MasterChef: The Professionals 2022 crowns Nikita Pathakji winner

Nikita Pathakji has been crowned the winner of MasterChef: The Professionals 2022 after a nail-biting final.

The 25-year-old chef beat off competition from Charlie Jeffreys and Sagar Massey to land the top spot after impressing Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing, acclaimed chef Anna Haugh, and seasoned judge Gregg Wallace with her innovative dishes inspired by her travels.

Reacting to her win, a shocked Nikita said: ‘This is incredible and I can’t put it into words. It surpasses every achievement of my life.

‘I don’t know how I’m going to top this. This is the peak, I think I’ve reached it!’

Gregg was blown away by Nikita’s efforts, and enthused: ‘Nikita is using food that she fell in love with from her own travels around Asia. 

‘That chef is completely and utterly in love with the food she’s producing. She opened up the larder of the world and brought us stunning dish after stunning dish.’

Marcus added: ‘She’s a chef that has grown right in front of our eyes. Her food has been sublime and she’s always come up with an amazing twist.’

Nikita entered the prestigious competition alongside 31 other professional chefs, all aiming to achieve culinary perfection, and cooked her way to the top after six weeks of increasingly demanding challenges.

Chef’s Table was held this year at the five-star Lanesborough Hotel in London, and the guests held 19 Michelin stars between them.

The finalists’ imaginations were stretched as they were tasked with creating a plate inspired by a food memory, to transport the MasterChef judges to that time or place.

Nikita’s winning menu started with sea bass cured in a citrus dressing, smoked aubergine purée, spicy red pepper purée with pomegranate, preserved lemon, parsley oil and a side of aubergine crisps.

On tasting the dish, Marcus said: ‘This sings what you’re all about.’

Inspired by her favourite dish from her time in Thailand – Khao Soi – Nikita’s main course was crispy chicken thighs, tortellini filled with chicken, mushrooms and coriander and coriander oil, topped with handmade sev, finished with a coconut curry sauce and a side of crispy chicken skin dusted with chilli powder, topped with a mango, cumin and onion purée.

Anna told Nikita: ‘When I’m eating this, I’m excited and delighted. To see you developing a dish like this is remarkable.’

To finish, Nikita served cardamom and custard tart, apricot poached in honey syrup, topped with a honey tuile and an apricot, honey and lemon sorbet.

 MasterChef: The Professionals is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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