MasterChef semi-finalist takes the reins at exciting new Sheffield café

A semi-finalist from MasterChef: The Professionals has been made head chef at an exciting new Sheffield café which is opening soon.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 10:20 am

Luke Rhodes wowed viewers with his run on the hit BBC One show, winning praise for elevating honest Yorkshire grub to the next level and introducing judges to the delights of Henderson’s Relish in the process.

It has now been announced that the 27-year-old dad-of-one, from Woodhouse, will head up the kitchen at Whirlow Hall Farm’s new café, which is due to open in around six weeks.

Luke, who is also a pro-wrestler, can’t wait to begin working his magic at the newly-built 120-cover café, using the amazing ingredients grown and reared at the farm and sourced from independent producers across Sheffield and Yorkshire.

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Luke Rhodes will be the head chef at Whirlow Hall Farm's new café, opening soon (pic: Whirlow Hall Farm/Luke Rhodes)

“I’m really looking forward to showcasing the amazing produce at Whirlow and working with a farm to fork concept, which is something I have always wanted to be a part of,” he said.

"They produce so many great ingredients at Whirlow, including their own honey, all their own herbs and, of course, all the animals they rear there.

"The café’s in a stunning new building, with massive bi-fold windows looking out over the great views, and I’m looking forward to filling it up.

"I cannot wait to cook up my famous Yorkshire grub for such a fantastic community, and I hope to see you all down on opening day!”

Luke, who was a senior sous chef at the University of Sheffield’s Halifax Hall hotel and has been busy cooking private dinners since appearing on TV last year, told how he had got in touch with the farm’s bosses after hearing about the new café and was delighted to be given the chance to take the reins.

He was already familiar with the farm thanks to the Sheff’s Kitchen competition it runs to find the city’s culinary masters, in which he made it to the final in 2019, in which contestants had to cook three courses for 200 diners at Sheffield’s Genting Casino.

The new café will be open during the day throughout the week, focusing on fresh, seasonal produce and the best home-reared beef, pork and lamb, with the stunning roast potatoes he made on MasterChef set to grace its Sunday roasts.

Luke is also planning some special bistro evenings at the venue, which is scheduled to open in June, at which diners will be able to tuck into a three-course meal while enjoy the amazing views of the Sheffield countryside.

Having helped propel him to the verge of the MasterChef finals, Henderson’s Relish will unsurprisingly feature on the menu.

"There’s going to be lots of Henderson’s involved. I think there has to be in Sheffield, or people wouldn’t come,” he said.

"It’s about using it smartly so it enhances the flavours rather than overpowering them.”

Luke also gave a tantalising taste of what diners can expect, explaining how one of the dishes he is planning will feature three or four different cuts of pork from the farm, accompanied by apples grown on site and a cider sauce.