Tom Hamblet has been crowned the winner of MasterChef: The Professionals for 2023.
The 24-year-old, who hails from Horsham in West Sussex, beat off 31 other contestants over a seven-week process to take the title - including fellow finalists Kasae Fraser, Tommy Thorn and Charlie Walters.
Tom had been consistently impressive throughout the competition, with veteran critic Grace Dent at one point declaring that he had made her the best dessert she had ever eaten in all her years taking part in the show.
TOM'S WINNING MENU
Starter: Poached native lobster tail with blanched red and yellow cherry tomatoes, filled with lobster claw meat in a lobster and chilli oil, topped with a lemon verbena gel, courgette balls and a creamy lobster and tomato sauce Américaine
Main: Seared beef fillet on a bed of pan-fried oyster mushrooms, served with braised beef cheek wrapped in brick pastry, topped with a poached oyster, a lovage emulsion, salsify, beef and red wine sauce and a beef and oyster tartare
Dessert: Olive oil sponge filled with an olive oil jam, topped with a set lemon curd, crème fraiche cream, fennel tops and a fennel pollen tuille, served with a fennel seed ice cream
Reacting to his win, Tom said: "I'm lost for words. It's been such a good experience. I've done it! The trophy's here. I'm holding it! I couldn't be happier right now. I'm just going to enjoy the moment."
"From the minute that young chef stepped into this kitchen he's been consistent and he's delivered at every single level," said Wareing. "Tom's food today was technical, it was beautiful and most importantly, it was delicious."
Wallace added: "The flavours of his dishes, for me, enter the world of exquisite. His food is beautiful and it's absolutely banging delicious. Tom is a talent. I think today, we watched a very young chef come of age. Someone who's always had the technical ability, but today was brave enough to put his own stamp on the classical."
Since filming of the show ended, Tom has continued working as a sous chef at Camellia in Horsham, where his parents also work as chefs.
"I'm still young, so feel like I'm working out my ambitions every day," he said. "I want to have a successful career and that means continuing to learn and progress. I'd love to aim for my own Michelin-starred restaurant and maybe do more TV. I'm keen to take on projects that allow me to become a better chef and person so hopefully there are more exciting things coming!"
Applications for the 2024 edition of MasterChef: The Professionals are open online now.
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