Eddie Scott - The winner of MasterChef 2022 from Yorkshire

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Eddie cooks for the judges in the MasterChef heats - Credit: BBC/Shine TV

Beverley's Eddie Scott is the proud winner of MasterChef 2022 - and one of his highlights was sharing a kitchen with a certain Mr Ramsay, as he tells Susan Griffin

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Eddie with fellow contestants, Pookie, Radha and Gordon Ramsay - Credit: BBC/Shine TV

The thought of being bellowed at by Gordon Ramsay might be the stuff of nightmares for many people, but not MasterChef 2022 champion Eddie Scott who relished the opportunity to cook alongside one of his 'ultimate heroes' in the penultimate episode of this year’s series.
As with all the challenges, details were kept from the competitors until the last moment, so Eddie and his fellow finalists had no idea what was in store until they reached the doors of the three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London, and even then, didn’t know the man himself was going to be there.
'Walking through the beautiful dining room, and then into the inferno of a kitchen was surreal, and then to see him was the shock of my life. I’ve always admired Gordon, and never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get the opportunity to cook with him,' recalls Eddie, 31, a former Merchant Navy officer who lives in the market town of Beverley in East Yorkshire with fiancée Nami.
'People said he gave me a hard time, but I don’t think so. You know the reputation he’s famous for, but I took that in my stride and enjoyed it. When you cook with him, you want the full experience, and just watching the detail and skill, I’ve never seen anything like it. For me it was life-changing, the highlight of the show.' 
But then, Eddie’s no stranger to stressful situations. For the last few years, he’s been working as a marine pilot, manoeuvring gargantuan ships along the Humber river, so he’s used to keeping a cool head in high-pressured environments.
'Absolutely. There are a lot of uncertainties in the role, and you need to be able to deal with situations as they develop, think on your feet, and remain relaxed, and I think that translates into the MasterChef kitchen. If things are going wrong, you have to stay calm, correct it, or at least, make the best of a bad situation,' observes Eddie who’s been an ardent fan of the show for years. 
'I think every home cook who’s a fan of the show wants to have a go, and see what it’s like to cook in that studio, and see how good they really are but I knew if I applied, it would be an all-consuming competition. In the past, I’d always been too busy but this time it felt like I had my life under control and could dedicate my time to it.'

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Eddie sais the MasterChef kitchen was a stressful place - 'it becomes your life,' he says - Credit: BBC/Shine TV

Despite his determination to appear on the show, it was still a 'shock' to find himself standing in the MasterChef kitchen.
'Watching myself in the first episode, I seem quiet and quite timid, but I remember just being overwhelmed by the whole experience. The longer you stay in the competition, the more pressure you put on yourself. I remember not being able to sleep, just visualising possible challenges, or potential scenarios. There is no time to think about anything else other than your cooking, your dishes, and making sure you’ve got something up your sleeve for surprise challenges. It becomes your life,' admits Eddie who beat 44 other amateur cooks to be named the show’s 18th winner, and along the way, he became a firm fan favourite. 
'The support I’ve experienced has been wonderful, and everyone has been so kind. Wherever I am, in York, Beverley, Hull, people recognise me and ask for photos and I’m more than happy do it. People have always had such wonderful things to say about me, which I think is amazing.'
With so much at stake, you might imagine a palpable competitiveness behind-the-scenes, but Eddie reveals it was more caring than cutthroat, and the contestants still keep in touch. 
'I think most of us saw it that we weren’t in competition with each other but with ourselves. 
Everyone’s nervous. I believe you make good friends when you go through an experience like that together,' notes Eddie, who also credits the show’s judges, John Torode and Gregg Wallace, for their encouragement.
'John’s very friendly, and will try and give you tips, and Gregg was always walking around with a spoon, tasting everything with a smile on his face, cracking jokes. They both want to make you feel at ease when you’re there, and to succeed, so the feedback they give you is to help you deliver your skills.'
Despite his nerves, Eddie’s first dish, a fig tart, prompted Gregg to declare his love for Eddie in episode one.
'It was a brilliant start. I couldn’t believe it,' he says. 'It’s something I’ve been cooking for years, and it’s brilliant to wow John and Gregg. There was only one time where I got some negative feedback and I agreed wholeheartedly with what they told me. I ran out of time and threw everything on the plate, and it looked a mess, but I knew it tasted good.'
The dish he’s proudest of is the biryani he cooked as part of an epic three-course dinner to showcase his skills during the final.

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A magical momet for Eddlie Scott - crowned winner of MasterChef 2022 - Credit: BBC/Shine TV

'I really wanted to save that in case I got to the final because you don’t have enough time in the other challenges. I was really proud I managed to do it justice on the programme. It shows what I love to eat, and it’s the dish I love to cook when I want to impress people.'
Food has been an enduring interest for Eddie since childhood, and one of his first memories was standing on a chair as a four-year-old, stirring scrambled eggs. 
'My grandparents, who we spent a lot of time with growing up, were passionate about cooking, and taught me how to cook Punjabi food. We’d also spend summers in France, where I picked up my love of French cuisine. We didn’t have a huge amount of money, so it would be a treat to go out for real classic French dishes, and we’d visit the markets where the way the food’s presented was so appealing. I was probably about 12 when I started coming home and trying things myself,' says Eddie.
For two decades, cooking’s remained a hobby, but winning MasterChef has proved a turning point.
'Taking part in MasterChef gave me a lot of time to think about the food I want to cook and the food I get a lot of enjoyment from cooking. I never had the opportunity to push myself in the same way MasterChef forces you to develop as a cook and as a person, and it’s staggering how much you learn,' says Eddie who reveals he recently handed his notice in as a marine pilot so he can embark on a new culinary chapter in his life.

Eddie on a river boat

Eddie has quit his job as a marine pilot for a career in food after winning MasterChef - Credit: Eddie Scott

'I’ve been piloting for six years now, and I’m happy with what I’ve done, so it felt like a natural time to leave. The plan is to firstly write a cookbook and I’d 100% like to do more TV work. But my ultimate goal is to open my own restaurant one day. I’m a good home cook, but I’m not a professional chef, so the best thing for me to do is go and get some experience working with chefs, and develop my skills further,' reveals Eddie. 
The training might require him to travel, but he’s keen to remain based in Yorkshire, a county that continues to inspire him.
'There are some fantastic food producers, and restaurants here, more so than anywhere in the country, I think, as well as a huge connection to food. It’s why I love to show these products in my cooking, and why I absolutely love living here.'

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