Top UK chef allows cameras into his kitchen for the first time

A chef at one of the country’s top restaurants has agreed to let the TV cameras into his kitchen for the first time.

James Close, who runs the kitchen at The Raby Hunt — the North East’s only two Michelin star restaurant — is set to feature on tonight’s episode of Masterchef: The Professionals.

Mr Close will put finalists through their paces at his highly-acclaimed restaurant near Darlington, giving viewers a unique behind-the-scenes look at his kitchen set-up.

Despite many previous requests to appear on television, this is the first time that Mr Close has ever agreed to have cameras in his kitchen, the centrepiece of which is a bespoke Athanor cooking suite.

“My first priority is always to be in my kitchen and being part of Masterchef: The Professionals meant that I wasn’t taken away from the restaurant,” he explained.

“At the same time it was a great opportunity to showcase what we do at The Raby Hunt to a huge audience of people who have an interest in food.”

The self-taught chef has won a number of accolades including the Good Food Guide Chef of the Year and in 2017 was the only new restaurant in the UK to be awarded two stars.

The Raby Hunt has recently enjoyed a £400,000 investment which has seen the installation of a new, state-of-the-art kitchen with a Chef’s Table worth £200,000, where up to six people can watch Mr Close and his team at work.

Guests are able to enjoy his innovative 15-course tasting menu, for which he takes prides in using seasonal ingredients, presented in a theatrical and visually stunning fashion.

Tonight’s episode of Masterchef: The Professionals, which airs at 8pm on BBC2, will see contestants face the challenge of cooking from the restaurant’s complex and intricate tasting menu during a packed lunchtime service. They will then have to replicate one of Mr Close’s signature dishes.

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