Britain's Youngest Head Chef star Luke Thomas has hit back at critics maintaining that he is not too young to head up a kitchen.
The head chef of Luke's Dining Room at Sanctum on the Green hotel was the star of a fly-on-the-wall TV documentary, which aired on BBC Three on Wednesday night.
It followed the young chef as he took over the restaurant at the boutique hotel in Cookham Dean, Berkshire, which is owned by entrepreneur Mark Fuller.
Speaking to Caterer and Hotelkeeper, Springboard's Future Chef winner Thomas, said: "The show captured the first few months of opening and they [the production company] picked what they wanted. It was a huge learning curve and a huge challenge to take on the restaurant.
"It was good TV and it has generated some negative views as well, but that's what happens. But I have steered away from reading any of that in the media."
Thomas opened the restaurant following a chance meeting with Fuller last year, and said that it was a too good an opportunity to miss.
"Anyone who gets offered that kind of opportunity - no matter what your age or experience - you have to take it. It was a huge opportunity and I took it. At the time it was something that I had dreamt of, and didn't expect it to happen so soon.
Thomas admitted that he lacks experience, but said that since taking part in the programme the business has started to perform well and that his relationship with Fuller is much better.
"We are running a business. I have changed a lot since we started, I've matured and learnt a lot since making the show. We now have a good repsect for each other and that is reflected in how the business operates."
However Thomas said that despite the show making good TV, from a personal point of view "it didn't put me in the right light, but it's done now".
In May, Fuller and Thomas will also open a pop-up restaurant in Mayfair, London. Located at the Old Embassy site on Old Burlington Street, the joint venture will see Thomas take over the ground floor space.
Called Retro Feast, the theme is a play on childhood food and will offer a modern take on childhood classics.
The pop-up will be open for six months.