MasterChef 2007 Steven Wallis on nights out with Greg Wallace and the tough world of fashion

By BigHospitality Writer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Michel roux jnr

Who are you? An amateur chef who loves food and has just had the doors flung wide open for him. Ah yes, you won MasterChef, congratulations! You've been hard to get hold of – has fame gone to your head already? No, no. I've been in lots .

Who are you? An amateur chef who loves food and has just had the doors flung wide open for him.

Ah yes, you won MasterChef, congratulations! You've been hard to get hold of – has fame gone to your head already?

No, no. I've been in lots of meetings but also I'm still freelancing as a branding consultant.

Foodwise, what have you been offered so far? Michel Roux Jnr has asked me to come to Le Gavroche in a couple of weeks.

He's said just to bring my chef's whites and we'll take it from there.

I'm having lunch with Skye Gyngell to talk about working with her, and the BBC are also sending me on a placement to Paris to a Pierre Gagnaire restaurant.

Did you expect to walk away with the title? To be honest I didn't focus on winning. I just knew I had to keep cooking and keep cooking well.

What was the most difficult part of the show, the cooking or putting up with Greg Wallace and John Torode's bizarre speech patterns? I got to know those two quite quickly and once you get past their screen personas they're really fine.

But you must have found them irritating? No, honestly. If you had a night out with Greg you'd see how hysterical he really is.

Ok… Moving on, you spent two years in Pakistan when you were younger – what did that teach you about food? It just turned everything upside down.

There's such a strong sense of social cohesion there and food plays a large part in that. I was also exposed to all these new flavours and colours, different spices. I do sometimes like to draw on those years in the kitchen.

What's your connection with Pakistan? It's where my dad's from. My mum is English.

You also went to fashion college – sure you're tough enough to work in a kitchen? Oh absolutely.

You think fashion is easy? No way.

I'm not kidding myself how tough a professional kitchen can be, but fashion is not as easy as it seems.

Does it help with the aesthetics of your food? Absolutely. One of the things that excited me about MasterChef was being exposed to Yannick Alleno and Pierre Gagnaire and seeing how they apply aesthetics on a sensorial level.

After fashion college, you also became a consultant – why did you skip about so much? Is being a chef just a whim? It's not a whim because I'm self-taught and I've been cooking since I was 10 or 11. As far as making the decision to do it professionally goes, I've decided if I can get this much enjoyment out of it then it's worth reinvesting all my efforts in this fantastic opportunity.

So when are you giving up the day job? Well, I still need to do it to pay the bills.

You say your love of food comes from your parents growing organic veg – what's in your garden now? I don't have a lot of space: tomatoes, courgettes, lemongrass and rhubarb.

2005's MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers is about to consult on a new Mexican restaurant. What's next for you? I wish her every success. I would love to have my own place, somewhere that's not too stuffy or uptight, where you go to enjoy yourself without being surrounded by waiters in penguin suits.

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