MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 Chefs – Ross Chatburn
November 12, 2018
This year, Ross Chatburn 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.
Ross has been a chef for the relatively short time of 7 years. He was 24 when he decided to go into this line of work, which left him 6 or 7 years behind most of the people who were starting out at the same time. Ross began working as a chef in The Radissson at Manchester airport where he learnt to deal with a huge number of covers in a big busy kitchen, before deciding the higher end food was what he wanted to cook. A year into his tenure Ross left for a job in the middle of Cheshire at a fine dining pub called The Bells of Peover, which at the time was aiming for all sorts of culinary awards and was headed up by Matthew smith, his sous Adam Summers and junior sous chef Steven Moore, all of whom had experience at some of the countries best restaurants. Despite the really low wage and 100+ hours per week, it was the most rewarding job Ross could ever have hoped for, starting as commis chef in 2012, he worked his way up to sous chef in only 2 years with the guidance of these fantastic mentors, and a lot of hard work and determination to push himself as hard as possible. The fact that Ross was 24 when he started really pushed him to progress as fast as possible and gave him much more of a reason to work hard. After the bells of peover he worked as head chef in a restaurant in Manchester. This restaurant was a tea room when he started but the owners wanted a special fine dining element to their offering on the weekends, which Ross implemented with great success over the time that he was there. This was a very enjoyable time on the most part, his first job as head chef where he was learning things about business and management. It was in 2015 however that Ross was offered a job as senior sous chef at Hotel Gotham, which was opening with a view to be a five star destination in the city centre. He accepted and soon took control of the menu, achieving 2 rosettes in their first 6 months. Which he later became the head chef there and kept the 2 rosettes for 3 years. I have since moved to Oddfellows on the park in Cheadle as Head Chef, where he hope’s to gain as much recognition as possible for his food and continue with the success of the hotel and the sister hotel in Chester he has already attained.
We spoke to Chef Ross to find out more about his experience on the BBC2 show…
What was the reason in taking part in Masterchef?
I Took part in Masterchef initially as a trade with my general manager in promise of a new set of plates for the kitchen. After my first application however, I was really excited to be taking part in the competition and be given an opportunity to get some form of positive affirmation that the food which I create is as good as I hope it to be.
Is there a way to handle the criticism from the judges?
The best way I found to handle the criticism from the judges, just as in every day I work, whenever I receive criticism, is to see it as an opportunity to better yourself. When I received any bad comments from the judges on masterchef I took it as more of a challenge for me to do better. That outlook helps in all aspects of the culinary industry.
What is the atmosphere like cooking alongside other chefs?
The atmosphere and pressure when cooking along side someone like Marcus wareing was always going to be really difficult. However when you are actually there and doing it, with the added pressure of the 20 cameras and countless crew staring at you as well, the pressure of loved ones hoping you do well and peers wishing you all the best, its an enormous thing to try and keep control of – more than I ever thought in the lead up to my filming day.
What is your approach to the imagination and creation of your dishes?
When creating a dish I would generally start with one thing which I really want to use, and that’s not always the protein. I can take vegetable which ive never used for instance, or a preparation of that vegetable that ive never used, and then I like to develop the whole dish around that and let the dish grow organically from one ingredient – to make that ingredient, and the ones around it, shine.
What is your cooking style and what can people expect from the food on your menu?
I suppose my food would be described as modern british, but that’s such a broad spectrum of food nowadays. I always try to add a little fun and wit to my dishes. I like people to enjoy the look, taste, smell, and the idea of the food which I serve them. I mentioned on the programme, that I enjoy having a Unique selling point to each of my dishes. By that I mean a small element, whether that’s a puree, a certain preparation of meat or even just a small garnish which makes people talk and think about what theyre eating. If someone can leave my restaurant and have 1 unique element of their dishes really stick with them, then I’m happy.
What was your greatest accomplishment during the show?
I think the thing which I took away from masterchef and was happy with is the comments from Marcus, he said that he enjoyed my cooing style and that I ‘interested’ him, which is always nice to hear from someone of his status. I also had to take great enjoyment from the uproar I caused on twitter after the programme from people who couldnt believe my age. I’m 31 but I have always looked very young for my age, there were literally hundreds of tweets from people in disbelief, to the point where it was even in a daily express article online – I think that memory of seeing it all unfold on my phone will always stay with me!
Are there any down sides?
The downsides I think were mainly from my own personal reaction to not getting as far in the competition as I wanted. Friends and family all said what a major achievement it was to get there, and that just having the guts to do such a thing was enough, but personally I couldn’t help feeling id let my closest family and friends down a little for not being as good as I know I can be.
Would you recommend for a friend to take part and why?
I think doing any of these sort of things I would definitely do it again, probably I would just be a lttle more laid back about the whole situation and a lot calmer, maybe that way I could have got my main aim, which was to appear on this morning with Phil and Holly!