Sheffield chef wows judges on MasterChef: The Professionals – but did he reach the finals?
Sheffield dad Luke Rhodes once again bowled the judges over on MasterChef: The Professionals as he competed for a place in the finals.
Sadly on this occasion the 26-year-old from Woodhouse fell agonisingly short, coming within a mille-feuille’s breadth of making the last six on the popular BBC One programme last night, Wednesday, December 9.
But everyone from his home city agreed that he had done himself, his young family and the whole of Sheffield proud – and lots of people are asking when he’ll be opening his own restaurant.
Luke and the other semi-finalists got to cook for Michelin-starred chef Aktar Islam on last night’s show.
His take on aloo gobi, including pickled cauliflower and a cauliflower bhaji impressed Aktar, who praised him for capturing the ‘flavours of a visit to a curry house’.
His Kashmiri chilli cod with garlic prawns and charred spinach cooked in ghee was another crowd-pleaser, with Gregg Wallace purring ‘love his curry sauce’, though fellow judge Marcus Wareing said he would like to taste more spice.
Sadly it was not enough to send him straight through, leaving him in a three-way cook-off for a place in next week’s finals.
This time he whipped up a main of pork fillet with brown butter mash, celeriac puree and an apple and cider jus, followed by a vanilla custard mille-feuille and rhubarb dessert, inspired by his childhood memories of snapping raw rhubarb from the garden and dipping it in sugar.
Luke was uncharacteristically approaching the judges, telling them ‘this is the first time I haven’t been happy’, but they set his nerves at ease with more fantastic comments.
Marcus said his pork dish was ‘a proper plate of food – big and bold... like you’, while Gregg called his dessert ‘a fine, fine pudding’.
Fellow judge Monica Galetti said of Luke: “Every time he’s cooked, his food is jam-packed with those heavy, delicious flavours and it’s been a joy.”
The judges agreed they didn’t want to let anyone go but sadly, after what Marcus called an ‘outstanding round of cookery’, it was Luke who was sent home.
Following his exit, Luke said: “It’s been a cracking experience, one I will never forget.”
His wife Jess, who gave birth to their first child, Dolly, now six months old, just four days before he first cooked in the heats of the competition, took to Facebook to thank everyone for their support.
"It’s been a rough year for Woodhouse but finishing it off with everyone coming together and being supportive really does make it brighter From the bottom of our hearts, on behalf of me, Luke and our little girl, Dolly, thank you!” she said.
The Sheffield College-trained Luke, who is a senior sous chef at the University of Sheffield’s Halifax Hall hotel, has already stated his goal of achieving a coveted Michelin Star by the age of 32.
Viewers left salivating by his culinary wizardry are eagerly anticipating his next move, with Angela Mees asking: “When can he open a restaurant in Woodhouse please?”
Everybody agreed that Luke, who is also a professional wrestler, could hold his head very high after his amazing efforts.
Christine Lee said ‘you were fantastic’, Pauline Boswell wrote ‘you did us proud’ and Julie Marshall commented ‘he did really well and was robbed’.