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MasterChef 2011: My thank you note

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Tim Anderson Tim Anderson | 13:06 UK time, Thursday, 28 April 2011


Tim Anderson wins MasterChef 2011

Tim Anderson wins MasterChef 2011

Speak to just about any of the 20 extremely talented MasterChef contestants, and regardless of how far they got, I think most would say that it was one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of their life. The thrill of receiving the white apron kept me buzzing for weeks – and that feeling of pure joy grew exponentially throughout the competition. Much of that was down to simply progressing, getting closer and closer to grasping that trophy. But even more so it was down to the incredible education we received from our mentors who lent their time and talents to the competition.

For me, the highlights of the competition (and there were many) all involve the lessons learned from some amazing professional chefs. Early on there was Alexis Gauthier, who taught us the importance of instinct and trusting your senses in cooking – because after all, eating is nothing if not sensory! In fact it is the only art form that engages all our senses. Yotam Ottolenghi was brilliant in conveying his respect for vegetables, and how to capture their diverse flavours and textures and translate them into beautiful dishes.

Then there was Michel Roux, Jr, who even as a guest judge managed to give some excellent constructive criticism that helped us all become more professional. It was also an honour and a privilege to have a masterclass in pastry from the senior Michel Roux, who taught us many complicated techniques with wisdom and passion. His excitement and love for pastry was tangible - you could almost taste it. Though separated by the Atlantic Ocean, Paco Roncero in Spain and Wylie Dufresne in New York occupied the same mental space; they were both so passionate about ingredient-led cooking, smart fusion and culinary deconstruction. They taught me some amazing techniques as well as the importance of scientific understanding in the kitchen.

At Coworth Park, John Campbell represented a sort of culmination of all that I’d learned and then some. His influences, ingredients, and methods are very diverse, and he uses techniques old and new to produce stunning food, the likes of which I hardly thought I could produce. But with his guidance, his emphasis on efficiency, multitasking, and organisation, he helped me create a gorgeous and very complicated course that wowed a table full of Michelin-starred chefs.

Finally, there was the omnipresent John Torode, who over the course of the competition evolved from an intimidating overseer to a benevolent father figure. It didn’t quite dawn on me how much I’d learned from him until the competition had ended, because his advice often came as little titbits. But those titbits added up to a very comprehensive guide to professional cooking and service, and we all benefited hugely from his honest criticism and enthusiastic encouragement.

So it is with great sincerity and gratitude that I thank these chefs for mentoring me and the other contestants throughout the competition. “Whoever wins, it’ll change their life,” as Mr. Torode always says. But with teachers like these, it’s not just the winner whose life has changed. I hope the other 19 contestants don’t mind me speaking on their behalf when I say thank you very, very much.

Tim Anderson won the the 2011 series of MasterChef.


  • Comment number 1.

    Nice piece Tim

    Congratulations on winning - I really like the way you won, both in terms of your cooking, and your attitude to the real 'masterchefs' who worked with you, the judges and your fellow competitors.

    Looking forward to eating in your restaurant in the future!

  • Comment number 2.

    Congratulations, I can't wait to try your food at your restaurant one day, soon! Your graciousness towards Tom and Sara is appreciated because they are also brilliant.
    Good luck to all three of you.

  • Comment number 3.

    Wow Tim - that was quite the journey . My 11 - year - old daughter and I are so pleased for you . We wish you and your fellow finalists absolutely every success . It was a privelege to watch the emergence of true brilliance . Can't wait to eat in your restaurant . Peace

  • Comment number 4.

    Congratulations you weirdo! Wow, I definately think you are simply brilliant! The competition was extremely though this year and you should feel absolutely very proud! Congratulations also to Sarah and Tom!
    You've inspired me and boy, let me know the minute you open a restaurant! I will come all the way from Belgium to take my tastebuts on the ride of their life! Well done!

  • Comment number 5.

    Tim, congratulations. Well deserved win. I have to say you changed the way I see cooking and food, period. I don't like to cook, not fussy about eating, have never watched a tv series in my life, or even one episode of a cooking show. Somehow I stumbled on Masterchef and after watching you do something unfathomable, tuned in every week to see what you did next. It has never been anywhere near my list to dine at a great restaurant, but I cannot wait to eat at yours! I'm sure I'm not the only one to say thanks for opening my eyes to appreciate something new in life. Go far and have fun.

  • Comment number 6.

    A big congratulations Tim. You are a genius with food and a natural born talent. I loved watching your growth and development throughout the series and was so delighted when you won. Well done. Can't wait to try your food in the future. Best of luck. Sue

  • Comment number 7.

    Just to say 'well-done'. We have watched many masterchef competitions and usually pick someone to follow that we think has a chance of winning and follow their progress through the weeks. You caught our attention with both your approach to cooking and use of ingredients but also your amazing attitude and lack of 'big-headedness'. So well done on all fronts and hope to hear more of your successes in future. Total admiration and good luck !! Tom and Lynne in Fife

  • Comment number 8.

    I would like to say well done to Tim and to the BBC. On Tim's part I was continually blown away by his food and I'm massively impressed with his passion and effort (particularly in the final, how did he do that!!!).

    To the BBC. This is why we pay our license fee. I don't watch a lot of TV but most of what I do is on the BBC. Masterchef is tremendous viewing and one of the only shows I've followed this year (thank iPlayer!). My only criticism would be the slightly "X-Factor" style first rounds, a bit cheesy.

    Thank you!

  • Comment number 9.

    Well done Tim. My 6 year old daughter is about to watch the final for a 3rd time. She has loved 'Space Man Tim' from the first episode.

    I would have happily seen anyone of the finalists win this year. You have all worked so incredibly hard.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yeah i know i am late but here in Belgium is the Masterchef series 2011 just ended a few weeks ago.
    I have watch the last episode just a few minuts ago.
    Fantastic show and not like the series here on the commercial tv.
    The contestants are important and they were never made a fool of them by the jury.
    Those 2 guy's always have a nice and good word even if it goes wrong some time.
    That's what make the show so nice to watch keep up the nice and good work.
    Thanks for great television


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