Despite his amiable charm, the culinary efforts of the East London entrepreneur were given a roasting by judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode.
Skinner made a lamb coconut curry, served with coconut rice, coconut naan, cheese and peas and his version of an onion bhaji. The meal was so weighted with coconut that it’s surprising he didn’t finish with a Bounty bar.
Torode was left searching for anything positive to say about it. “Thomas, I really enjoyed your paneer with peas and turmeric. That’s really good. I’ve got problems with the rest, I’m sorry. Your bhajis are burnt, your naan hasn’t worked, it’s burnt on the outside, it’s way too thick. The rice is coconut rice pudding isn’t it? The curry itself, the lamb is well cooked, but very, very sweet.”
Wallace was a little kinder. “Thomas, you are aware there are some issues here'” he said. “I’ve got to give you 10 out of 10 for bravery, I really have.”
Skinner’s reaction was surprisingly upbeat. “I feel worn out. That was hard work,” he said. “But I really enjoyed it. I don’t know if Gregg and John did! I think I pushed myself a bit too far, tried to do five dishes, but I done my best.”
One viewer harshly called Skinner’s efforts a “culinary apocalypse”.
— ~Daði, Daði Cool~ (@uisgebeatha) July 29, 2020
Many referenced The Fast Show’s infamous cheesy peas sketch for his paneer with peas dish.
It’s easy peasy with cheesey peas! Please! #celebritymasterchef
— daniel handforth (@dan_handforth) July 29, 2020
But Skinner was a hit with many Celebrity MasterChef viewers despite his dishes.
— ClaireP (@sandancer78) July 29, 2020
Another Skinner fan said she’d be “well happy if [he] cooked up a curry night for me”.
— ✨✨Vicki✨✨ (@vicki_liv) July 29, 2020
The star of the first semi-final was Loose Women panellist Judi Love, whose dishes reflected her Caribbean roots.
Torode said: “Two different boxes with two different styles of food and I really liked all of it!”
Wallace was equally effusive. “Your chicken wings are superbly cooked… Your prawns are prepped and cooked brilliantly. I’m really, really enjoying this food.”
Loving all of @1Judilove’s dishes on #CelebrityMasterchef – so when are @ITV giving her a Sunday morning cooking show? “Cooking With Love” – there’s your title right there. Have it from me. Gratis! ????
— Steve Coats-Dennis (@blondsteve) July 29, 2020
Skinner’s exit means that the seven to compete in next week’s semi-final will be Sam Quek, Gethin Jones, Judi Love, Phil Daniels, Riyadh Khalak, Amar Latif and Matthew Pinsent.
If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.