The 2021 winner of MasterChef: The Professionals, Dan Lee, has opened up about his hopes for the future, expressing the importance of making street food accessible for all.
Last night, Dan competed in the nail-biting final against fellow culinary whizzes Liam Rogers and Aaron Middleton, as he soared to victory.
The 29-year-old, from Birmingham, stunned Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace with his dishes, as the judges were left in awe over his innovative style of cooking, which takes inspiration from Asian and European cuisine.
The day after the final aired – during which Dan served Singapore Chilli Crab, Singapore Chicken Rice and Smoked Hay Treacle Tart for his last menu – he spoke to Metro.co.uk about how thrilling it feels to have joined the roster of MasterChef Professionals winners.
Having been the first contestant on this year’s series, he said: ‘I kind of saw it as first in the door, last out the door. It was just so many different emotions coming through, it was just a great feeling.’
One of Dan’s biggest aspirations in his future career is to open a street food truck, outlining how he regards it as ‘food for the people’, which should come with accessible prices.
‘I love Michelin star meals and I know it’s a treat. If I was to go I’m treating myself, luckily enough I can do that. It’s not accessible to everyone, and that’s just how it works,’ he said.
‘Good food can be accessible to everyone, you don’t need to pay so much money for it. When we’re focusing on street food, I think that street food culture’s building up in the UK, it’s becoming something so much more, but at the same time, it’s also getting a bit pricey.’
Dan stated that in his opinion, ‘at the essence of it, street food is food for the people’.
‘It’s on the side of the road, it’s for everyone. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, what background you’re from, that’s just what street food is,’ he stressed.
‘It’s food for everyone, and I want to push that message across here.’
While the MasterChef kitchen may seem like a stressful environment to viewers, they don’t know the half of it, as Dan revealed that sometimes they would end up working 15 to 16-hour days.
Emphasising the ‘pressure’ and ‘intensity’ the contestants are under, he explained that sometimes after a long day when he’d experienced a knockback, he’d find himself asking: ‘Can I physically pull myself up to carry on with this?’
Thankfully Dan was able to, reminding himself why he was on the show in the first place and growing from the hurdles he’s overcome, including the time he accidentally served Gregg raw chicken.
‘After the raw chicken, I told myself, whatever you do, just give everything and don’t make those silly mistakes again. I know I’m better than that,’ he said.
He also recalled some of his top highlights, including the time Marcus told him that one of his dishes was ‘fine dining at its very best’.
‘That meant the world to me. I love fine dining, I’ve worked in fine dining restaurants, but I don’t usually lead with that style, so for him of all people to say that to me was incredible,’ he recalled.
Looking ahead, Dan’s main aim is to keep learning and working on his craft citing chefs including Jeremy Chan, Andrew Wong, Glynn Purnell, Aktar Islam and Kray Treadwell as some of his top inspirations.
He has a very bright future ahead of him, that’s for sure!
MasterChef: The Professionals is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
Credit: Original article published here.