A Dromara chef has spoken of his delight at getting through to the live shows of the television cookery show, Master Chef.
Adrian Jinariu, originally from Romania and a sous chef at Hedleys in Lisburn faced a tough challenge a few weeks ago, when he travelled to London to show off his culinary skills to BBC MasterChef judges Greg Wallace and John Torode.
Adrian was whisked away to a secret location when he flew to London, where he spent the day.
He had just an hour to serve up a chicken roulade, with parma ham, with asparagus puree, and aparagus foam with honey butter and quash followed by a main meal of grilled seabass with banana potatoes, fennel puree, fennel foam with purple carrots.
Adrian competed against 20 others to take part and now will go to the next round where he will cook live on TV in November.
He had a ten minute wait after the judges tasted his food before he was told that he had gotten through to the next round.
“They told me the colours were very vibrant,” he said. “I was pleased with the presentation but kept thinking I could do better.
“They told me what the dishes needed were a few more adjustments but did not tell me what they were. They will probably tell me at the live shows.
“I was confident throughout the day, which ended at 3pm, but quietly confident. I was thinking I could do a lot better.”
Thousands apply every year for the MasterChef programme, every year which attempts to unearth the UK’s best cooks
At just 26, Adrian has already worked at a Michelin star restaurant run by the famous chef, Marco Pierre White, in London’s Picadilly Circus, having left Northern Ireland on unpaid leave to work there.
He left his home town in Romania at 17 and has already worked in top establishments including the Merchant in Belfast and the Plough in Hillsborough; he has been a chef at Hedley’s for the past year.
Adrian discovered his love of cooking while watching his mother prepare food at home.
“I like to look at different ways of how to cook,” he said. “I would watch my mother for hours making home-made soups and stews and knew that I too would like to do that.”
Signature dishes Adrian has created include pork, with pancetta, an onion puree, onion cream and onion foam and a parcel of French beans.
Adrian who would like to thank his supplier from Young Family Butcher, Haslems Lane will be going back for the first of the live shows on November 11, along with Hedley’s owner, Stephen Aicken.