Keen Cardiff foodies may well have spotted a familiar face in the last series of BBC’s Masterchef UK.
Imran Nathoo, a food blogger friend of mine from Pontcanna who writes under the name of ‘Kitchen Clonc’, made it through five competitive heats to reach the final 10.
A dentist by day, in his spare time Imran has spent the last two years blogging about Cardiff’s food and drink scene, as well as sharing his own recipes with his readers at kitchenclonc.blogspot.co.uk.
Earlier this year, Imran decided to take his interest in all things culinary to the next level and was successfully shortlisted to appear on the 13th series of Masterchef UK. The show pits aspiring chefs against one another in a series of cooking challenges before their creations are judged by food critic Greg Wallace and chef John Torode.
In the first round of the competition, the ‘market place challenge’ saw Imran choose his ingredients from a wide range of fresh produce and use them to come up with a judge-worthy dish on the spot. Imran created harissa duck breast with pickled candy beetroot and cauliflower puree, but was left devastated when Greg Wallace said that the dish lacked flavour.
He managed to redeem himself with his second round creation of lamb with lamb crackling, aubergine puree, butternut squash fondant, baby leeks and salsa verde – even though his dessert of roasted peaches was late leaving the kitchen.
On making it through to the quarter finals, Imran was able to use a recipe he was given by his mother to create a traditional, Indian Thali which included six separate vegetarian elements; potato curry, lentil daal, basmati rice, puris, kale pakoras and green apple kachumber.
The dish was well received by Greg, John and guest judge and food critic Amol Rajan who gave him some of his best feedback to date, saying “I’ve travelled the length and breadth of India looking for the perfect pakora and that’s up there with some of the best of them.”
Imran found the ‘Knock Out Week’ of the competition the most challenging, and ultimately, after a testing time in the professional kitchen, was knocked out before the semi finals. Bad luck for Imran, but the great news for the people of Cardiff is that he has now started his own supperclub in Canton!
To view all of the details about Imran’s exciting new supper club and also buy tickets, visit his website at kitchenclonc.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/home-supper-club. I’ve got my tickets already and can’t wait!
Previous Masterchef contestants from Cardiff
This is not the first time a cook from Cardiff has made their mark in the Masterchef kitchen.
In 2013, two Cardiff locals, Dale Williams and Larkin Cen, both made it down to the final three. After the show, they went on to star in a BBC Wales TV series about their plans to open a takeaway business called Hokkei, but the restaurant folded in late 2015 after falling into financial difficulty.
Since the then, Larkin has become the executive chef at ‘Cen’, a high-end restaurant based at The 5* Celtic Manor resort in Newport, and has also recently opened Woky Ko, a casual Asian diner in Bristol.
Dale now has a food blog called fastlanefoodie.com where he shares his latest recipes.