Professional Cookery graduate competes on new series of MasterChef

The new series of MasterChef: The Professionals will see Moray College UHI graduate, Ross Burgess, compete to become the next superstar chef.

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Ross Burgess, HNC Professional Cookery graduate

Ross first completed the SVQ Levels 2 and 3 in Professional Cookery at our Hospitality and Tourism Academy (HATA) and after five years of working in industry across the world, Ross returned to Moray where he successfully completed the HNC in Professional Cookery. We caught up with Ross who is now a Chef at Gordonstoun:

Why did you decide to apply for MasterChef?

I’ve watched every series of MasterChef: The Professionals and being that I am a chef myself I have always questioned if I had what it takes, always wondered if I was able to produce something that the Judges loved! I’d find myself shouting at the TV over the years and my fiancé was always telling me I should apply, so one day, I did.

How have the skills you gained at Moray College UHI helped you in your career?

The great thing about the hospitality courses at Moray College UHI is that they cover all of the fundamental cookery skills and techniques that all chefs need. With the numerous challenges on the show, I felt confident with my knowledge that I had picked up throughout my time at college and in the industry that I would be able to tackle whatever was thrown at me. I’ve found as well on my travels that although ingredients may vary, the ways of cooking them are similar so again it’s with this knowledge that I was able to tackle certain situations in the industry.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering the hospitality industry?

While it is incredibly sad the overwhelming impact COVID-19 has had on our industry I feel like people are really starting to appreciate eating out a lot more now. Food has become an even more important part of our lives, it’s what a lot of people talk about and what they do in their spare time, everyone can’t wait until all this is over so they can get back to eating out with friends and family, and long may that continue. I don’t feel just now is a bad time for anyone getting into the industry, if anything it’s the perfect time to come in and make a name for yourself as a lot of eyes are on the hospitality industry just now!

Can you tell us about your MasterChef experience?

I knew as soon as I got the call that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, as much I was trying to focus to make sure I practiced as much as I could and my dishes were as close to perfect as possible,  I still knew I had to enjoy every minute of it. I was very aware that this was an experience that I would remember for the rest of my life, so I tried to stay calm and take in as much as I could!

It sounds very cliché but meeting the judges at the studio in London was incredibly surreal – meeting people whose careers I have followed for longer than my own, and I was suddenly put in front of them to cook my food… It was incredibly daunting, but a fantastic opportunity. It was hard to stay focused while meeting other contestants, I’d been focusing so much on my own stuff I almost forgot there was going to be other people competing! Meeting them for the first time and hearing where everyone has worked or is working can be a very intimidating situation, but it’s important to just think about what you need to do.

Alistair Fowlie, Hospitality lecturer, commented: “Ross was always pushing the boundaries in the kitchen during his time at college. He didn’t stick to the traditional ‘rules’ and was always looking at ways of being creative within the curriculum boundaries. He has grown in confidence over the years and has used extensive travel to add to his repertoire and skill. He has a solid grounding and good set of classical skills, but he is a great example of what can happen when you push your creativity, step out of your comfort zone and go for it.”

The series commenced on 10 November with Ross making his appearance on 18 November at 9pm on BBC1.

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