Tom Rhodes has been named MasterChef 2021’s winner.
The 31-year-old chef from Newcastle beat finalists Mike Tomkins, 27, and Alexina Anatole, 30, after cooking a five-course meal for hospitality sector workers at Plaisterers’ Hall in London and serving a spectacular dish for Michel Roux Jr’s famous fine-dining restaurant Le Gavroche.
The winner took to Twitter to respond to his win. He wrote: “An incredible end to the absolute experience of a lifetime! I’ve got so much more to say but I’m going to leave that till tomorrow and let it all sink in for now.
“For now, I’ll just say thank you to everyone that made the show possible and thank you to everyone who followed along, supported me and the other contestants and sent the most wonderful and kind messages.”
The final was originally due to air on Friday but was postponed following the death of Prince Philip. The BBC replaced scheduled programming with news coverage about the Queen’s husband, which received approximately 100,000 complaints.
Rhodes was a Nando’s front-of-house restaurant manager, who said that winning MasterChef is a “dream come true”.
“I entered last year because with lockdown it kind of really put into perspective and allowed me some time to think what I really wanted to do,” Rhodes said.
He added: “Being this year’s MasterChef Champion, after watching and admiring so many past Champions, seems like a dream come true.
“I’m grateful that I met, got to know, and cook alongside some of the most wonderful and talented people, and have found friends for life in them.
“I’ll also never forget and can’t be more thankful to all the friendly, hard-working, fantastic people, that make MasterChef such a special show.
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“I feel this is just the start, and I’m excited for what comes next.”
The winner’s menu consisted of a trio of beer-battered oysters, baked beetroot cooked in beef fat, a reverse-seared ribeye steak with a kombu-pickled beetroot in a Japanese seaweed, and a wasabi leaf.
One of the hosts, Gregg Wallace, said: “What he’s absolutely brilliant at is European-style of cookery, with Japanese flavourings.”
Rhodes finished his winning menu with his own version of a lemon tart topped with black olive meringue.
A fan wrote on Twitter: “Absolute worthy winner. Congratulations Tom Rhodes.”
A previous Master Chef contestant Mike Rowe also wrote on Twitter: “What a final of Masterchef! Well done to all involved! Alexina, Mike and Tom- absolute geniuses of food. Couldn’t be prouder to have shared a series with you.”
Another fan wrote: “Delighted that Tom Rhodes won Master Chef Final 2021, he was my favourite all along! Well deserved, I hope I get the chance to eat his food one day.”
During a backstage interview, Rhode said: “During the competition, I have realised my love for developing recipes and cooking for other people outside of my friends and family, so would love to do more of this after the show.
“Having seen what past champions have done, it’s really exciting to think of the possibilities that are out there.”
Rhodes added that he is “very hopeful” about the future of the hospitality industry despite the issues caused by the pandemic.
“I know certainly myself I can’t wait to get back to restaurants with friends and family and I think a lot of people feel like that,” said the 17th winner of Master Chef.
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