- The actress and businesswoman is the winner of the fifth edition of ‘MasterChef Celebrity’ after an evenly matched duel
- Florentino Fernández was one step away from success with a menu where he remembered his roots
- Last night, 3,020,000 people (25.1% share) accompanied the actress and businesswoman from Madrid to the grand finale.
Three months ago, and as she herself confessed in the first programme, Raquel Meroño arrived in the kitchens of ‘MasterChef Celebirty’ “full of insecurities”. 12 weeks later she can already say that she has experienced an unstoppable evolution until she was crowned as the winner of ‘MasterChef Celebrity 5’. In the words of Pepe Rodríguez, “Raquel has shown that the best way to achieve a dream is to fight for it”. Last night, 3,020,000 people (25.1% share) accompanied the actress and businesswoman from Madrid to the grand final.
The last duel of this edition consisted of preparing a complete menu, consisting of a starter, a main course and a dessert, which showed all that had been learned during these months of training. Raquel Meroño and Florentino Fernández arrived at the final duel with the aim of pleasantly surprising Pepe Rodríguez, Jordi Cruz and Samantha Vallejo-Nágera, who were helped in their assessment by two of the greatest chefs in our country: Joan Roca (Celler de Can Roca) and Ángel León (Aponiente).
“Thank you for everything. Thanks to ‘MasterChef’ I have realised how strong I am. This experience has been a gift”, said the winner after hearing her name. Along with the trophy, Raquel Meroño won 75,000 euros, which will be allocated to the NGO ‘Messengers of Peace’. In addition, the duelists will enjoy a weekend course in Creative Cooking at the Basque Culinary Center, the prestigious Faculty of Gastronomic Sciences in San Sebastian.
A winning menu inspired by Spain and Bali
Raquel Meroño arrived at the great final duel after an intense cooking in the last outdoor event, in the Cenador de Amós, Jesús Sánchez’s restaurant in Cantabria, which made her win the second and last jacket. And before starting on the last trial, both Flo and Raquel made it clear that they were delighted to share the duel. “It’s a pleasure to work with you. You transmit a lot of peace to me,” the actress and businesswoman assured the comedian.
For the last challenge of the edition Raquel designed and elaborated a menu that summarized her roots with the Spanish culture and her love for the Balinese culture, reviewing all the stages of her life: from her time as an actress to her experiences as a businesswoman. With all this, the Asian touch and the products of the land were not lacking in her dishes. The starter, called “Aire del sur”, consisted of a base of tomato water jelly with Almadraba tuna as the central element, all surrounded by flowers. The assessment could not have been better. “It is perfect. Everything on the plate makes sense”, said Joan Roca. Jordi Cruz ended the tasting of this starter with a compliment: “I can’t find any defects in it and I do find a lot of flavour in it”.
The main course, “On the other side of the dial”, featured the Iberian pork fillet cooked at a low temperature with ginger, coriander, lemongrass and curry. And as a final touch, spheres of coconut milk and lime. “You’ve nailed it. It’s a perfect trip to Bali”. That is how forceful Samantha Vallejo-Nágera was in the evaluation of this elaboration.
To close her menu Raquel shone with “Volcano heart”, her wink to the volcanoes of Bali and a metaphor of how even the darkest thing can hide shiny things inside. In this dessert, the mango is cooked inside the charcoal, and then accompanied by coconut, cocoa and a candy of peanut cream. The jury fell in love with this preparation and Ángel León was flattered: “It’s crazy. It’s very elegant. Congratulations,” he said.
Florentino and a menu worthy of the final duel
The second classified of ‘MasterChef Celebrity 5’, Florentino Fernández, was up to the spectacular final duel and presented a menu that could well be a summary of his life, with his Extremadura roots as the protagonists. The starter, “Escabeche ibérico de cigala”, a sea and mountain dish with crayfish, Iberian bacon and a tomato crisp, did not leave the judges indifferent. “I think it’s super balanced. It’s elegant, fine and subtle”, said chef Ángel León. For his part, Jordi Cruz confessed that it was a dish without flaws, ready to be served in any haute cuisine restaurant.
After the starter, Florentino Fernández surprised the jury with “Pigeon, eel and foie”, with the meat cooked in the oven and accompanied by an oyster sauce, all on a bed of cauliflower puree with smoked eel and aerated foie sauce. “The set of smoked eel with the foie and the cauliflower in the background works”. Joan Roca fell in love with this dish. For Pepe Rodríguez it was a dish with a lot of flavour, but he considered that “there were many thick elements, which meant that the dish was not completely subtle”.
As a final touch to his menu, the comedian boasted of a dessert with “Espiral de higo chumbo”, a dish with three textures: a frozen sphere, the fig spiral and prickly pear soil. All presented together with frozen coconut balls and a yoghurt cake. “With this dessert you are very close to reaching excellence”, confessed Pepe Rodríguez.
In spite of being on the verge of victory, Florentino Fernández feels lucky to have lived the MasterChef experience: “Life is those small details that bring you closer to full happiness, and I have achieved that in this programme”.