MasterChef: The Professionals 2023 is currently airing on BBC One and BBC iPlayer starting on Monday, October 23. The spin-off of the main MasterChef series brings professional chefs above 20 years old with at least two years of professional kitchen experience and the legal right to live and work in the United Kingdom territory (including Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands).
Thirty-two participants from all around the UK joined the Professionals this year to see who’s going to become the most professional out of all of them.
There are some changes this year, like the judging panel’s members and possibly new challenges in upcoming episodes. For starters, Monica Galetti, absent from the series since 2021, has returned to the show after her one-year break to work on her responsibilities for her family and personal restaurant. Galetti rejoins Greg Wallace and Marcus Wareing in the series.
The return of this show is something hardcore foodie geeks shouldn’t miss at all. MasterChef always involves various cooking challenges like making vegetarian dishes. While nothing’s certain yet, plant-based ingredients, including whole foods, are slated to make an appearance in some way this season.
Whole Foods, Defined
Whole foods are food materials with least or even no processing. They also don’t use artificial ingredients like food colouring or preservatives either. Some examples of whole foods are baked beans, broiled fish, and dried tomatoes.
Whole foods boom in popularity when people become more aware of processed food’s health impacts. Although processing food is necessary for its shelf life, it comes with some negative impacts. But it doesn’t mean that all processed foods are unhealthy.
University of São Paulo in Brazil researchers have developed the NOVA food classification system. The category groups all food items from Groups 1 to 4. Group 1 means minimally processed and unprocessed food, while Group 4 consists of ultra-processed food.
Group 4 food like artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup has caused alarming health concerns. Corn syrup, in particular, can increase obesity and weight gain risks. Because of that, consuming snacks like potato chips when binge-watching your favourite TV series isn’t worth it anymore.
MasterChef and Plant-based Foods
All versions of MasterChef, including Professionals, always present vegan and vegetarian dish challenges in each season. While cooking with meat-based ingredients is pretty much the norm in cooking shows like MasterChef, the chefs’ true mettle is tested when they have to cook something beyond their skills.
One example of vegan dish challenges in Professionals was in Series 10 in 2017, in which soon-to-be semifinalist of the season late Matt Campbell made a vegan dessert out of raw cocoa, maple syrup, and artichoke – anything that screamed whole foods.
With enough finesse and raw cooking skills, Campbell enchanted the judges with his plants-based dessert, albeit with some criticism of the cocoa ingredient’s heavy mouthfeel.
Watching MasterChef is not only a feast for the eyes – but also an enlightening experience for foodies. Although the plant-based dishes in MasterChef may look as expensive to make, making them at home is cheaper than they looked like.
Certified whole foods sellers like Whole Food Earth are available if foodie geeks want to get their hands on some whole foods ingredients in their kitchens. With affordable prices, foodies can begin cooking plant-based dishes while enjoying the Professionals’ latest episodes and waiting for the upcoming ones.