Jamie Scott, Steven Edwards: Appearing on MasterChef: The Professionals feels like a risk to your career and your restaurant's reputation

The Staff Canteen

Many people don't consider what winning Masterchef: The Professionals can mean for a chef's career, neither do they understand the risks chefs take when appearing on the show

Or at least, this is the view of our latest Grilled podcast co-host, Steven Edwardswho won series 6 in 2013, and his guest in this week's episode, 2014 champion and chef owner of The Newport in Scotland, Jamie Scott.

“I don’t think it’s emphasised how life changing it is for a professional and just how much is at risk,” when taking part in MasterChef,  Jamie said, given the pressure to show what one can do.

Ridden with thoughts along the lines of “don’t look like an idiot” while he was on the BBC Programme, the chef said, he was constantly aware of because of the impact that could have for the restaurant he was working at at the time.

When he appeared on the show, Jamie was a sous-chef at three AA rosette restaurant, Rocca Bar & Grill in St Andrews, with 12 people working under him. The restaurant had a reputation to uphold, so naturally, he was worried about “doing something daft that would affect that.”

"If you go back and you've done something really stupid, you've got to go back and reafirm what kind of chef you are and how good you are when you go back," he said.

“I think they need to emphasis [the risk] more." 

Celebrity Chefs

Despite the obvious positive benefits for both of their careers, both were quick to dismiss the idea that having appeared on the show makes them 'celebrity chefs.'

As compared to chefs like Jamie Oliver, or, the ultimate celebrity chef, Ainsley Harriott - who, as Jamie put it, "who don't have a restaurant or don't have that weekly, daily, yearly grind," and tend to base their work on TV and books - both believe that it would take much more than taking part in an annual competition to fall under that category.

"I don't like the term at all," Jamie said.

For Steven, "you are like a celebrity like the day after and then from that point [your notoriety] just goes down and down and down all the way back to normality.”

On the spectrum of celebrity to unknown, Steven said, “I don’t know what letter of the alphabet comes after 'Z' but that is where I’d put myself.”

Still worth it

So what are the benefits of taking part in MasterChef: The Professionals if the risks are big and the chances of becoming famous are small?

This is where the difference between a so-called celebrity chef and a chef who happens to be comes in. A chef who happens to be on TV may enjoy it, but is focued on how it helps their restaurant or other business first and foremost. For a a ‘celebrity chef,’ television is their business.

When asked if he enjoys doing TV spots, Jamie said: “yeah, I do… I understand what it does. I understand that it’s good for the restaurant, I understand that it’s good getting people in seats and I understand that it’s good for the brand. So, I like doing it like that - I don’t particularly like doing for myself.”

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 17th November 2021

Jamie Scott, Steven Edwards: Appearing on MasterChef: The Professionals feels like a risk to your career and your restaurant's reputation