably know from my Instagram stories and posts I was invited by the Grenadian Tourism Authority to attend and be part of Grenada’s annual chocolate festival.

Set up by the lovely and creative Magdelena who also owns True Blue Bay where we stayed and the must visit Dodgy Dock (a spot that’s a hit with locals, tourists and those alike) its easy to see why Magdelena is creating these places and attractions on the island which are spoken about all over the globe, because the beauty and fertility of Grenada needs to be known about worldwide!

The chocolate festival is a week long event which celebrates and involves all things chocolate and all things Grenadian. If you visit the chocolate festival you will be able to travel to different parts of the island, try delicious chocolate, meet fantastic new people, take part in new activities, eat amazing chocolate, draw, paint, hike, taste beautiful chocolate, enjoy a sunset cruise, harvest cocoa, see all steps to making chocolate, get involved with the processes of making it, sample scrumptious chocolate, get spoiled at Grenada’s 5* hotel, make a visit to central St George’s, have lunch at picturesque locations, talk about chocolate, get involved with open air chef guided cooking classes and…more!

There’s a whole host of events in the line up and the amazing thing is, you can dabble in and out as you please!

I didn't take part in all aspects as I was cooking away on some of the days but be assured that all opinions are my own and I will tell you about all the amazing things I did take part in!

Below are my highlights from such a fantastic trip put on for me by Pure Grenada!

On the Sunday I was invited to talk about my favourite topic, food! The great thing about the chocolate festival is that everyone there is a foodie! As if food didn’t already in it’s own right open so many channels of communication, speaking about food and chocolate to food lovers sparked great conversation!

Our interactive discussions led us all to share our favourite chocolate stories, recipes, memories and everything else! We told our tales over some delicious chocolate drinks by AMAZ-IN (poured over ice this chocolate cream liquor is delicious), pizza and a stunning sunset setting behind us. This day proved how well the beautiful Caribbean and chocolate go together!

Earlier this same day we had an open-air yoga class with Malika Maitland who encouraged us at the end to really take time and think about the flavour notes in the chocolate we eat. Smell it, touch it, then slowly eat it.

How many times have we ate piece after piece of chocolate on the sofa without actually really thinking of the flavour? It’s easy to do but we really should take time out to connect with our food so that we can understand it better and enjoy it more! This of course makes perfect sense when you say it, but in the hustle and bustle of day to day life it’s important to get all of life’s pleasures, especially when it comes to food right!?

Earlier that day we had also done a session called ‘Tasting With Colour’ which was designed to express the flavour profiles of chocolate into a colour format.

It goes a little something like this:

If you had to think of colour in your minds eye when eating a lemon, what colour is it?

How about a toasted hazelnut, what colour is that? How about plums or chilli? We can all conjure up colours of food. This is easy to do when we know the food we are trying to find a colour for, but sometimes if we don’t know the flavour and want to pin point it, then tasting with colours may help. Flavour notes were referenced by colours and as we ate different chocolates we painted these colours.

It was a great thing to do and it shows how interesting the connections between our taste, smell and memories are.

After this session we got yet another chance to be hands on with Sheba from OMI Grenada who taught us how to make a delicious cocoa tea blend.

We used local fragrant spices along with cocoa to make a beautiful mix which when steeped in water, makes a delicious tea. I really really enjoyed creating this and was inspired to create for Myristica our very own cocoa tea version, watch this space!

Another exciting thing we done and again chocolate themed was a visit to the well known island brewery known as The West Indies Brewery. They had put on live music for the event and had also created some very interesting beers with the addition of chocolate!

I have to admit, I'm not a really a fan of beer, however, I found this combination very creative! It got me questioning what other ways can you incorporate cocoa into beverages?! This led me on my return to the UK, to create a kombucha from the roasted cocoa beans! I'll give more information about this in the upcoming blog talking about Crayfish Bay!

For now, I hope you have learned a thing or two about chocolate or at least been able to feel that visiting Grenada's chocolate festival is a great way to explore the island as well as enjoy its produce. If not, I'm sure you will do in the next few blog posts which give more insight into some of the things I cooked during my stay (including some recipes) and also a very informative guide into decisions we all can make when buying chocolate.

Between then and now though, hopefully when you next eat chocolate you'll take a moment to really enjoy each bite whilst being aware of the different flavours which appease the palate as the chocolate melts on the tongue! If you experience a new flavour during a meal then perhaps you'll also try and figure it out by trying the Tasting With Colour technique.

Either way, take time to enjoy the food you eat! If your day to day schedule means you'll find it hard to do, well then maybe, you just need to book yourself into next years Chocolate Festival to make sure that you can do so with great people like yourself...

© 2020 By Michelle Trusselle. 


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