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Ash Mair

CHEF

FOOD STYLIST

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Walking into the MasterChef studio for the first time was an extremely surreal but amazing feeling and at that stage I didn't know I would get to know the place so well. The first day of cooking was exciting, I just couldn't believe that I was actually there and that same feeling continued all through the series.

Being critiqued by Monica and Greg at the start of the competition was quite intimidating but luckily they were pretty happy with what I did so they put me through to cook for Michel Roux Junior.

Cooking for Michel was such a great learning experience, he's such a great teacher and throughout the competition he was very fair with his comments about our food.

Ash Mair

I already had a lot of respect for Michel as a chef and now also the fact that he's such a great, humble guy also. Over the course of the competition I had many ups and downs and at a few times wasn't quite sure if I could go on but I think the mixture of excitement and adrenalin got me through to the end. A couple of times I really felt I was in trouble, particularly when cooking for the critics, I just didn't think I would get the food done on time but somehow I did. I wasn't the happiest with what I produced and the critics weren't too impressed either but luckily enough Michel and Greg thought I had done enough and they put me through to the next round.

From then on I was really concentrating on getting the right balance between beautiful looking food and perfect balanced flavours. I really wanted to impress and prove to Michel and Greg that they had made the right choice in keeping me in the competition.

In the finals I was also really in trouble when cooking for the chefs table. I kept changing my dish and the day before decided to add more components to the dish without testing my timings first. Dinner time was looming and I was really starting to think I wasn't going to get it finished in time but luckily I just managed it and they enjoyed my dish a lot which I was really stoked about. The night turned out to be one of the highlights for me also, just having the opportunity, as daunting as it sounds, to cook a dinner for 35 of the UK's and Europe's top chefs was an honour.

We knew the task would be nerve wracking but boy, what an audience to show our cooking skills to!. So finally after a full day of hard grafting and a huge push to get the meal out on time we found ourselves being applauded by 35 of the UK and Europe's top chefs including one of my all-time inspirations, the god father of French cuisine Albert Roux himself. Certainly a moment I will carry fond memories of into the future and beyond.

From the moment I heard we were travelling to Spain to cook at El Celler De Can Roca I was buzzing. To have the opportunity to cook in one of Spain's, and the world's top restaurants was a dream come true and one of the highlights of MasterChef and also my career so. It was such a privilege to be in a position that most professional chefs would give their right hand for.

Having the opportunity to be a part Professional Masterchef was such a great feeling but to actually win it was a dream come true. When my name was announced as the winner I was in shock, I think I was hit with just about every emotion all at once but mostly overwhelming joy. I'm still not sure if it's actually sunk in, it still feels like a dream a bit but I'm just so happy that all the work paid off and mostly that Michel and Greg had so much belief in me throughout the competition.