I always get excited when the next series of MasterChef launches itself onto our TV. I don't have any preference as to whether it's amateur home cooks trying to carve out a new career, celebrities stepping out of their comfort zone and into the heat of the kitchen, or professional chefs stepping up in the hope that they can demonstrate their skills and establish themselves as the best of the best. Regardless, I'm glued to the screen looking to pick up tips or recipe ideas from them or the celebrity judges. Over the last few years, I have been lucky enough to have the chance to put my 5 Questions to past winners, including Simon Wood and Ping Coombes, runners-up Tony Rodd and Adam Handling and even hosts (past & present) Gregg Wallace, Michel Roux Jr and Marcus Wareing.
The latest 5 Questions post features the 2014 MasterChef Professionals champion, Jamie Ross, former head chef at Rocca in St. Andrews and now Chef Patron of his own restaurant, The Newport, which he opened with his wife Kelly earlier this week.
Jamie's first venture sits on the banks of the River Tay with panoramic views over the water to Dundee. Set over two floors, the restaurant will serve clean Scottish food with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and Jamie's knowledge of the local area.
Here's Jamie's story;How did you get started?
Throughout my childhood I was always in or around the kitchen wither it be watching my Gran baking or visiting my Mum in her kitchen as she was Head Chef. When I was 14 years old my parents were club stewards at Hamilton Golf Club and whilst at this time I was golfing I would help my Mum do breakfast shift on the weekend in order to pay for clubs. One weekend I helped her with a dinner service and she said to me I had a real flare for plating food. It was just scampi and chips but her words stuck with me and made me interested learn more within the kitchen and really it took of from there.
How has your career path changed since winning MasterChef - The Professionals?
My career path hasn’t changed as my intention was to always own and run my own restaurant with my wife Kelly. Winning MasterChef has certainly sped this process up and opened a window of opportunities for me but opening The Newport Restaurant is the icing on the cake.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
I would love to see The Newport Restaurant as one of the best restaurants in Britain. We have a lot of work to get there but I would like our hard work and efforts to be recognised by this time. We have other business ventures we want to pursue, however this is our base and we want it to be the best it can be.
If you could only cook one of your own recipes, what would it be & why?
I love the Beef Short Rib, Salt Baked Turnip and Burnt Shallots dish that I used in the MasterChef Final and since then I have improved it further. I like that the whole cooking process takes an inexpensive cut of meat and turning it into something beautiful and tasty.You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
My Gran. I would have loved for her to have seen me in my career now given she is such a huge inspiration. I would have cooked her dishes from MasterChef. She wasn’t a foodie as such but she did enjoy eating and she would have loved my Beef Short Rib dish from the final and would have been proud of my Smokie Veloute with Doughnuts as my nod to her.
I've not had the chance to have Jamie cook for me yet but based on the amazing food photos (courtesy of Gastronomic Agency) from the soft launch evening last week, I know that it's only a matter of time before I make the trip up to his Tayside restaurant.
|I would like to thank Jamie for taking the time out to answer 5 Questions and also wish himself and Kelly every success in the future.|