Marcus Wareing joins ‘MasterChef: The Professionals’

There’s a new judge in town as Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing appears on TV next week to help find the next ‘MasterChef: The Professionals’ champion.

Marcus Wareing joins 'MasterChef: The Professionals'

Marcus succeeds Michel Roux Jr as the third judge on ‘MasterChef: The Professionals’. He joins two fellow judges – chef Monica Galetti and ‘MasterChef’ seasoned diner Gregg Wallace – in the seventh series of the BAFTA award-winning programme, which returns to BBC2 at 8pm from Tuesday to Thursday (November 4-6). In week one (of seven), the acclaimed chef teams up with Monica and Gregg to seek out the next group of up-and-coming culinary stars looking to become 2014’s champion.

In the first heat, five ambitious chefs from across the country begin their bid for the coveted title by completing three tests to determine who is good enough to progress to the next round, and who must be sent home. Cooking in a brand new ‘MasterChef’ kitchen, the first challenge they face is the Signature Dish Test. The chefs have one hour to cook one plate of food that showcases just what they can do, before one must leave. The remaining four chefs then face Monica’s Skills Test, where they must impress both Monica and Gregg with their abilities in 20 minutes or less. In this episode, they must attempt the croquembouche.

The chefs are put through their paces by Marcus for the first time, when he sets them his version of the Invention Test. First, Marcus demonstrates one of his favourite recipes to viewers at home. Here it’s his signature quail dish: poached quail breast served with netto pesto, crispy bacon, radicchio, finished with quail sauce and pine nuts. Marcus then gives the chefs the main ingredient for the dish, a larder containing the rest of the components, and an array of other ingredients.

In their final chance to impress, the four have just 10 minutes to compose a quail-based dish and one hour to cook a plate of food which will prove they are worthy of a quarter-final place. Marcus and Monica then have the task of comparing notes on their two tests to decide which chef must go home and which three will make it through to the next round.

Show director Karen Ross said: “Marcus has long been a friend of ‘MasterChef’, appearing on the amateur, celebrity and professional series numerous times both as guest judge, mentor and diner. We’re delighted that he is taking up the baton of judge with us. His experience of coming from humble beginnings in the North of England and making his way into the country’s best kitchens, to then rise to be awarded two Michelin stars, is extremely inspiring – and will speak to the young chefs who hope to follow in his footsteps. His food links into the best of British heritage and produce in an extremely exciting way, though he still pays homage to his classical training.”

Originally from Southport in Merseyside, Marcus began his career at The Savoy at 18 years of age, followed by a stint at Le Gavroche under Albert Roux and roles at other renowned restaurants including The Grand in Amsterdam, The Point in New York, Aubergine, Guy Savoy in Paris, L’Oranger and Pétrus. He was awarded his first Michelin star at the age of 25. Other accolades include Young Chef of The Year, further Michelin stars in 2004 and a second coveted star in 2007. A year later, Marcus launched Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley (renamed Marcus after an extensive renovation earlier this year). 2011 saw the launch of his second restaurant, The Gilbert Scott at London’s St Pancras railway station, and in September he opened his third London restaurant, Tredwell’s on Upper St Martin’s Lane.

Marcus said: “I’ve been watching ‘MasterChef’ since I was a young kid at catering college and in more recent years I’ve enjoyed an established relationship with the programme. To now become part of the show is hugely exciting for me; to be asked is a true honour. Michel has left big shoes to fill and I’m delighted to be working with Monica and Gregg on a new journey of discovery to find the next generation of Michelin-starred chefs.”

Monica commented: “Marcus is an incredibly talented chef and I can think of no better person to follow in Michel’s footsteps. I’m really looking forward to filming with him.”

Gregg Wallace added: “He’s one of the outstanding chefs of my era – I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with Marcus. He has complete and utter respect throughout the industry. My only query is will he have a beard or not!”

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