Final Five - MasterChef: The Professionals 2015 Nick Bennett

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st December 2015

Let's meet MasterChef: The Professionals 2015 finalist Nick Bennett hoping to impress Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti to be in with a chance of taking this year's title.

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Name: Nick Bennett

Region: Highworth, Swindon (originally Leamington Spa, Warwickshire)

Age: 27

Profession: Sous Chef

Personal: In a relationship

Cooking Background: “I first became interested in cooking at school, then got a part time job at a local pub and loved it there, so I chose to go to catering college.

“My mum and grandmothers were all keen cooks at home, who were constantly baking and making amazing things. My dad has upped his game over recent years, and now gets all ‘cheffy’ in the kitchen, and tells me what ‘jus’ he’s had with his roast dinner!

“I trained at Mallory Court Hotel in Leamington Spa, starting as a commis chef in the brasserie, and later moved over to the Michelin starred main hotel restaurant, where I worked my way up to junior sous chef. I moved to being sous chef at Restaurant 56 in Oxfordshire, where we’ve been awarded three rosettes.

Cooking Influences: “I really love the pastry side to cooking, and developing new dishes. Trying out new techniques in the kitchen keeps us all constantly evolving and learning.nick masterchef quote

“My main influences are Simon Haigh and Andrew Scott. I worked under them both at Mallory Court. Simon taught me everything! Most of all he taught me the skills and mindset that a good chef needs in order to be successful. I’ve worked with Andrew at two other places after Mallory, and he has refined me as a chef, as well as influencing my creativity without limits.

On MasterChef: “I entered the competition because I saw it as a great opportunity to test myself against other chefs in the country, to see what level I’m at. I also think that it is a great opportunity to get recognised in the industry by my peers.

“I’m extremely proud to get to the final. Throughout the competition I took each round as it came. I’m trying to stay calm and not think about the final week too much. To reach the final five out of forty-eight is beyond my ambitions when entering the competition, so I’m over the moon.

“The most challenging moments have been in the Invention Tests. To create a dish without prior planning and recipes is a real test of a chef’s skill and ability, especially with Monica and Marcus watching, and of course the film crew! From scraps to pastry, they were all very challenging. nick masterchef quote2

Cooking ambitions: “My ambition is to head up a kitchen where people want to come and eat my food. For me, food is very personal, and to have a busy restaurant with regular clientele is a massive compliment for any chef. Of course accolades and awards are an amazing achievement as well, and are something I would strive for in the future.

“I just want to be cooking happy, and to put myself on the culinary map, aiming to be Head Chef one day working with Andrew and the team.”

>>> Read more about MasterChef: the Professionals 2015

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st December 2015

Final Five - MasterChef: The Professionals 2015 Nick Bennett