A remarkable three of the forty-eight contestants in this year’s, BBC Masterchef, The Professionals, learnt their trade at Milton Keynes College Former College students, Will Bowman-Smith, Callum Graham and Sean Norton have all been taking part in cookery’s most high profile competition.
Twenty-four year old Will is Head Chef at The Organic Kitchen at the Plough at Simpson, twenty-seven year old Callum is a junior sous chef at a Michelin starred restaurant in Jersey while Sean, who is twenty-nine is a Senior sous chef at a fine dining restaurant in London’s Covent Garden.
Will made it to the quarter-finals while Callum was knocked out in the heats and Sean made it all the way into the last six.
Callum says, “It was great fun being in the competition. It was exciting and really challenging but working in Jersey it was quite a way to travel so pretty exhausting. It doesn’t surprise me at all that there are three former Milton Keynes College students in the competition. It’s just such a great place to learn. Even though I don’t live there now I follow what’s going on and was delighted when they won the AA College Restaurant of the Year, having reached the final several times before.”
Will says the whole experience was life-changing. “I feel like it was a great personal achievement for me to get into the competition. It was really nerve-wracking having your work judged by such incredible chefs, especially Marcus Wareing with his Michelin star but they were both lovely and so supportive. Appearing in Masterchef, the Professionals, has just made me want to push myself harder and achieve more. Doing the skills test reminded me of being at Milton Keynes College – it was just like an exam. For me it’s just the best place to go if you want to learn to be a professional chef. The staff are fantastic, especially the Hospitality and Catering Workplace Trainer, Tony Oxley, who is an amazing chef. They all absolutely know what they’re doing and I owe them a lot.”
College Workplace Trainer, Tony Oxley, says, “It’s wonderful to see our former students producing some incredible food. It’s a competition any young chef would be thrilled to be accepted into and it’s testament to their dedication and skill that they’re there. For us at the College, it makes all the hard work seem worthwhile. We couldn’t be more proud of them all.”