Stokie MasterChef contestant lifts lid on what it's like on BBC show

An IT manager from Chell has spoken about his experience on an extremely popular cooking show. Dad Steve Deakin made it through to the Quarter Finals of Master Chef UK thanks to his delicious chicken tikka masala.

Since being back in the Six Towns, Steve has been recognised by a number of Stokies, despite Steve staying humble and trying to deny the fame. Even customer service assistants in local shops and supermarkets have pointed out the Chell dad.

Following being on the show, Steve has the itch to move from working with technology to cooking up tasty grub. The 44-year-old has suffered with cerebral palsy since birth, but being in the kitchen makes his disability seem to disappear.

Steve, who plans to frame his prestigious Master Chef apron, said about his experience on Masterchef: “I travelled down to London and did the filming there from 9am until 5pm, and I stopped down there because it was easier with living in Stoke, and I wanted to get my head in the game. I didn't want to come home then go back down there, I felt better knowing I was already in the city.

“It was good, you go in, you have the interviews, then they give you an overview of the kitchen and you choose your equipment and ingredients, and then get set up and prepare yourself for the day ahead. I chose the curry because it’s a family favourite - my Mrs (Janine Knight) likes it the most.

Steve Deakin made it to the Quarter Finals of BBC's MasterChef
Steve Deakin made it to the Quarter Finals of BBC's MasterChef -Credit:BBC

“I cooked the curry in one hour and 20 minutes because of the pressure, and the first thing my wife said to me was ‘Now you can start cooking for me in one hour and 20 minutes’, because I’m much more relaxed at home and there’s less pressure, and you don’t tend to focus purely on one task at home.

“I like to experiment with spices. This was a traditional chicken tikka masala with onions and other spices in it. I enhanced the cardamom white chocolate cheesecake by adding cardamom pods. I like to experiment with food and ingredients, for example, I made a katsu kiev at home to see what it would taste like.

“I’ll be framing the apron as it’s yours to keep once you’re awarded it. For me personally, my goal was to get the Master Chef apron - obviously I would’ve liked to win, but getting through to the Quarter Finals was immense.”

Steve spoke about life back in Stoke-on-Trent after the show and added: “I was travelling up to see my grandson and I went into a Co-Op, and the worker looked at me puzzled, and she said ‘I’ve seen you I have, you’ve been on Master Chef’, I tried to deny it but she knew, and someone in Asda said ‘It’s surreal meeting you after being on Master Chef.’

Steve Deakin made it to the Quarter Finals of BBC's MasterChef
Steve Deakin made it to the Quarter Finals of BBC's MasterChef -Credit:BBC

"It’s weird because I’ve been in Stoke since birth, but now I’m recognised by members of the public, and they’ve been amazing and really supportive. My wife and my daughter, Adele, and the rest of my family have been really supportive of everything I’ve done, too.

“Master Chef was sort of a stepping stone and it’s nice being egged on to follow your dreams because I used to want to be in the cooking industry, but for some reason I decided to go down the IT and customer service route and would just cook for friends and family.

“The money is good in IT and it’s easy to progress in, so it’s hard to step back and change my route into the cooking industry, and I became reliant on the money. Now I feel like I should bite the bullet and move into cooking because Master Chef has inspired me to follow my passions.”

The grandad also spoke about how his inabilities seem to vanish when he’s cooking. He said: ““When I’m out and about I can tire quite easily - but when I’m in the kitchen it’s surreal, it’s a totally different thing and I can cook for a while. I think part of it is because my mind zones out of my inabilities. I can cook and bake for hours.

“I think that’s why it’s a bigger passion because it takes me away from that, I’d say it’s an adrenaline rush. Baking is very intricate and artistic, as is cooking, but with baking you’ll wait around for a while and then everything’s a rush at once, whereas cooking you move around more.”

Steve was a participant in series 20 of BBC’s Master Chef UK, which can be watched on BBC iPlayer.

NEWSLETTER: Sign up for email alerts direct to your inbox