Ex-UCB student Josh stars on BBC's MasterChef: The Professionals

November 2015

A former UCB cookery student revealed how he battled his nerves to impress the judges on the BBC’s Professional MasterChef show.

Josh Donachie successfully made it through the gruelling heats to clinch a place in the knock-out stage despite a slip up with scallops.

Heavily-tattooed Josh, 26, studied at UCB’s College of Food from 2005 to 2007, picking up his Level 1 to 3 professional cookery qualifications. He has gone on to work at AA two rosette restaurants, producing modern British food to a high standard.

However, Josh admitted he crumbled under pressure when he had to complete his first skills test for Masterchef judge and two Michelin star chef Marcus Wareing.

He had 15 minutes to prepare scallops in three different ways: sautéed, in a mousse and as a tartare. Ordinarily, the technical challenge would not faze the chef but he said his normally relaxed demeanour went out the window.

"I screwed up my skills test because my nerves got the better of me. I walked into the kitchen and I felt like it was my first day at college all over again. It felt like I had never learned a thing. Once I got to cook my own food I was calmer and more collected."

Josh Donachie

Josh, sous chef at Hammet House, near Cardigan, Pembrokeshire, said he had always been a fan of MasterChef, with its cocktail of culinary horror stories and triumphs, and decided to enter the competition after being encouraged by friends.

"I had great feedback from Marcus Wareing. He said I am a very clever chef and coming from him you feel amazing."

Josh Donachie

The chef, who remained tight-lipped about his progress in the show, said he is still getting used to his new-found fame, with restaurant customers asking to have “selfies” with him. “It’s quite weird getting asked for photos because I am grounded and humble,” he added.

Josh’s distinctive physical appearance is down to 50 hours in the tattoo artist’s chair. His Twitter handle on social media is @TattooedChefjd – and he got his first tattoo – a design of stars, flowers and cherries – while he was learning to make sauces at UCB’s kitchens in Summer Row.

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