Only the world’s most promising chefs make it to MasterChef’s final rounds, and one young Maltese chef is currently battling his way to the very end of the acclaimed BBC series.
Andre, a 26-year-old Maltese junior sous chef who works in a fine dining restaurant in Darlington, is battling his way through the competition on the latest season of the BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals. As soon as viewers are introduced to Andre, his sense of vision becomes very clear.
“I came to the UK from Malta because I want to work in these top-end restaurants,” he said. “You have to push yourself everyday and you have to learn very fast. I’ve seen chefs come one day and leave the next, it can be very hard. It will be one of the best achievements of my career if I win MasterChef.”
When asked what he expects from the outcome, he is quite clear.
“No-one wants to be second, so hopefully I’ll win.”
Andre’s first challenge was to create a cauliflower steak as part of the infamous Skills Challenge
He was tasked with cooking a cauliflower steak, to be served with two cauliflower garnishes, and a nut butter. Given just 15 minutes, Andre rushes through the steps as MasterChef presenter Gregg Wallace, chef Monica Galetti and two-Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing watch closely.
Everything seems to be going fine until he drops his pan of roasted cashews right in front of the judges, causing them to jump back. He quickly picks them up and throws them into the frier before blending them into a thick nut butter.
His final dish is close to chef Marcus Wareing’s original dish, if slightly smaller and with a different garnish
However, Gregg Wallace praises the Maltese chef, saying: “I think you work very quickly, you’ve got all your jobs done, and you’ve delivered a tasty plate.”
Chef Galetti noticed that he had rushed through his task, saying if he had taken his time and kept his focus he might have delivered a better dish.
But Chef Wareing seals the deal after tasting the dish: “I thought that was a good start, I’m quite happy with that.”
He later cooks a BBQ-inspired pork loin as part of the Signature Dish challenge
Andre’s main dish was inspired by his time in Malta, he explains.
“I will be cooking a BBQ pork loin, with roasted corn, onion ketchup, a black pudding croquette rolled in pork crackling, with charred onions and potatoes and a pork jus,” Andre smiles.
Andre isn’t shy about where he got the idea from
“My childhood memory is that we do a lot of BBQs back in Malta, and I think it’s quite tasty and shows a lot of technique as well,” he says.
The resulting dish is quite a presentation, with the croquette especially getting the judges excited. Finally, the flavours have delivered.
Andre makes it through with flying colours to the next episode
He is among the first two chefs to be chosen to head onto the quarter finals and onto his next big challenge.
“It’s amazing to be through to the quarter finals. Now I’ll learn from my mistakes, and next time I’ll be even better,” he ends.
The Bafta award-winning MasterChef, which is in its 11th season, is hosted by celebrated MasterChef presenter Gregg Wallace, chef Monica Galetti and two-Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing.
As the series searches for the UK’s finest cooking talent over seven weeks, 48 professionals will face the rigours of the MasterChef kitchen before one chef is crowned their culinary superstar of 2018.