Mark Stinchcombe finds winning recipe on MasterChef: The Professionals
A "massively proud" Mark Stinchcombe has been announced as the winner of MasterChef: The Professionals.
Mr Stinchcombe, 28, was described as a "very, very solid, talented cook" as he became the ninth champion after seven weeks of culinary battle with 47 other chefs.
An emotional Mr Stinchcombe, who was awarded the title by judges Marcus Wareing, the double Michelin-starred chef, MasterChef's seasoned diner Gregg Wallace and chef Monica Galetti, said it had been a "phenomenal" competition.
"I can't believe it," he said. "I am massively proud of what I have achieved - it has been such a long journey. It has been phenomenal.
"From the start I have always been the pretty stern one, so you have got some emotion out of me now."
He was awarded the title after beating off competition from fellow finalists Nick Bennett, 27, and Scott Barnard, 33.
Ms Galetti said: "Mark's food is fabulous. This chef just continued to stun and wow us. I think he has got such a great future ahead of him."
Mr Wareing said: "What a talent. I know one thing, if that chef ever opened up his own restaurant I would love to be the first customer."
The finalists' challenges included preparing a Michelin standard dish for 22 Michelin-starred chefs and travelling to Italy to cook at a three Michelin starred restaurant.
Mr Stinchcombe's winning menu in the final task - to prepare a three-course meal for the judges - included a main course of fillet of beef with a bone marrow crust and glazed beef short rib.
Mr Wallace said: "It has been a fantastic competition and this today has been a real celebration of culinary art.
"Mark really showed his class here today. It was off the scale."
Mr Stinchcombe decided to train professionally as a chef after developing an interest in cooking at school. He is currently the head chef at Eckington Manor, Worcestershire, where he lives and works with his wife, Sue.
He said: "It has been such a tiring, exhausting, emotional but fun ride - an incredible competition that will open many doors.
"My most challenging moment in the competition has to be the first day. It is always going to be the scariest - you walk in and there's Gregg, Monica and Marcus ... it does not get tougher than that.
"The critics' round was pretty hard. It is really difficult to produce such quality in such a short amount of time for some of the best critics in Britain.
"My ambition is to run a highly acclaimed restaurant in Britain, and to one day have a Michelin star, but I think the most important thing is to have happy customers, and to be happy in the way I cook."