Move over MasterChef, there’s a new kid in town. The original Netflix series, The Final Table, has set tongues wagging. Hailed as the ultimate TV cooking competition, it brings together professional Chefs from all corners of the globe, to compete in a series of national cuisine themed rounds. Ultimately vying for a seat at, you guessed it, the final table. There is no monetary prize to be won, but as culinary elitists, but who cares about that, it’s all about the craft – yeah right! Sitting alongside culinary icons from around the world, it is every chef ‘s dream to be crowned top of their peers.
With so many of the worlds top Chefs in one place, you can be assured more than a few fancy plates will be presented. From the truly bizarre - gold plated crickets, to the more familiar family favorites, there is something to tickle everyone’s taste buds.
If you think you have no hope of recreating these decadent specialities, think again. We have scoured each episode in search of cheats and short cuts to make you look like a culinary genius. Here is the ultimate list of The Final Table dishes, even the most amateur wannabe chef can attempt. It is a professional cooking show however, so where you are most likely destined for certain failure, we have also given you the heads when its best to just save your time, and leave it to the pros. The dishes are listed in episode order, so consider this your warning to stop scrolling if you don't want anything spoiled!
22 Leave To The Pros: Crikey its Crickets
Where to even begin on this, shall we say, unusual concoction. With the Mexico challenge setting the task of tasty tacos, these two contestants show right off the bat they aren’t on the same playing field as their fellow chefs. With a mission to impart a sustainability message whilst creating some truly crazy dishes, this one doesn’t disappoint.
Crunchy fried crickets dusted in gold leaf are the new age protein, combined with a smear of something, on the side of rubbery looking boiled cactus leaf. Pass that one up to reality TV madness and head to your local taco shop instead.
21 Recreate: Surfs Up Pork Side
Now this is something you could, and should recreate at home. A deliciously decadent spin on the classic surf and turf, in a taco! The combination of juicy roasted pork belly and grilled shrimp covered in spicy hot sauce atop a multi-colored tortilla sounds pretty good to me.
Whip up your own version by using some left over Sunday roast pork, grill a couple of shrimp (on the barbie of course), top with a zingy lime dressing, a couple of springs of cilantro and you have it pretty much covered.
20 Leave To The Pros: These Urchins are making me thirsty
With the ocean at their back doorstep, the two Aussies go for an all out sea theme presenting a trout row (fish egg) taco, with sea urchin, corn custard and grilled jalapeno on a blue corn tortilla. Even if you can get past the heaping mound of fish eggs staring back at you like a sea of tiny eye balls, the risky sea urchin preparation is surely not worth a potential trip to emergency.
With needle-like spikes protruding from every direction, this is not an easy protein to prepare, and the risk of poking yourself is very real. Let's leave this one to the professionals.
19 Recreate: Taco Trifecta
Don’t be put off by the thought of making three separate tacos, when you break them down, they are all fairly simple. This interesting offering consists of corn and crunchy bacon, Hamachi ceviche, and a seared pork loin with pickled red onion and crème fraiche.
Let’s make it simple. First up the corn and bacon; crisp up some diced bacon in a pan with fresh off the cob corn, a splash of lemon to brighten it all up and get stuck in. You really can use any fresh, and I mean fresh, fish available for ceviche, this is a great starter recipe if you have never made it, just don’t make it overly salty like the contestants did. Finally, a pork loin grilled, sliced and served with any home-made or jar-pickled veg, drizzled with sour cream. Nail all three and you can set up your very own food truck.
18 Recreate: Be Gone Bunny
A traditional Valencian paella is always made with rabbit, chicken and beans. Not exactly a fan of eating bunnies myself, especially this version with its nose to fluffy tail offering including; liver, kidneys along with clams and who knows what else, I would recreate this one at home but with more traditional ingredients.
Much easier to find for the home-cook and far less boney, this recipe for chicken and bean paella will satisfy your cravings, without having to imagine Bugs looking up at you with every bite. Paella is a great meal for a large gathering, so invite a big group of friends over and dig in.
17 Leave To The Pros: Fancy Paella
There’s always one Chef, or in this case two, who have to go overboard. And is often the case it backfired. Paella is a peasant dish based on cheap, filling rice with whatever is at hand, not a trip to the luxury ingredient store. Jam packed with a ludicrous amount of show-off lobster tail, clams and mussels on a tower of paella, this is one best left for a special night out.
Why risk even the slightest of mishaps when you have such expensive ingredients to play with. Even the pros didn’t get it right, with all their focus on the fancy pants stuff, they under cooked the rice. No amount of crustacean can make up for picking chalky rice out of your teeth the rest of the night!
16 Leave To The Pros: Elite English Breakfast
Desperate to impress the judges, these two contestants have gone to dizzying heights, only a home-cook willing to get up in the middle of the night could have any chance of recreating this OTT creation.
With delicate egg soufflé sitting on top of baked bean puree, scattered white truffle shavings and drizzled with bacon foam, I don’t even need to tell you to step away. This dish has more air in it than a hot air balloon. It's more Heston than hunger busting, this breakfast isn’t going to cure your Sunday hangover.
15 Leave To The Pros: Boaring
I mean really, wild Boar whiskey sausage, a curried duck egg, crispy black pudding, tomato confit, and Earl Grey infused mushroom essence. YAWN. This breakfast is more title than substance and the judges were not kind. An old pig minced up and made into a breakfast sausage did not delight nor did the uncooked spices overpowering the poor duck egg.
Breakfast is for indulging, but this heartburn inducing fare will be repeating on you like a bad gas station hot dog. Forget the fancy, sometimes it just doesn’t work.
14 Recreate: The Classics
Is there anything better on the weekend than waking up, pulling a bunch of artery clogging ingredients out of the fridge and creating a good old-fashioned English fry-up? Not in my book, and these girls nailed it.
Fried; eggs, bread, black pudding, pork sausage and bacon with homemade baked beans, tomatoes and mushrooms. No intimidating ingredients to source, you can even leave out the black pudding, code for sausage skin stuffed with pigs blood, and with nothing more than a greasy pan to clean up - breakfast is done, super chef style.
13 Leave To The Pros: Feijoada Fools
Feijoada is a national staple dish of Brazil. It is a typical peasant dish, making the most of what is available in abundance. This pro move is far from the dish’s essence –with sweet breads; you can read up on these delightful pieces of offal here, smoked pork and sausage with sides of blood orange, cheese soil and grilled asparagus. What now?
If that wasn’t enough culinary showing off, of course it is served under a smoking cloche. Even writing that has made me exhausted, so don’t even think about attempting a copycat recipe for this one!
12 Recreate: Rice And Beans
Whilst this might also look out of the realms of possibility, let’s take it step by step. Rice and black beans are the backbone of any respectable Feijoada, and this recipe calls for stuffed rice paper wrappers with black bean puree. Both ingredients are readily available and if you are comfortable making ravioli, this won’t be too much of stretch.
Serve your homemade parcels with the traditional accompaniments of pork belly, ribs or any other slow cooked parts of the pig you can get your hands on, along with rice, greens and farofa. Of course, if that is all too hard still, make this hearty staple dish from Brazil with this traditional recipe.
11 Leave To The Pros: Makhani Mash Up
To be fair it would be relatively simple to recreate a taco topped with butter chicken sauce and cauliflower but why would you want to? It’s one thing to be creative and I love a fusion mash-up just as much as the next person, but not this one. The joy of this traditional Indian dish is the bowl of steaming sauce, waiting to stain your fingers (and your pants) as you dip flat bread in to it.
If I wasn’t turned off by the Indian taco, the dessert really pushed me over the edge. Deconstructed mango lassi, you lost me at deconstructed.
10 Recreate: Mukhani Magic
One of the best things about delicious Indian curries is the plethora of vegetarian options already available on the menu. I love a good butter chicken with tender chunks of tandoori roasted dark meat swimming in creamy sauce, however I would happily trade that for this veg version.
Don’t feel limited in your vegetable choices, roast up cauliflower, pumpkin, sweet potato or even eggplant, or better yet a mix off all the above, douse them in store-bought sauce, heat up some ready-made flat breads and dig in.
9 Recreate: Turkey Tots
This one had judges debating but ultimately it was deemed a winner, and one look at the crunchy exterior tells you why. More giant turkey tot than burger, let’s not bother ourselves with labels, but get down to business on how we can create this at home.
Forget the self-saucing center that to be honest, didn’t even work for the pros, and stick to making the most delicious patty you can. Grab some dark meat turkey mince, mash it up with a couple of eggs, dried cranberries, thyme and plenty of salt and pepper. Shape into patties, crumb and get frying in your favourite skillet. Serve up your golden goodness with any Thanksgiving sides that take your fancy. Think green beans, Brussels sprouts or mashed potatoes, and of course cranberry sauce.
8 Recreate: Mexico Makeover
Italian pasta was the name of this episode’s game and we are treated to traditional and modern interpretations. When it comes to pasta, I am a believer in if it tastes good, eat it. The purists will have their pitch forks out for this street food inspired fare, but who cares, it looks damn tasty.
Home-made stuffed pastas are easy with the use of dumpling wrappers found at the store, try this recipe for an easy corn and cheese filling. Ditch the cream sauce though, and top with the show's offering of zingy lime, spicy chili oil and fresh cilantro.
7 Leave To The Pros: Yolk Raviolo
You know you're somewhere fancy when there is only one giant ravioli served, known singularly as raviolo, even more so with it is covered in caviar, lobster and gold leaf. This is the daddy of all raviolo, the runny egg yolk version. If it isn’t tricky enough to separate eggs without breaking the yolk and having to start over, now they want us to somehow place it on pasta, fold it without it going everywhere and cook it perfectly. Forget it.
If your diners should happen to cut into the gigantic pasta parcel and NOT have yolk ooze out from the center, you will bear the shame for years to come. I am not even going to start on the multitude of ridiculously expense ingredients adorning this freak of pasta, just leave it. Nothing more to say.
6 Recreate: Kaiseki
I for one, had never even heard of this dish from Japan and it turns out for good reason. It was once reserved for noble diners, which means I am fresh out of luck. Originating from Kyoto, this meal fit for the elite still comes with a hefty price tag. Traditionally there are many courses, served in a very specific order.
You could easily recreate the three courses required by the contestants, consisting of tempura, Shiru (soup) and finally Mukozuke (seasonal sashimi). Toss together any veggies you like in this tempura batter, serve salty miso soup and buy some sashimi grade tuna from the local fish-monger and suddenly the Ritiziest of meals is starting to look pretty common after all.
5 Leave To The Pros: Not So Sweet bread
With a collection of ingredients that included wagyu beef with a daikon radish and monkfish liver broth, nori crusted Hamachi loin, and prawn head and veal sweetbread tempura, it is unlikely you will be served this one at next week’s dinner party.
Not only was this the winning dish of the round, it goes well beyond any home-cook's wildest dreams. The ingredients, except for sweetbreads (again), and Monkfish liver, are readily available, however the finesse with which they were prepared would have even Iron Chef Sakai intimidated. A visit to Japan would be quicker and easier than trying your hand at this lot. And probably a whole lot more fun.
4 Recreate: Pie and Sauce
Vying for the coveted two spots in the finale, the France episode pulled out all the stops to test the remaining chefs; Hare A La Royale. Edible with a spoon, due to Louis XIV being a toothless tyrant, with a sauce thickened with chocolate and hare’s blood. Tasty.
With former Thomas Keller prodigy behind this beauty, you would expect an insurmountable task to recreate it. But really is it much more than a fancy corner store pie with a bit of steak on the side and a spiked savory chocolate sauce? Of course, they tried to make it sound much fancier with words like pithiviers (pie), but we have their number! Ditch the tough old hare in favor of some juicy duck pastries and move over finalists, we got this.
3 Recreate: Vol-Au-Vent in Vogue
Just like beloved hair scrunchies, the vol-au-vent is back baby. With its crispy layers of pastry and endless array of potential fillings, it begs the question why it was ever out. From crickets encrusted with gold to dry ice baths, this team has been on the extreme end of the scale the entire comp, and now with the finale on the line, they bust out this retro classic! Way to keep us guessing.
Filled with hare, foie gras, bacon lardons, mushroom, shallots, carrots and raisins, this recipe is still slightly over-reaching. Instead, try this gut busting recipe for a creamy chicken and mushroom version, that will be on the table quicker than you can get ready to watch the next episode, with crumbs all down your front. Seriously, no judgement.
2 Leave To The Pros: Bloody Bummer
With beetroot juice blood and burnt leek ash as gunpowder, representing the carnage of the hunt right there on the plate, forget if it is re-creatable, who on earth would want to! With this Freddie Krueger inspired dinner setting the tone for a less than intimate meal, we would be better off watching one of those save the animals docs that are flooding Netflix, before we subject ourselves to this horror.
Even if you wanted to terrify your date with this unsightly mess, the ability to balance the flavors of such a complex dish may well turn into a culinary massacre of your own. Leave this one to the pros and have a meat-free Monday to quash the nightmares.
1 Recreate: Party Pigeon
Think you can’t make something from the finale without taking out a second mortgage and a month off work? Think again. With the final four chefs fighting it out against each other to be named top - who knows what ridiculous title, the dishes were sublime and the suspense so intense I needed a lie-down half way through.
Waking from my mid-finale nap, I was greeted with drunken squab with a pigeon foot poking up to the sky on one of the Aussie chef’s final dish. Now I am not suggesting you nab a pigeon from Central Park on your morning run, perhaps try this recipe for classic drunken chicken with a few crispy chicken wings on the side. Failing that, order in and enjoy the last few moments of this epic culinary journey.