Craig Johnston wins MasterChef: the Professionals 2017

21 December 2017 by
Craig Johnston wins MasterChef: the Professionals 2017

Craig Johnston has been crowned winner of this year's MasterChef: the Professionals.

The 22-year-old chef, who is a sous chef at the Michelin-starred Royal Oak Paley Street near Maidenhead, Berkshire beat contestants Louisa Ellis, senior chef de partie from the Wilderness restaurant in Birmingham and Steven Lickley, sous chef at city caterer Vacherin, to claim the title.

Johnston's interest in cooking sparked during secondary school in Slough while studying food technology. He went on to do NVQ in professional cooking at Henley College.

Before working at Royal Oak Paley Street, which is owned by Michael Parkinson, he was chef de partie - pastry at Jason Atherton's Pollen Street Social in Mayfair, London.

The show has been running for six weeks and saw 48 chefs battle it out in the kitchen.

During the first part of the final, the three chefs, alongside Jamie Park who was eliminated from the competition, were tasked with cooking a three-course meal for industry experts at the Chefs' Table.

Guests included Nigel Haworth, Andrew Fairlie, Gary Jones, Tommy Banks, Selin Kiazim and Atul Kochhar. The chefs were watched closely by judges Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti.

The final three, then went on to cook at the two-Michelin-starred Mirazur in Nice, France. The chefs had a tough service cooking for its chef-patron, Mauro Colagreco.

For the final episode of the series, the three remaining chefs had three hours to cook three dishes.

He served a torched mackerel and mackerel tartare with salt baked beetroot and horseradish milk gel starter, a main of a squab pigeon with potato terrine and red pepper ketchup and a dessert of yogurt mousse flavoured with sauternes wine and bergamot marshmallow on the side.

His dessert stunned Wareing to silence. He said of the dish: "That [dish] is stunning. Absolutely stunning. It's perfect, I'm speechless." While judge Gregg Wallace complimented the sour yogurt mousse, the sweetness of the marshmallow and the two different cold varieties of lemon textures on the plate.

Fellow competitor Ellis said: "I'm so chuffed for Craig, he's done it for the young ‘uns as well so good on him!"

Johnston said: "Wow, to be the last man standing is unbelievable, I feel like I'm dreaming right now. This is a dream come true. I've loved every single minute of it. My career is just beginning, I'll have to hold on tight as it'll probably be a bumpy ride, but I'm looking forward to it."

Wallace said: "The best chefs in the world learn and create their own style and that is what I've watched Craig doing in this competition dish after dish, after dish."

Wareing added: "You don't come across chefs like this very often. It's very rare. I have to say that, truthfully we've just found a star of the future."

Masterchef winner Gary Maclean appointed Scotland's first-ever National Chef >>

The master plan: an interview with MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 winner Gary Maclean >>

Gary Maclean wins MasterChef: the Professionals 2016 >>

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