An interview with Masterchef: The Professionals 2014 winner Jamie Scott

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 24th December 2014

The Staff Canteen spoke to Jamie Scott  MasterChef: The Professionals 2014 winner about what it's been like since winning, what it was really like cooking for Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti and would he do it all over again.

Having known he was the MasterChef: The Professionals winner since August it's safe to say that Jamie is relieved that people now know, he said: "It feels absolutely amazing to win, I feel I can do a big exhale now because I’ve been holding it in for the last few months and now with everybody knowing the gratification is a nice feeling."

Reflecting upon his time in the competition Jamie would recommend it to jamie action shotothers but advises that it's "no walk in the park". He said: "I would recommend it to others but I wouldn't take it easily, there’s a lot of pressure and a lot at stake; it’s not for the faint-hearted.

"It was an amazing experience, working in those two restaurants I worked in and being with Marcus and Monica was absolutely amazing." Cooking in the Masterchef kitchen must be unnerving for any chef especially with a camera crew and camera in your face as Jamie explains: "The first couple of times was daunting and intimidating with new equipment, with Marcus and Monica walking around asking questions, cameras in your face and a microphone in your pocket; it was strange to start but once you grew into it I felt more comfortable.

"After a time I grew closer to the contestants and comfortable with them and you get to know the crew so it was a very comfortable environment by the time it got to the final." MasterChef The Professionals - 1082

Throughout the final week Jamie beat off tough competition from fellow finalists Brian McLeish, 32, and Sven-Hanson Britt, 26, and had to fully demonstrate his creativity, skill and determination as this year’s outstanding finalists undertook serious challenges that pushed them to their culinary limits.

Limits that were also tested with the various chefs and kitchens Jamie worked in throughout the competition. Speaking about who he was most nervous meeting he said: "It went in stages, first of all it was Marcus and then Monica with her skills test and then I was nervous to work with Hélène Darroze. I’ve been a massive admirer of Hélène for years, since I was young and obviously Mugaritz as well, having Andoni [Luis Aduriz] working so close with us and monitor our plates and then put the finishing touches to his plates was absolutely amazing.

"Everything from when we landed in that area of Spain was just magical, the whole experience was phenomenal and San Sebastian was one of the most special places I have ever been to. The food, the produce, the people and the climate just everything was incredible. To have Mugaritz up in the hills in the middle of nowhere and to witness their passion was just incredible."Jamie picked east newt crab

With this being the first year judging for Marcus since Michel Roux Jr gave up the reins Marcus initially had a reputation as being a harsh critic but Jamie says that he is actually "very fair".

He said: "I think Marcus came across really well, I was a Marcus fan more than a Michel Roux Jr fan so when they first announced there was to be a new judge I thought it was either going to be him or Michael Caines; so I was really happy it was Marcus.

"I think he came across really fair and was both harsh and lenient when he needed to be, personally I think he could have been harsher at times but he was fair."

The final task was to prepare a three-course meal for the judges dishes which Jamie said: "Came very naturally. "We had a few days to plan them so I wanted to do something that summarised and highlighted my style up until that exact point. The starter was based upon my upbringing: using smokies, which was such a staple of my town, the main course was my food – what I love to eat and what I love to see people eat - it was about using inexpensive cuts and getting the best out of them and dessert was a twist on my mum’s dessert; as my mum has been the biggest inspiration." Jamie winning dishes

It will be interesting to watch this chef to see what he does next but at the moment Jamie is back at the day job as a sous chef at Rocca in St Andrews but had remembered the advice that Marcus gave him about returning. He said: "When I left Marcus gave me some advice and said when I go back to the day job it’s going to be like being hit in the stomach with a shovel because everything has been a high back then to normality.

"It was difficult going back to work as you expect Marcus and Monica to be there asking you about your dish and you’ve been used to cooking one dish rather than a full service but I never thought that cooking that one dish you could be so tired afterwards as I’m normally doing 60-70 covers."

Congratulations Jamie and to all that took part in this year's series but to sum up the experience in three words Jamie said it was: "Inspiring, hard and magical".

By Aimee Davis

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 24th December 2014

An interview with Masterchef: The Professionals 2014 winner Jamie Scott