JAMIE Scott, a sous-chef from Arbroath in Scotland, has been crowned the winner of this season’s MasterChef: The Professionals.
In the final challenge of the BBC2 series, the 26-year-old made a three-course dinner that reflected the story of his career for judges Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace to win the title, beating Sven-Hanson Britt, 26 and Brian McLeish, 32.
Jamie said: “I want to cry a little bit I’m so happy. It’s not settled in yet, I wasn’t expecting to win. The blood, the sweat, the tears - it’s hard to fathom how much emotion goes into cooking and I hope I’ve showed that.”
Jamie is the eighth winner of the show, and was praised by the judges on last night’s show for his passion for food and love of cooking.
Marcus Wareing said: “Jamie is a fantastic chef that has a personality and a big, big heart. That goes a long way in food and this is reflected in his plates - you can see it.
“I know we have found a true champion, we’ve found one of the future chefs of the country.”
Monica Galetti said: “Jamie has always given us delicious food, food that he enjoys eating. I am going to be so happy to follow this chef’s career.”
The finalists had to complete tasks including preparing a Michelin-standard dish for 25 acclaimed Michelin-starred chefs, inspectors and restaurateurs, and travelling to San Sebastian in Spain to cook for influential chef Andoni Luis Aduriz at his famous restaurant Mugaritz.
Gregg Wallace described it as the toughest judging decision he can remember, and said: “I can’t watch Jamie cook without smiling. He delivers over and over again - the man is just in love with cooking.”
Jamie started his career at 14 as the most junior person in the kitchen of his parents’ pub, and eventually worked his way up to running it.
He was inspired by his mother, who was the first woman to become a sous chef in Britain, and trained professionally at catering college, which was where he says he fell in love with food.
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He hopes to cook on TV and publish a book, as well as opening his own restaurant, which would be “modern British with personal references”, including his love of Thai food and the classic French cuisine he learned to cook with his mother.
For the starter on his winning menu he served crab with pickled cucumber and apples, served with savoury doughnuts filled with flaked smokies and cheddar cheese.
His main course was glazed short rib of beef with beef dripping, fried croutons and onion, smoked beef sirloin, salt baked turnips and burnt shallot puree, served with watercress puree and a beef jus.
For pudding he served lemon cake topped with Italian meringue with lemon macarons, almond crumb, lemon curd and salted almonds, with a basil sorbet.
He was delighted with the positive reaction to his winning menus. “I feel incredible. Those three dishes were the story of my career up to this point,” he said. “To condense all that into three plates of food and for the judges to understand - that was just absolutely amazing.”
Jamie currently works as a sous-chef at Rocca in St Andrews, which serves Scottish food with Italian influences, and lives in Arbroath with his wife Kelly.
“The competition has been absolutely amazing. I’ve just grown in confidence and refined myself more,” he said. “To impress the judges I’ve had to come up with new ideas, new techniques, you’re not going to get better people critiquing your food.
“My most challenging moment in the competition has to be the Chef’s Table. We were cooking for our heroes; we were trying to show how good we are. I started off brilliantly but the pressure really got to me.
“The emotion of the whole competition caught up with me - I wanted it to be perfect and it wasn’t.
“My personal highlight of the series was the first semi-final challenge when all twelve semi-finalists were in the kitchen for the first time.
“You got to see who the competition was. I cooked well and that was the biggest confidence boost, it let everyone know that I was a serious contender.”
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