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Interview: Jai. Shaikh, MasterChef The Professionals

Jai. Shaikh was a contestant on MasterChef, The Professionals 2019 and became famous for his intricate and complex dishes and Asian fusion dishes. We caught up with Jai to see what has happened since leaving the show, that dreaded skills test and where he sees himself in five years time.

How has life been since appearing on the show? How did you feel about watching the experience back on TV?

MasterChef, The Professionals, has been one of the best experiences of my professional life. It has challenged me on many levels. It has certainly opened up many opportunities and recognition. It feels great when people recognise your face from the show and come up to you and praise you for your work on MasterChef. It is nerve-racking watching yourself back on the television - especially to see how much pressure I was under and how things could have been done differently.

As a viewer, the skills test has most of us hiding behind our pillows with nerves. What was it like filming that section of the show?

The skills test is by far the most dreadful and intense thing on MasterChef. It feels every bit as scary when you are doing it, as it looks when you’re watching it on the television.

Looking back now, what were your highs and lows?

I think a high was when I got through the quarter-finals, and when I received the positive comments about my signature dish.

The lows would have to be when I got evicted. Some silly mistakes were made, and the competition is so tough that even a small mistake can cost you your place in the competition.

What made you apply for the show?

I’ve always been a massive fan of the show and watched it over the years, especially The Professionals category. To be on the show was a dream come true for me.

Which previous contestants inspired you?

Countless past contestants have inspired me over the years.

What advice would you give to next year’s contestants?

Be true to your strength and no matter what, stick to your style of cooking. Always have a clear head and a game plan. Push yourself; it is not the time to take things easy.

How has MasterChef changed your career?

It has certainly given me some recognition. There are so many opportunities.

What have you been up to since the show ended?

I’ve done a few private events and have received some excellent job offers.

What exciting plans and events do you have coming in the near future?

I am starting an exciting career as head chef with the Ivy Group soon.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I'd like to be heading my own restaurant, with my style of food - progressive Asian food.

A Quick Chat

Your favourite restaurant? The Waterside Inn

Food Hero? Marco Pierre White

Favourite Ingredient? Spices- they bring life to everything!

What will be the next food trend? Asian and modern European fusion

Worst food trend? Molecular cuisine

Guilty Food Pleasure? Lamb Biryani…. I know, but a perfect biryani is simply irresistible.


About Jai. Shaikh

Jai. Shaikh was a contestant on MasterChef, The Professionals 2019 and became famous for his intricate and complex dishes and Asian fusion dishes. He has previously working at some of the best hotel chains in South Asia, and onboard the QE2 cruise liner, where he cooked for the Queen in May 2008. Jai will soon be taking up a role as Head Chef at the Ivy Group.

Follow Jai

Twitter: @shaikh0808

Facebook: jai shaikh

Instagram: @shaikhchef

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