Born and bred Essex chef Alex Webb became the 14th champion of MasterChef: The Professionals on Thursday night, a performance during which judge Marcus Wareing said the 25-year-old “came of age”.
Alex said: “It is the best feeling I have ever had in my life. To walk away with the trophy is incredible. I am so proud.”
Marcus said: “Today was Alex’s finest day… He is a brilliant young chef, I love his thirst for knowledge, and he has cooked beyond his years. MasterChef is about the next generation and for me as a chef I see Alex as the future.”
Alex said that he had put all his “heart and soul on a plate” in the menu for the final.
He started with a scallop ceviche with an artichoke and pickled pear tartare, yoghurt foam, parsley powder and crispy capers finished with a watercress oil.
Marcus said: “You are very brave… the watercress oil is a point of genius, it works a treat. I could eat that all day long.”
Alex’s main was pan seared trout, with parsnip crisps, parsnip coleslaw, roasted parsnip, parsley gel and a parsnip puree, finished with a mussel and caviar cream sauce, served with a mini potato fish pie topped with caviar and parsley powder.
MasterChef judge Monica Galetti said: “It is just fabulous.”
Finally, Alex served a white chocolate and passionfruit dome, with passionfruit pearls, a Prosecco sorbet on a feuilletine and dark chocolate base served with a passionfruit cocktail and passionfruit powder party poppers.
Host Gregg Wallace told him: “I have nothing to do here but heap praise on your lap: for me with this dessert you have covered yourself in glory.”
During finals week, Alex had to defeat rivals Santosh Shah and Bart van Der Lee as they created and delivered a Michelin-standard dish for eight international culinary titans working in Britain today and then create a dish Dedicated to Someone Special. In Alex’s case it was for his granddad.
Alex said: “I decided to enter MasterChef because I wanted to see how far I could go; winning is something I will always be very proud of. I really wanted it and all the blood sweat and tears, and sleepless nights have paid off.”
The man who still works in the same restaurant he began as a pot washer at the age of 15 dreams of owning his own restaurant one day, a target inspired by his role models Jamie Oliver and current boss Spencer Hewitt.
He said: “I want to enjoy the moment and make the most of all the opportunities which may be out there. I have lots of ideas for a book and I really enjoyed the experience of being in front of the camera so would like to look into any chances there may be to do more of this. I will continue to work in the restaurant I do now, and I would like to keep learning and pushing myself.”
Alex takes his place in MasterChef: The Professionals history alongside previous champions: Laurence Henry, Craig Johnston, Gary Maclean, Derek Johnstone, Steve Groves, Claire Lara, Ash Mair, joint winners Keri Moss and Anton Piotrowski, Steven Edwards, Jamie Scott, Mark Stinchcombe and last year’s winner, Stu Deeley.