MasterChef The Professionals 2018 has been quite a year for local talent. We have three chefs who have made it to the knockout stages! Tonic caught up with Leo Kattou from Simpsons Restaurant to ask him a few questions about his experience so far on the show.

Why did you enter?

It has crossed my mind in the past, with a few family and friends mentioning it to me the competition but I never really thought I would actually enter it. The opportunity came up and my Chef Director Luke said “Yes, 100% do it!”, so I took the chance and applied from there.

How did the experience measure up to your expectations?

To be honest, it was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I didn’t expect the pressure to be so high and dealing with the cameras in your face was another level too, but the experience was thoroughly enjoyable.

What did you learn in your heat and quarterfinal?

I learnt how to keep myself composed, especially through the Invention test we faced in the Quarter Final. Obviously, I messed up in that challenge so it was dealing with my nerves and the pressure to create something on the spot and start my dish all over again, whilst keeping calm and composed.

What advice would you give a young chef starting their career?

Be yourself, don’t try to be a famous Michelin-starred chef right away. As most chefs will always say, we are not looking for the ability we are looking for attitude, positive attitude and the ability comes with experience. The main thing is, cooking can be hard but as long as you enjoy it then it becomes easy.

What is the best single piece of advice you have been given by a mentor?

One who I shall not name, said to me once upon a time ago, I can lead you to the bowl of water but if you are not going to drink out of it then there is nothing else I can do. Other than that, always make sure you respect everyone in the kitchen because they are there to help you and not to be your enemy.

Credit: MasterChef: The Professionals, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 pm, BBC Two

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