A chef at a top restaurant in Lavenham has hailed his appearance on national television despite being axed after just one show.
Justin Kett, head chef at The Swan, a four-star hotel and restaurant, appeared on BBC flagship cookery show Masterchef: The Professionals on Tuesday night, cooking up three dishes before being sent home by the judges.
Mr Kett, who has worked at The Swan for the last three years, was praised for his first dish, pan fried halibut with a parmesan and cauliflower purée and a roast cucumber and chicken jus.
In the technical challenge, he had to attempt a croque-en-bouche, a tower like desert made up of profiteroles and held together with caramel.
He was hampered when he lightly knocked his structure, but successfully managed to rebuild the tower.
His final task was a blind on-the-spot test. Handed a bag of ingredients, Mr Kett decided to prepare roast quail with lightly pickled vegetables, but was criticised for under-cooking the quail – a mistake that ultimately cost him a place in the next round.
“I wanted to go much further in the competition,” he said. “I think I did OK. I would have liked to have done better.
“If I had cut out a few mistakes, then who knows, but what will be, will be – everybody makes mistakes.
“You have to take the criticism on board – you are cooking for one of the best chefs in the world.”
If performing in front of two Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing, renowned chef Monica Galetti and regular judge Greg Wallace was not stressful enough, the competitors also had to face a crowded room of competing chefs, camera men, directors and sound technicians, all adding to the intensity of the contest.
Thirty-three-year-old Mr Kett, who lives in Lady Lane, Hadleigh, described it as like “being back in the kitchen on your very first day” but said the whole experience was “very enjoyable”.
“It was a very different environment than I’m used to working in, very challenging, but that’s the whole point of the programme,” he said.
For now, it is back to The Swan for Mr Kett – a job he said he loves.
“The building itself is just a fantastic setting,” he said. “It’s a great place to work and you can’t help but be inspired by it.”
He may have had his five minutes of fame, but he has no ambitions to leave the stunning surroundings of Lavenham for the bright lights of London.
Mr Kett thanked the staff and owners at The Swan for their support and said it was an exciting time to be at the hotel.
He is currently working on a new brasserie menu, which will be unveiled in the next few weeks, while the hotel is getting ready for the opening of its new Weaver’s House Spa in 2015, meaning it is all go at one of Suffolk’s most historic venues.