Masterchef: The Professionals has named Anton Piotrowski and Keri Moss joint winners of its fifth series after judges Michel Roux Jnr and Gregg Wallace could not choose between them.
It is the first time in the show’s history that two contestants have shared the title.
Roux, who runs two-Michelin-starred London restaurant Le Gavroche, said it was one of the hardest, tightest finals that he had ever seen, adding: “It was just impossible to split [Piotrowski and Moss] – their talents have been matched plate for plate for the past several challenges and it was truly impossible to award one the title over the other.”
“What an amazing final,” added Wallace. “I can’t ever remember a decision this tight.”
The two winners had previously gone head to head in a semi-final round, in which they spent a service at Tom Kerridge’s two-Michelin-starred Hand and Flowers in Marlow. Their cooking on that occasion was also considered too close to call, and both chefs were put through to the final.
For their last challenge, Piotrowski, Moss and fellow finalist Oli Boon cooked a three-course menu for the judges.
Moss, who previously worked at CH&Co’s venue catering business Ampersand, served up a starter of mackerel tartar with crispy poached quails’ eggs, a main of Chinese five-spiced duck breast and a dessert of green olive and pistachio cake with a white chocolate parfait.
Meanwhile Piotrowski, who is chef-patron at the Treby Arms pub in South Devon, produced a menu of elderflower marinated pollack with a brown shrimp and elderflower beurre noisette, coco-marinated loin of venison accompanied by a nettle ballotine and pan-seared ox heart, and a salted caramel-filled dark chocolate cylinder with a banana parfait.
Speaking during the final that aired last night, Wallace described Moss’s cooking as “out of this world, incredible”.
He said: “I’m so impressed with her. Anton is an exceptional talent and had a brilliant competition, but for me, I want to eat Keri’s food more than anybody I’ve met in a long, long time.
“I don’t know what magic is running through Keri’s fingertips; I don’t know who poured the passion into her soul, but you can feel it and you can taste it on dish after dish.”
Roux commented: “Keri is an exceptional chef, but you can’t get away from the fact that Anton has got the knowledge, he’s got the skills in abundance, he’s got the passion, the drive – every dish that Anton cooks is original, it’s got a twist, it’s got his character there.
“The guy is brilliant. Everything he touches and puts on the plate not only looks great but it tastes great. It’s also challenging – it’s pushing the barriers.”
Following the announcement, Moss said: “Joint winners is just fantastic. We’ve had a good run together, Anton is awesome.
“Today has surpassed anything that I have ever achieved in my career, in my whole life – this is just massive.”
Piotrowski added: “It’s absolutely amazing. To share the title with someone that’s so talented and so amazing is unreal. It’s a good start to the rest of my life – mind blowing!”
The announcement followed four weeks of competition, including a finals week of intense cooking competition that saw the three chefs tasked with an invention test and working a service at the Fat Duck.
They also prepared a three-course menu for the “chefs’ table” – a dinner for a stellar cast of two- and three-Michelin starred chefs including Michel Roux, Daniel Clifford and Andrew Fairlie as well as culinary legend Anton Mosimann.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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