What happened as Dorchester chef competed in MasterChef finals week
Talented chef Charlie Jeffreys faced another huge culinary test on MasterChef: The Professionals last night.
The young cook, originally from Dorchester, is competing in finals week of the BBC cooking talent show.
Charlie – who started out as a pot washer at Yalbury Cottage in Lower Bockhampton – was one of six hopefuls vying for the MasterChef title at the beginning of the programme.
In the first round Charlie cooked a scallop ceviche dish, a choice judge Anna Haugh said he ‘had to get right’ voicing concern that it would be ‘cherry dominant’ with its accompaniments.
But braving the smoker and serving the unusual cold dish paid off for Charlie, with judge Marcus Wareing raving that it was ‘fantastic’, upon tasting it.
“Without doubt, you’re really pushing boundaries.”
And Anna’s opinion? “That pesto and your smoked scallop are magic. I love people who’ve taken a chance, and there’s no doubt you’ve taken a chance.”
Charlie, who (coincidentally) works at prestigious London hotel The Dorchester, was then delighted to discover that he’s made it to the final four of the competition, the Chefs’ Table round.
This is one of the most prestigious events in the culinary calendar, we’re told.
Charlie was selected to make the main course for the discerning group of top chefs who would be tasting the food at London's Lanesborough Hotel.
He opted to make roast fillet of veal with a whopping six different carrot garnishes.
“It’s a lot to do in such a short space of time,” Charlie admitted.
Even finding the time to help his rival contestants with their dishes, Charlie’s main course couldn’t have gone better.
And one of the chef’s verdicts? ‘This plate of food has come from a clearly very competent chef.’
Marcus praised the presentation of the veal. “It’s an absolutely stunning looking plate of food,” he said.
Meanwhile, Anna gave our Dorset lad praise of the highest order: “Undoubtedly Charlie has shown us he has a lot of skill.”
A gobsmacked Charlie couldn’t believe how well everything was going. He said: “If you said a year ago that I’d be doing this for this many chefs I’d say ‘go away, it ain’t real!’ but definitely this is the highlight of my career.’”
Stay tuned as Charlie’s journey through finals week continues, with him next set to compete on MasterChef: The Professionals on BBC1 on Thursday evening.