This year, Luke Daniels takes on Masterchef: The Professionals, cooking and competing through a variety of heats, quarter finals and knockouts until the ultimate winner is crowned. Greg Wallace, Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti judge the dishes being served – with all the action, tantrums, successes and burning disasters caught on camera. The winner goes away with a trophy and the prestige of being The Professional Masterchef of the series.
Luke Daniels is a 31 year old from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, and is currently the Head Chef at the Weston Hotel. Initially Luke said he had no plans to be come a chef, but went to college to do graphics and 3D design. After freelancing for a while, the necessity to have a steady job made Luke take a pot wash role, and that was that. He worked his way up through the rank and hasn’t looked back since.
We spoke to Chef Luke to find out more about his experience on the BBC2 show…
What was the reason in taking part on Masterchef?
It was my wife and kids that convinced me to apply for Masterchef. Being my biggest fan (naturally) they were always trying to get me on and I was curious as to how i’d stack up and wanted to see what it was like actually being there, instead of the sofa.
Is there a way to handle the criticism from the judges?
The criticism from the judges, for me was fairly easy to take. I knew what wasn’t right and what I would have been, so I agreed with their comments. At the end of the day they are their to give you guidance on how to improve, not to nit pit for the sake of it. Take it on the chin and move on.
What is the atmosphere like in the kitchen cooking alongside other chefs?
The atmosphere in the kitchen was tense, but buzzing. Everyone was stressed and nervous, trying to figure everyone else out, making you want to push that little bit harder.
What is your approach to the imagination & creation of your dishes?
Half the time I don’t have a set approach to planning and creating dishes. A lot of the time it comes from one component and swirls back from there. Be it a sauce, or a garnish, sometimes it cries out to be put with something in particular. After that its a case of fleshing it out.
What is your cooking style and what can people expect from the food on your menu?
My style of cooking is quite eclectic. I like to take influences from all over the place, but keep using local, seasonal produce including plenty of foraged goods. I like putting little surprises in here and there to keep customers guessing.
What was your greatest accomplishment during your time on Masterchef?
Just getting on the show was a big enough accomplishment for me. But even though I went out really early I’m happy to had Marcus say I can cook.
Were there any down sides during your time on Masterchef?
Going out early was a real downside for me, also my nerves made me do a few stupid things, but oh well.
Would you take part again if the opportunity was to come around & would there be anything you would change?
Probably, this time was a great experience and a lot of fun. I’d push my colleagues to apply, its a great way to meet some new people, push yourself and get out of your comfort zone.