Masterchef: The Professionals 2013 contestant Adam Handling, shares his competition memories

The Staff Canteen

Last night saw the first of the Masterchef: The Professionals 2014 contestants take to the BBC stage as they attempt to wow the judges and take the crown.

We spoke to one of Masterchef: The Professionals contestant and finalist 2013, Adam Handling, about his experience on the show.

You were a finalist in Masterchef the Professionals 2013, how was that experience?

Adam Handling_Kitchen_1560_caxton
Adam Handling

What chef nowadays gets to cook whatever they want, regardless of budget, regardless of waste, regardless of anything? Within that competition it allows you to showcase and just play around with whatever you want to. I didn’t enjoy the start of it I’ve got to admit, it was very intimidating. You were sitting in that room at the back, where they always show you sitting and you can hear all the chefs talking around you.

Within the first group I was with, I was the youngest and the rest were all big chefs, head chefs, from here, there and everywhere and they talked so confidently that I believed they were much better than me. I thought I’m never going to get through. But, when the cooking starts you just forget about everything around you, and then that’s when I became more confident and started to realise that I could be as good these big chefs.

Did Masterchef change you, did it make you more confident?

Of course. It really was the best thing I’ve ever done, purely for the reason that it got me to experiment. It also allowed me to meet and learn from some fantastic chefs.

You had the opportunity to work with Massimo Bottura in one of the rounds, what was that like?

The Massimo round was the only one I didn’t do as well in. We were there for three days and, as it’s a TV programme, they could only put out twenty minutes of it. There was a lot to cram in, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. I may have come across as a miserable so and so at the beginning of it, but I was confused and I was trying to understand how to do the challenge.
But Massimo understood that I don’t really get his food, he spoke to me and said the dishes he wanted me to do for his diners were the most precise, as he wanted me to do what I felt comfortable with.

Massimo-Bottura-27-by-Per-Anders-Jorgensen-square-edit-624x519I was very honoured that he had changed his menu around to give me those precise dishes – that was amazing. His philosophy is in a world of its own – he did a homage to parmesan dish, and there was no parmesan in it! He’s unique and fantastic and his method behind the food is incredible.

So what did you take away from that experience? That food isn’t just about a plate of food that tastes incredible. Food is about memories, nostalgia and to get to that you have to think about it. My food will never be like his, but the food I do now has meaning – not as elaborate as his, but it’s very personal to me. So the waiting staff talk about the food like I’m talking about it.

They need to know as much about it as I do, so before the launch of any new menu they come in the kitchen and practise it.


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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th November 2014

Masterchef: The Professionals 2013 contestant Adam Handling, shares his competition memories