High-flying young chef from Winslow is a contestant on MasterChef: The Professionals

Aaron Middleton is one of 32 chefs from across the country who will be battling it out on popular BBC TV series which starts next week
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A chef from Winslow is taking part in the latest series of MasterChef: The Professionals, which starts on Monday, November 8, on BBC One.

Aaron Middleton, aged 27, grew up in Winslow and attended Winslow Combined C of E School, before going on to The Cottesloe School in Wing.

Even at such a young age, Aaron has already had an amazing career.

Aaron Middleton. MasterChef: The Professionals, starts Monday November 8, 7.35pm and 8.30pm, on BBC OneAaron Middleton. MasterChef: The Professionals, starts Monday November 8, 7.35pm and 8.30pm, on BBC One
Aaron Middleton. MasterChef: The Professionals, starts Monday November 8, 7.35pm and 8.30pm, on BBC One

Leaving school at 16, he got an apprenticeship under chef Steven Bulmer at Brook Hall Cookery School in Winslow.

From the age of 17, Aaron started working under Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones in the kitchens of the two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, where he rose to become part of the senior team.

Moving on to London’s The Ledbury, he served under chef Brett Graham, before being headhunted to take another senior role at Chef Ollie Dabbous’ new project, Hide.

In 2019, Aaron took on the position of head chef for Sir Richard Branson at his residence on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.

Today, he works and travels as a chef to a private household.

In the 14th series of MasterChef: The Professionals, Aaron is one of 32 eager chefs from across the country battling to become the 2021 Champion.

Judges Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace, are again overseeing the competition to uncover the UK's hottest new culinary talent.

Monica Galetti said: “The hospitality industry has faced such unprecedented challenges over the past 18 months. Britain’s chefs have been busting to get back behind the stove and I cannot wait for them to get cooking with passion and pride.”

Over six gruelling and exhilarating weeks, the professionals put themselves through rounds of cooking challenges against their peers from across the industry

In the first four weeks, eight chefs compete each week, with the aim of making the Quarter Final.

The inaugural challenge for the four chefs in each heat is the infamous Skills Test, where the judges demonstrate their dish for the viewers at home, then task the professionals with preparing the recipe. The contestants must then produce a Signature Menu of two courses within an hour and 30 minutes.

Two chefs from each heat will reach Quarter Final level, where the first is an Invention Test with a twist, where Marcus and Monica select an ingredient on which the professionals must base their dish.

The four best performers then face an intimidating round cooking for the UK’s most discerning food critics, who this year include Jimi Famurewa, Tracey MacLeod, William Sitwell, Grace Dent, Tom Parker Bowles, and Jay Rayner.

Having proved their worth, the professionals who make it through to the fiercely contested Semi Finals and Finals face an array of challenges, cooking to a variety of briefs set by the MasterChef judges and guests, including chef Jean-Pierre Blondet to test every aspect of their culinary knowhow.

They go out into the wider catering world and open their own pop-up restaurant, serving their food to notable industry figures, and cook for culinary legends at the Chef’s Table - where distinguished diners include the multiple Michelin-starred Mat Abe, Daniel Cifford, Michael Caines, Aktar Islam and Lisa Goodwin-Allen.

The top three professionals, who make it to the Finals, are offered the chance to hone their skills in one of country’s top restaurants - Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester - the three-starred establishment of the world’s most decorated living chef.

Following six weeks of intense competition, the chefs must deliver the best three-course menu of their lives - with one contender finally lifting the MasterChef: The Professionals 2021 trophy.

MasterChef: The Professionals starts Monday November 8, 7.35pm and 8.30pm, on BBC One.