Who is chef Liam Rogers, MasterChef: The Professionals 2021 finalist?

The  Staff Canteen

Introducing Liam Rogers, one of 32 chefs taking part in MasterChef: The Professionals 2021, airing on BBC One every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 9pm.

Warrington-born chef Liam has worked in restaurants his entire life, as his father had a restaurant in his local village and he spent six years working there as a teenager.

With nearly 10 years of restaurant experience under his belt, 24 year-old Liam is passionate about fine-dining, and is a junior sous chef at two-Michelin starred Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham. Prior to this, he worked at two Michelin-starred Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles in Scotland. 

After impressing the judges, Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing, award-winning chef and restaurateur Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace with his chickpea panisses and aubergine dip in the skills test, Liam put his experience on show with a first dish of roast loin of venison with a venison bonbon, girolles, beetroot ketchup and a venison and pork jus, followed by a dessert of set calamansi lime curd, raspberry gel, italian meringue, fresh raspberries, lemon balm and a shortbread crumb.

Both were well received, securing Liam a place in the quarter-finals.

In the quarter-finals, Liam prepared a surprise dish based around the theme of colour for the judges, followed by two signature dishes for food critics Grace Dent, Jay Rayner and Tom Parker-Bowles, one again advancing futher in the competition to the semi-finals.

Then, he opted for a take on the humble pakora for a pop-up dish in the semi-finals, followed by a memory-inspired signature of roast pork fillet, pork farce wrapped in cabbage and topped with crackling, caramelised cabbage and bacon, apple and celeriac terrine, apple puree, celeriac puree and a calvados jus.

Though not as clear-cut as some of his previous dishes, they demonstrated enough skill and proficiency to earn Liam a spot in finals week, and his cooking in the first round saw him through to the Chefs' Table, where his food was tasted by prominent names in the industry including Matt Abé, Daniel Clifford, Lisa Goodwin-Allen, Nieves Barragán, Glynn Purnell, Michael Caines and Aktar Islam.

In the next step of the finals, airing on Wednesday 15th December 2021 on BBC One at 9pm, he will join the three remaining finalists in the MasterChef kitchen for two final challenges before one is eliminated and the others go on to cook at Alain Ducassse at The Dorchester under executive chef Jean-Phillippe Blondet at the three Michelin-starred restaurant.

Instagram: @chef_liam_rogersss

Biography

Region: Nottingham during filming, currently in Scotland, originally from Cheshire

Age: 25 (24 during filming)

Profession: sous-chef (during filming, senior chef de partie)

Personal: Two brothers

Cooking background: I grew up in Warrington, where I went to Bridgewater High School and continued my studies with Catering and Hospitality at Warrington Collegiate.

I became interested in cooking at the age of six when my dad would let me sit me on the pass of the kitchen of his restaurant so I could watch him work – and annoy all the chefs, who called me a little bandit.

I went on to work for my dad for six years. I left at 18 to pursue my cooking career under Andrew Fairlie at his two Michelin-starred restaurant Gleneagles in Scotland, who then put me in touch with Sat Bains, where I worked for three years until recently at his two Michelin-starred restaurant in Nottingham.

Influences: A lot of people have influenced me throughout my career. I wouldn’t be where I am without my dad inspiring me to become a chef. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles was truly incredible, the knowledge passed down to you there is priceless.

It’s like a culinary school on steroids. Stevie McLaughlin, the head chef, was a great mentor and chef Andrew was a big influence on me. I hope to run a restaurant like his one day.

Working for the legend that is Sat Bains has been so significant. The unique style of food is what drew me to this restaurant and it was great to learn Sat’s thought process behind it all. Chef John Freeman there taught me so much, especially pastry, which I wasn’t so comfortable with at first.

Food Passions: I love everything to do with cooking and all the sections so I couldn’t pick one area. With my restaurant experience, I believe I’ve had a classical background but now with a ‘Sat Bains twist’, which creates modern classics. I think this is the route my food will go down. 

On MasterChef: The Professionals: I entered the competition to test my mettle. During lockdown, I thought about pushing myself and going to the next level, so MasterChef was the perfect opportunity. The only thing holding me back was my pastry skill so I practised hard in the kitchen at work during lockdown until I had the confidence to apply.

My biggest challenge has been juggling my time between MasterChef, work and a long distance relationship. It’s been a lot to manage but I’m amazed I’m through to the finals. I never thought I’d actually make it.

Cooking ambitions: I’m currently working in Scotland at Gleneagles over the Christmas period. I’d like to go into the new year cooking my own food a lot more at pop-ups, food festivals and dinners with fellow industry chefs.

I have the travel bug and am hoping to move away to widen my knowledge and see something completely different, perhaps to Copenhagen or Japan. It’s always been a dream to work abroad in a three star restaurant, so we shall see what happens! Longer term, my goal is to have two or three star restaurant, with a handful of other brasseries to my name as well – I’m aiming high and excited about the future.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th December 2021

Who is chef Liam Rogers, MasterChef: The Professionals 2021 finalist?