Chef Tom Peters was a contestant on this year's MasterChef: The Professionals. He has teamed up with some of his fellow contestants to host a number of pop-ups, the first of which is on Saturday 27 January at Roux at Parliament Square, London. He talks to Katherine Alano.
What made you apply for MasterChef: The Professionals?
I wanted to challenge myself and my own style of cooking. Learning from Steve (head chef at Roux at Parliament Square) and my previous head chefs has been great, but I wanted to come up with my own food for the show.
What did you take away from your experience?
What was hardest part of being on the show?
The competition was tough and it was a difficult balance of trying to cram in the time to practice dishes for the show [while still working at the restaurant]. During the filming, it was all about staying focused; I was confident I could cook, but I wasn't sure how I was going to react with the cameras everywhere, not to mention the renowned judges, Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti.
You are currently sous chef at Roux at Parliament Square, where former winner, Steve Groves, is head chef. Did he give you any advice before entering the show?
Having Steve as a mentor has been great. But him being a previous winner wasn't ever going to work to my advantage - it just meant I put a heap of pressure on myself. Steve gave me great advice with my dishes, but only as much as any great head chef would do.
What advice would you give to any other chefs considering applying for the show?
I would highly recommend the competition to other young chefs if they are at a stage in their career where they can dedicate time to it, and do it to their full potential.
You've teamed up with some of the other contestants from this year's series. Can you tell us more about that?
Myself and five other chefs from the show have teamed up for a number of pop-ups, with the first one being hosted by me at Roux at Parliament Square. Matt Campbell, Steve Lickley, Leo Kattou, Tom Moody and Jamie Park and I kept in regular contact after the filming had finished, and we had spoke about all cooking together again. I went to Steve, and Celia - the general manager at Roux - and they were more than happy to accommodate us.
For the first pop-up we will be cooking dishes that we created for the show, including cheese and onion from Steve Lickley; veal, cauliflower and liquorice from Tom Moody; Atlantic wreckfish, plankton and king oyster from Jamie Park; suckling pig, Alsace bacon, turnip and apple from Tom Peters; rhubarb and buttermilk from Leo Kattou; and raw cacao and Jerusalem artichoke from Matt Campbell.
Are you planning any more collaborations in the future?
Yes, we are doing one at Adam Handling's the Frog E1, in Shoreditch, London, on 18 February, and at Simpson's in Birmingham, in March. We are still deciding about the others.
You're still a young chef, what are your ambitions?
I am still really happy training at the moment. I always had a dream to have my own venture by the time I'm 28 and still very much have that in my sights!
Find out more about the pop-ups, click here: www.tompeterschef.com/master-chef-popup/