Dan Lee wins MasterChef: The Professionals 2021

The Staff Canteen

Dan Lee has been named MasterChef: The Professionals winner 2021.

He is the 15th chef to be awarded the prestigious MasterChef: The Professionals title and takes his place in MasterChef history alongside other exceptional winners: Derek Johnstone; Steve Groves; Claire Lara; Ash Mair, joint winners Keri Moss and Anton Piotrowski; Steven Edwards; Jamie Scott; Mark Stinchcombe; Gary Maclean; Craig Johnston; Laurence Henry; Stu Deeley and last year’s winner, Alex Webb.

Listen to the MasterChef: The Professionals Grilled podcast with Steven Edwards and winning guests!

Dan was the first of 32 professionals through the doors of the MasterChef kitchen, all vying for the gastronomic glory, cooking his way through six increasingly intense weeks of culinary challenges and producing incredible plates of food along the way.

The Private Chef was born in Birmingham, and as well as being a ‘proud Brummie’, is from Chinese, Irish and English heritage and has strong associations with food from both sides of his family.

He said: “Some of my favourite memories are Sundays at my grandad’s takeaway with the family eating traditional Cantonese dishes, with my chef Auntie, forcing me to try intestines and fish eyeballs – it was always a lot of fun. On my mother’s side, we had my Irish nan and English grandad, whose stew was so opposite to Chinese cuisine, but made me feel at home. His bacon sandwiches - where he dipped the bread in bacon fat - were unbelievable.”

Dan wowed Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing, renowned chef Monica Galetti and MasterChef’s seasoned judge Gregg Wallace – bringing his Asian and Modern European style to the table.

Marcus said: “I think Dan is a fantastic chef. For me, he is a star in the making.”

In the Critics Round during the Quarter Final, Jimi Famurewa loved his sauce, calling it “almost delirious”. He also was congratulated by leading UK chefs during the competition including at the Chef’s Table where Matt Abé described the chicken feet in his dish as “outstanding” and Nieves Barragan told Dan they were on a “different level”, whilst Ollie Dabbous said his dim sum were “delicious across the board.”

Monica added: “He has given exciting, innovative flavours on a plate.”

An emotional Dan said: “It’s an overwhelming feeling. It’s incredible. This competition has meant everything. It’s built my confidence and now I really know what it means to back yourself.”

In a punishing Final Week, Dan was up against outstanding chefs and he had to use every ounce of technique, inspiration and tenacity to better his competitors in rounds of increasing difficulty and pressure. The challenges across the week included - the opportunity of a lifetime to have food critiqued by industry leaders at the Chef’s Table. The task was to create and deliver a Michelin-standard dish for eight culinary giants working in Britain today.

For the first time since the pandemic, the final week also included a masterclass and service at a restaurant, diving into a cooking world most chefs can only dream of – at the world-renowned three Michelin starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, led by Executive Chef Jean-Philippe Blondet.

In the final challenge the chefs were asked to create their final menu and deliver the best three-courses of their lives for judges Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace, in three hours.

Taking inspiration from his time working in Singapore, Dan said: “It changed my outlook and philosophy on food, so I just wanted to bring that into the final.”

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th December 2021

Dan Lee wins MasterChef: The Professionals 2021