Dhruv Baker, a former board director of a media firm, is the winner ofMasterChef 2010*](http://www.masterchef.com "The BBC MasterChef website")*, the BBC's amateur cooking competition. He spoke toKerstin Kühnabout the series and where he thinks winning the title will take him.
Caterer Congratulations on winning*MasterChef*. How do you feel?
Dhruv Baker I'm absolutely delighted. But the overriding emotion is relief because I'm finally able to talk about it. I won the competition six months ago but haven't been able to tell anybody other than my wife about it and it has been really hard. The other finalists [Alex Rushmer and Tim Kinnaird] and I have been talking a lot to keep each other sane.
Caterer What inspired you to enter?
DB Cooking has always been a huge passion of mine and a lot of my friends said I should enter. In the end I did it for self affirmation - I wanted an unbiased opinion from the judges to see if I was really good enough.
Caterer What was the highlight of the competition?
DB The biggest highlight was winning it, of course, but other than that cooking for Alain Ducasse and his protégés at the Dorchester was amazing. Among them were Hélène Darroze, Tom Kitchin, Claude Bosi and Alexis Gauthier, some of the most recognised chefs in the world with 29 Michelin stars between. To get such positive feedback from them on my cooking was brilliant. Another highlight was visiting the three-Michelin-starred De Librije in Holland. Johnnie Boer's a fantastic chef and I learnt so much from being in his kitchen.
Caterer And the toughest moment?
DB The hardest part was the challenge in India where we had to cook for 120 schoolchildren as well as for a Maharaja. Cooking in such big volume in really tough conditions, from a very basic kitchen and in such incredible heat was just mad.
Caterer How difficult was it being shadowed by a film crew all the time?
DB You become immune to it quite quickly. The crew is very professional and never overly intrusive. After a while you forget they are even there.
Caterer Who is your culinary role model?
DB I don't have a single role model and there are a lot of chefs who have influenced my cooking. I have huge respect for Darroze and her style of cooking. She takes high-end classic dishes and combines them with spices that wouldn't normally be associated. I also admire Atul Kochhar a great deal - he's a wizard when it comes to using spices.
Caterer What are your plans now as theMasterChefwinner?
DB I want to get between three and six months experience in a professional kitchen. There's a huge difference between being a good home cook and cooking in a restaurant. After this I want to open my own restaurant, which I hope to launch within the next 18 months. I live in south-west London so it would be great to open restaurant somewhere local but there's no reason why I wouldn't look outside of London, too.
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