It’s been a year since MasterChef contestant Chris Hale aka my husband graced our screens with his outlandish creations and fine food. And the plates have been heated once again for a new series of the BBC cooking show.
Here Chris describes what life has been like since making it to the quarter-finals of the popular contest.
“I really enjoyed the challenge of being on the show.
“I love cooking and creating recipes so having a platform to showcase these on was phenomenal.”
And his creations were well received with his Indian Sushi going viral online as well as his chocolate soil dessert proving popular amongst foodies nationwide (we are HUGE fans in this household!).
Chris said: “It was a whirlwind being on the show and one of the best experiences of my life.
“It’s always hard being knocked out as you can’t help but want to learn more, keep cooking and, win.
“But the experience was so positive and it inspired me to do more with my cooking.”
Chris has made the most of his TV “fame” and immersed himself into the catering world, working freelance as a chef across Europe.
He has also collaborated with fellow MasterChef contestants.
Chris said: “A few of us from the show kept in touch, so I arranged for us to take over a few restaurants together, creating our own menu.
“And they helped to cater for my wedding last summer at Unity Works.”
Business has boomed and so he set up his company Pop Up North.
“I’ve also been invited to host cookery demos, private workshops and judge cooking contests.
“I’ve gone from being a self-taught home cook to now judging trained professional chefs, it’s pretty amazing really.
“What an incredible year for my family and I.
“And this coming year is set to be even better and busier.”
Chris blogs about food, drink & MasterChef here on Mama Mei.
He said: “It’s daunting being a contestant on reality TV but with hard work and determination it can be a great way to showcase your skills to millions of people.
“Although I am glad this year to just relax and enjoy the show from the comfort of my own home with my family.”
For more on Chris and Pop Up North, go to: Pop-upnorth.co.uk
Follow him and his reactions on the new show live on twitter @AllHaleChris and Facebook.com/popupnorthfood
One of Chris Hale’s DIY ‘dinner at home’ recipes:
1 onion – 2 garlic cloves, chopped
3cm/1¼ in piece ginger – 3 ripe tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin – 2 tsp ground coriander
1 head of broccoli – 400g can chickpeas, drained
200g spinach leaves – 1 lemon
1 tin chopped tomatoes – 100g rice
Put the onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes in a food processor or blender and whizz to a purée.
Heat oil in a large pan. Add the spices, fry for a few secs and add purée. Bubble together for 2 mins, then add the chopped tomatoes and broccoli and cook for 4 mins. Stir in chickpeas and spinach, squeeze over lemon.
Cook the rice according to the packet instructions.