Could Newcastle’s Reece Hignell become a celebrity chef?
No pressure, hey Reece? Apologies, but we can’t help but think his star turn on MasterChef could be the start of something big.
Reece may have been eliminated from MasterChef on Thursday night’s episode, but the wise and dapper cravat-wearing judge Matt Preston sees a promising future ahead for the 28-year-old.
“Every year there’s an elimination that sends shockwaves through the whole competition,” Matt said.
“For us, it’s today because you have been an absolute standout in this competition. You’ve stamped your authority on so many challenges. Some of your dishes will go down as MasterChef greats.
“Your performances in the kitchen says you have a phenomenal future. You can cook savoury, you can cook sweet. Reece, the world is your oyster.”
Praise doesn’t get much better than that.
Reece, 28, went a long way in season 10 of MasterChef. He got down to the last six contestants from an original 24.
He cooked for Prince Charles. He wowed Nigella. But, of all the guest judges, his strongest connection was with Gordon Ramsay.
Ramsay didn’t let producers down, either. He lobbed a salmon at a wall during one tense episode.
But for Reece, Gordon was the man. The pair clicked.
“He’s incredibly blunt, but he’s also so caring about talent,” Reece said.
Under Gordon’s guidance, Reece grew in stature, notching some wins and gaining a precious immunity pin with his stellar effort at creating a cucumber and lemon verbena sorbet with yoghurt mousse.
The pin protected him from elimination for about six weeks.
“It all started with Gordon. He gave me a bit of confidence. I took the confidence and kept on going,” Reece said.
He went so far that some predicted he’d win the competition. It wasn’t to be, but the show’s loss is Newcastle’s gain.
Reece has left his job as a recruitment consultant to follow his passion.
He’ll be bringing a pop-up restaurant to Newcastle. Keep an eye on his Instagram account next week for more details.
“It’s a positive thing for me to come back and get going as soon as possible,” he said.
“I definitely want to get going on fun venue events in Newcastle and change the scene a little bit.”
It’s been a long time on the air for MasterChef. A decade, in fact.
Judge Matt Preston recently spoke about the show’s “no dickhead” policy. Perhaps that’s one reason for its remarkable longevity.
The slick M-logo reflects the show’s marketing prowess. It’s a whole lot better than that other M-logo from the ever-tempting and decadent food universe.
Topics admits we’re not a regular viewer. But after watching a couple of episodes starring Reece, we found ourselves thinking that our food experience could improve.
On the show, Reece cooked dishes like basil sorbet with pink peppercorn meringue; smoked vanilla ice cream with poached plums; rump steak with carrot puree, gremolata and jus; and hazelnut parfait, chocolate sorbet and eucalyptus caramel.
Eucalyptus caramel? Is that even possible? Our tastebuds are protesting. We had brown rice, chicken and tomato for dinner. Topics might have to check out Reece’s pop-up restaurant some time soon.