Laurence Henry, sous chef at Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham, was named MasterChef: The Professionals Champion 2018 last night.
The 26-year-old chef scooped the coveted title on the BBC TV programme after beating off competition from fellow finalists Dean Banks, 30, and Oli Martin, 30.
He is the 12th winner of the title, following in the footsteps of past champions Gary Maclean; Derek Johnstone; Steve Groves; Claire Lara; Ash Mair, joint winners Keri Moss and Anton Piotrowski; Steven Edwards; Jamie Scott; Mark Stinchcombe and last year's winner, Craig Johnston.
Top praise was bestowed on Henry during the seven week-long competition from the three main judges, Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Greg Wallace, as well as from a number of guest judges including the Observer's food critic Jay Rayner who said about a lamb dish cooked by Henry: "I have absolutely nothing critical to say."
Wareing said: "The food Laurence has cooked for us during the competition has been outstanding. He is inventive, creative and he leaves nothing behind in the kitchen. He gave it his all and his work ethic and professionalism is fantastic, as a chef you couldn't ask for more in the kitchen. In my opinion he is the next generation."
Henry described the competition as "a really long journey" and added: "I have certainly learnt a lot about myself and found my feet. With this kind of ending who knows what the future holds; it is just so exciting. Hopefully though this is the first step in the long road to the chef I want to be one day."
Regarding his future plans, Henry said: "I still have a lot to learn in my current role so I don't plan on moving on any time soon. I am exploring the possibility of opening my own restaurant in the future, however before all this I plan on having a bit of time off and travelling."
Applications for MasterChef: The Professionals 2019 are now open.