After six weeks of a competition that pushed the professional chefs to their culinary limits, the 34-year-old, who currently works for a London catering company, beat off tough competition from fellow finalists Steve Barringer, 25, and 22-year-old Claire Hutchings.
In a closely-contested final which aired on BBC2 last night, the Masterchef: The Professionals 2011 title was awarded by double-Michelin-starred chef Michelle Roux Jr and food writer Gregg Wallace.
“Wow, I’m in dreamland now,” said Tasmanian-born Mair upon winning. “Goals are achievable, dreams can come true….it’s amazing, completely amazing!
“The whole competition was very challenging both physically and mentally from beginning to end but having the opportunity to be a part Masterchef: The Professionals is such a great feeling and then to actually win it is a dream come true.”
Speaking of the winner, Roux Jr said: “Ash is a supreme talent. He pushes himself to the absolute limit and always delivers. Ash has got a gift, the gift of culinary genius. His food is outstanding.”
Wallace added: “His food is incredible. Stand-out, world-class, fantastic dishes. He has given me some of the best food I have ever tasted.”
The final task was to prepare a three-course meal for Roux Jr and Wallace.
Mair’s winning Masterchef menu:
- Starter of Roasted Monkfish Tail, served on a bed of Beluga Lentils and a Basque Piperade, with diced Chorizo and Courgette Twirls
- Main of Roast Rump of Lamb, served on Fondant Potatoes with a braised Lamb Neck Potato Croquette on Baby Vegetables, Artichoke sautéed with Serrano Ham, Roast Garlic and Anchovy Puree and a Red Wine Jus
- Dessert of Torrijas – a Spanish Bread and Butter Pudding, served on a Vanilla Parfait dusted with Almonds and Caramel, Poached Apricots and an Almond Custard.
Previous rounds of the competition saw contestants travel to Spain’s El Cellar De Can Roca, which placed second in the World's 50 Best Awards earlier this year; and design and prepare a course each for over 30 world-renowned and Michelin-starred chefs including Albert Roux, Brett Graham, Nathan Outlaw and Sat Baines.
Ash Mair’s career
Mair lives in lives in Barnes, West London. He trained in the basics of French cookery while attending a professional cookery course at Drysdale institute of TAFE when he was 19, but still considers himself to be self-taught.
He is the fourth winner of Masterchef: The Professionals. Steve Groves, the 2009 winner, described to BigHospitality his experiences of the competition.