A Dromara chef faced a tough challenge on Thursday, when he travelled to London to show off his culinary skills to BBC MasterChef judges Greg Wallace and John Torode.
Adrian Jinariu, originally from Romania and a sous chef at Hedleys in Lisburn, will compete against 20 others for a place in the next round, which could see him cook live on TV in November.
Thousands apply every year for the MasterChef programme, 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.
If Adrian was successful this week he will be going back for the first of the live shows on November 11, along with Hedley’s owner, Stephen Aicken.
Little seems to faze Adrian about the competition despite the challenge where he will have to invent new dishes on the spot for the two fiercest food critics.
“I’m quietly confident, yet a little nervous,” he said.
“I know I will be working with others who are better than me but I enjoy the challenge.”