MasterChef champion Eddie Scott has said his experience as a marine pilot helped him handle the heat of the kitchen, including facing the notoriously fierce Gordon Ramsay.
The 31-year-old amateur chef was crowned winner of the BBC cookery competition tonight (May 5) after a tense series which saw the contestants take on invention challenges and cook for some of the world’s greatest culinary figures. He faced tough competition from fellow contestants Pookie Tredell and Radha Kaushal-Bolland in the final as they all showed off their culinary flair to judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace.
Scott, who lives in Beverley, East Yorkshire, spent eight years as a navigation officer in the Merchant Navy traveling the world and has piloted ships on the Humber in northern England for the last five years. He told the PA news agency: “The stakes are quite high at my work. If you have an accident, the ship catches fire, you have a collision or you hit something, you can cause huge amounts of damage to the environment and to the ship and other infrastructure.
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“So, it’s a job where you have to conduct yourself at the highest standards and a huge amount of pressure, navigating and manoeuvring the ships, which is a tough job. That allows me to think with a cool head in high-pressure environments and that really helps me to keep a clear mind in the kitchen and during the challenges on MasterChef.”
The marine pilot said that being a “very organized person” has helped him handle the stress of his job and the kitchen as he is able to methodically plan out the recipe in his mind. Being able to thrive under pressure came in particularly handy when cooking with Gordon, one of his culinary heroes.
The celebrity chef hosted this year’s Chef’s Table at his three Michelin-starred establishment – Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Scott told PA that he “wasn’t nervous in the slightest” when he had to cook some of Ramsay’s classic dishes to impress a dining room of some of the country’s best chefs.
He said: “I was more about seizing the opportunity of cooking with one of my heroes, someone I really admire. There were not many nerves, you could feel the pressure, but I was really excited.”
The amateur chef said he tries to maintain his “up for anything” attitude when cooking as he feels “if you cook with a smile, then you’ll make lovely food”. His positive attitude helped him through the competition, which saw 44 other amateur cooks fight for the title across seven weeks of culinary challenges.
After being crowned, Scott said he felt “on top of the world” and that winning the prestigious cookery competition was “an absolute dream come true”. The newly-crowned champion now hopes to focus on his “true passion in life”, which is entering into the culinary world as he feels he has achieved his childhood dream of being in the merchant navy and is now ready for a new challenge.
He hopes his MasterChef title will aid that ambition. He explained: “I’d really love to open a restaurant and showcase my love of food, my passion with other people and my nostalgia which shines through all my dishes.”
The chef’s style is a fusion of French and Indian cuisine, inspired by his childhood road trips to France and his grandparents making him classic Punjabi dishes. Reflecting on the rise of fusion cooking, Scott said he feels that MasterChef shows the “fantastic diversity” of cultures and cuisines available as Britain becomes more multicultural.
He also hopes the show highlights the importance of the hospitality world as he feels it was “decimated” during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Although we’re through the worst of it, I think it’s still having a massive effect on the whole industry as a whole. So, it’s great to promote the industry,” he added.