In November last year, I entered the MasterChef: The Professionals kitchen and took on its infamous skills test in the name of journalism, hoping to flex my bangers and mash prowess and ultimately impress Marcus Wareing. Instead, I disgraced myself by serving exploded sausages, half-raw potatoes and a sludge that was supposed to be onion and stout gravy.


So, when the opportunity to try out Next Level Chef – ITV1 and Gordon Ramsay's latest cooking competition – came about, I thought this could be the moment to redeem my culinary skills; to prove that my dishes are a source of pleasure and not food poisoning. I was gravely wrong.

The reality competition, which is already established in the US, places 12 chefs in a 50ft-tall three-storey kitchen, with those on the top floor getting first pick from the food platform and top-of-the-range equipment.

Meanwhile, the team on the middle floor are given tools you would find in a standard kitchen and the chance to grab the ingredients they want after the top team, while contestants in the basic basement must work with whatever's left.

Unfortunately, I was in the bottom floor team and with just 30 minutes to cook a dish from whatever was left on the moving food platform, I was determined to impress judges Gordon Ramsay (our assigned mentor), Paul Ainsworth and Nyesha Arrington.

It's safe to say I failed to do that – to the extent that Gordon spat my meal out, threw it on the ground and called it an "idiot sandwich".

With limited resources to work with and even more limited skill on my part, I decided the safest thing to do would be to whip up a stir-fry since I'd only managed to grab vegetables.

Stressfully grabbing ingredients in the Next Level Chef kitchen.
Stressfully grabbing ingredients in the Next Level Chef kitchen. ©Studio Ramsay/ITV

After procuring some sea bass from another journalist and picking up some bread from the food platform's second trip down to the basement, I served up a "manky" stir-fry sandwich, much to the disgust of the Hell's Kitchen chef.

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"This is Next Level Chef, not Ready Steady T**t," he said in exasperation mid-way through the cooking process.

You can watch his iconic reaction – and the cooking chaos that preceded it – in the video above and while I may have once again publicly embarrassed myself, at least I can say I served Gordon Ramsay a dish he'll never forget.

Next Level Chef airs on Wednesday 11th January at 9pm on ITV1. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide or Streaming Guide, or visit our dedicated Entertainment hub.


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