A real pressure cooker: Shrewsbury chef Neil stars on MasterChef: The Professionals

A young Shrewsbury-based chef impressed the judges on MasterChef: The Professionals after reaching the quarter finals.

Neil Roberts on MasterChef: The Professionals
Neil Roberts on MasterChef: The Professionals

Neil Roberts, who is junior sous chef at Mercure Shrewsbury Albrighton Hall Hotel and Spa, said he had an "amazing experience" reaching the quarter finals of the hit TV show.

The 20-year-old, who lives in Wales, said he entered the competition on a whim and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

His father and great-grandfather were both chefs, and he said: “It runs in my blood. Ever since I started school, being a chef was all I could ever see myself doing.

He said about competing on the show: “It was the most pressure I have ever been under. I did not realise how much pressure it would be.

“But the experience of working with different chefs and the feedback from such well-known judges has been absolutely incredible.

Amazing

“Doing something like this means putting your reputation on the line. Doing it so early in my career meant I had nothing to lose really, so there was no better time to do it.

“It is a massive judge of character and was an amazing experience.”

Neil finished school at 16 and started an apprenticeship. He worked in a small country house hotel in Wales, where the head chef had a big influence on him, and even went on to work in Melbourne, Australia for six months at a restaurant that is regularly named amongst the top ten in the country.

Jennifer Sibbald-Wall, manager of the Albrighton Hall Hotel and Spa, said: “We are all extremely proud of Neil.

“I think nerves may have got the better of him in the end, but he is only 20 and I have no doubt that he is definitely one to watch for the future."

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