Meet the winner of MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 - and find out where he works
On 17 December 2020, Essex chef Alex Webb was crowned the winner of MasterChef: The Professionals.
At just 25 years old, Webb has said he will continue to work in his hometown, until he can fulfil his dream of owning his own restaurant.
So who is he, and where can you enjoy some of his delicious food? Here’s what you need to know.
Who is Alex Webb?
In a real rags-to-riches story, Alex Webb started in the hospitality industry as a pot washer aged 14.
Born and raised in Essex, he trained at Westminster Kingsway College in London before returning to the original restaurant he worked in, Square 1 Restaurant in Greater Dunmow, where he is now head chef.
He has said he was influenced by fellow Essex chef, Jamie Oliver, as well as his current manager at Square 1 Restaurant, Spencer Hewitt.
Winning the 2020 title, Webb said: “It is the best feeling I have ever had in my life. To walk away with the trophy is incredible. I am so proud."
"I can’t wait to cook and show you all what I can do."
Expanding on his future plans, he added: "I want to enjoy the moment and make the most of all the opportunities which may be out there.
“I will continue to work in the restaurant I do now, and I would like to keep learning and pushing myself.
“Then, hopefully one day, I will be able to achieve my big dream of owning my own restaurant."
The classically trained chef enjoys cooking French cuisine most, but also experiments with Asian flavours.
What did he cook in the final?
The 14th chef to win ‘The Professionals’ title, Alex underwent six weeks of intense cookery tests before concluding with a three-hour task in the final.
Thursday's show (17 December) saw each of the finalists compete in a three-course showdown, having been given just three hours to serve up a menu which included a starter, main and dessert.
Each judge was served all of the plates, meaning each contestant had to serve a total of nine plates in the allocated time.
Webb’s menu consisted of:
Starter - scallop ceviche with an artichoke and pickled pear tartare with yoghurt foam, parsley powder and capers.
Main course - pan seared trout with a number of parsnip sides, plus a mussel and caviar cream sauce alongside a mini potato fish pie.
Dessert - a white chocolate passion fruit dome with white chocolate parfait and a party popper of passion fruit powder and a prosecco ice cream.
Judge Marcus Wareing described Alex as 'the future' of cooking, due to his quirky and adventurous play on traditional flavours.
Who were the other finalists?
The other two 2020 finalists were Nepalese born Santosh Shah and private chef, Bart Van Der Lee.
Shah had worked at several five-star restaurants before moving to London to further his career.
He now works as head chef at the Cinnamon Collection in London, where he oversees high-end Indian restaurants The Cinnamon Club and Cinnamon Kitchen.
His passion is to bring Nepalese inspired dishes to UK kitchens.
Van Der Lee works as a private chef for a family in Chelsea, London.
The father of two had previously worked in Michelin starred restaurants and private yachts, wowing the judges with his cookery knowledge and attention to detail.
Where does Alex work?
Webb has gone full-circle, returning to his local Michelin-starred venue, Restaurant 1 in Greater Dunmow, Essex.
Chef patron is Stephen Hewitt, who has over 30 years of culinary experience and runs the show with his wife Claire
Square 1 Restaurant is a relaxed but formal restaurant, and customers are advised to wear whatever they are comfortable in - just not ‘the rudie nudie’, according to the website.
While you can relax as you dine, the food is top quality and locally produced.
Diners can expect to be served up a great atmosphere, as well as “top quality wines, champagnes and cocktails”.
What is on the menu at Square 1 Restaurant?
Menus range from A La Carte to ‘Monday Madness’ and Sunday Brunch, with children also welcome and catered for.
Starters range from gin and beetroot cured salmon on rye to French onion soup and cheese croutons.
Mains include smoked bacon rolled chicken ballotine with all the trimmings to baked butternut squash and mushroom wellington on chestnut puree.
And to finish, diners can indulge in festive favourites, including a blackforest log, Christmas cake, panettone and eggnog ice cream or a savoury cheese board.