Nick Bennett MasterChef Professionals 2015 Finalist
Nick entered MasterChef The Professionals thanks to his chef de partie, Zak. As well as having the desire to see how his skills compared to other chefs. Out of the 48 quarterfinalists Nick made it to the final 5, which goes to show how talented he is.
I remember watching MasterChef The Professionals and was initially impressed with the desserts he did, they looked amazing! His Cheesecake for example looked amazingly good!
Nick is sous chef at Restaurant 56 and if his food is anything to go by, eating at Restaurant 56 would be an amazing culinary experience!
When Did You First Have An Interest Cooking?
I first got interested in cooking whilst at school, in my food technology class. Then at 14, I got a job in a local country pub washing up and doing simple jobs like making soups. That really sparked an interest in cooking, so after I spent my work experience at the same pub, I was hooked.
I have been cooking professionally for 10 years now.
Where Do You Get Your Inspiration From?
For me, inspiration comes from various paths. Eating out in good places is a great way to see what other trends and styles other restaurants are exploring. I have a serious collection of cookbooks too! It’s great to flick through the books of some of the world’s top chefs and see if you can take inspiration for a new dish. For me, it is important not to try to replicate a chef’s dish, but to take a few techniques or flavour combinations and implicate them into my own cooking. A big tool these days is social media. You can find endless pictures and videos on Twitter and Facebook from some of the best chefs around.
What Was Your Best Bit of MasterChef 2015?
There were so many highlights for me in the competition. I loved the team challenge, cooking in Edinburgh with Tom Kitchin, but the best bit was getting to go to Alba and work alongside Enrico Crippa. To be in his presence to watch him cook and talk about his food philosophy was something I will never forget.
How Would You Describe Your Cooking Style?
I cook modern British cuisine, with classic foundations.
What Course Do You Prefer To Cook?
I have a real passion for pastry. I love the creativity you can have with desserts, as well as the science and precision. I have been on the pastry for a few years now and love it.
What Is Your Favourite Dish/Signature Dish to Make?
That is a very hard question! I suppose one of the dishes I am most fond of is the cheesecake cannelloni. The version I did on the show went down a storm! It changes seasonally and is a constant feature on our menu.
What Ingredient Do You Love To Cook With The Most?
It’s hard to pick out a single ingredient, in the UK now there is amazing produce readily available to us. I always look forward to using English strawberries and asparagus as well as wild garlic and the amazing mushrooms we have.
What Inspired You To Enter MasterChef 2015?
My chef de partie, Zak, suggested I enter as he saw the applications were open. I have always watched the professionals so it was in the back of my mind to enter at some point.
Which Other Chefs Inspire You?
Marcus Wareing is a big inspiration and an important aspect in me entering the show. Tom Kerridge, Simon Rogan and Daniel Humm are some of the many chefs I look up to.
Any Advice You Would Give To People Wanting To Become A Chef?
Don’t give up! It’s a tough industry and very demanding on a young chef, but the rewards are endless if you are willing to put the hard work in. I have stayed with a couple of chefs for many years and learnt my skills set and fine-tuned my knowledge, and it has definitely set me in good stead.
Anything You Would Like To Share, IE New Book? Development At Restaurant etc?
The hotel and restaurant have had a recent refurbishment and we are filling up rapidly so come and see us! There are some special menu nights with me at the end of each month to look out for. The restaurants website is www.restaurant56.co.uk and my twitter is @_nick_bennett
Dont forget to also follow Restuarant 56 on Twitter: @56_restaurant
Nick is an incredible chef and I would really encourage everyone to follow him on Twitter. I would really like to thank him for taking the time to do this interview, it means a great deal.
I look forward to hopefully trying out some of his excellent food in the future! 🙂