Alex Webb has been named MasterChef: The Professionals champion 2020.
Webb has cooked his way through six increasingly intense weeks of culinary challenges, producing outstanding dishes during the heats. The 25-year-old impressed Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing, chef Monica Galetti and MasterChef's seasoned judge Gregg Wallace with his dishes, bringing style and theatre to the competition.
He also received high praise from critics and top UK chefs during the competition, including at the Chef's Table, where Anna Haugh described his dish as "perfect in every single way", while Aktar Islam called it "incredible".
Webb said: "It is the best feeling I have ever had in my life. To walk away with the trophy is incredible. I am so proud."
Wareing added: "Today was Alex's finest day. We have seen a young chef come of age. He is a brilliant young chef, I love his thirst for knowledge, and he has cooked beyond his years. MasterChef is about the next generation and for me, as a chef, I see Alex as the future."
Galetti added: "Alex's food has a cheeky sense of humour in it. There is a bit of his youth, which comes through in his cooking, which makes it very different, and that is something I have really enjoyed."
In the gruelling final week the chef was up against Bart van der Lee and Santosh Shah. In the last episode the final three competitors were asked to deliver the best three courses of their lives for Wareing, Galetti and Wallace, in three hours and 15 minutes.
Webb, who described his menu as his "heart and soul on a plate", incorporated a starter of scallop ceviche with an artichoke and pickled pear tartare, yogurt foam, parsley powder and crispy capers, finished with a watercress oil. His main was pan-seared trout, parsnip crisps, parsnip coleslaw, roasted parsnip, parsley gel and a parsnip purée, finished with a mussel and caviar cream sauce, served with a mini potato fish pie topped with caviar and parsley powder. His dessert was a white chocolate and passionfruit dome with passionfruit pearls, a prosecco sorbet on a feuilletine and dark chocolate base, served with a passionfruit cocktail and passionfruit powder party poppers.
Webb was born in Essex and works as head chef at the Square 1 restaurant in Great Dunmow, Essex, where he started as a pot wash when he was 15. Looking back at how it all started for him, he said: "When I was a young chef I thought the only competition I could really do was MasterChef and now I am a MasterChef: The Professionals champion, it is a day all my chef dreams have come true."
Webb trained at Westminster Kingsway College in London and was hugely influenced by fellow Essex chef Jamie Oliver as well as his current boss Spencer Hewitt.
Speaking about his next steps, Webb said: "I want to enjoy the moment and make the most of all the opportunities which may be out there. I will continue to work in the restaurant I do now, and I would like to keep learning and pushing myself. Then, hopefully one day, I will be able to achieve my big dream of owning my own restaurant."
Webb becomes the 14th professional chef to be awarded the MasterChef: The Professionals title and takes his place alongside previous winners including Gary Maclean, Steve Groves, joint winners Keri Moss and Anton Piotrowski, Steven Edwards, Jamie Scott, Mark Stinchcombe and Stu Deeley.