CHEF John Simpson-Clement is battling it out on Masterchef: The Professionals in a bid to become the show’s 2021 champion.

And he has already made it through to the semi-final of the BBC1 competition.

John, of Trowbridge, said: “The experience has been fantastic and incredibly rewarding. It’s been a lot of pressure.

“When you walk in there first of all and seeing the judges for the first time I was a bit shell-shocked.

“But the feedback I’ve received has been outstanding and I’m really happy with everything I’ve put forward.

“It’s really given me a lot of confidence with the food I cook”, John said.

Currently working at The Eldar Restaurant in Bath, he takes inspiration from chefs including Simon Rogan and Tommy Banks, and says he is fascinated by the British culinary industry.

“In England we haven’t really embraced our own food culture so much, and there’s a big shift towards that at the moment which I like to think I’m a very small part of.

"So it’s an exciting movement to be part of,” he said.

He sparked his career through a happy accident having left university to pot-wash at a local pub in Gloucestershire.

He said: “It was just while I figured my plan out, and I started getting trained up and shown some things, then fell in love with it.

"It was a complete accident, but it was the best thing that could have happened to me.”

Thinking about his long term goals, John said: “In 10 years time, I’d love to be running a small pub attached to a little farm, raising animals, growing vegetables and cooking them simply with respect.

“Serving in a little pub environment, proper beers on tap, old wooden feeling, really quintessentially British, Cotswolds and Wiltshire.

“That’s been the goal for quite a few years now. Hopefully this has kind of got me one step closer.”

He’s already made an impression on the judges so far.

Marcus Waring noted in this year’s first quarter-final: “You chose some fantastic ingredients today.

"With little points of difference which I quite liked. Build on it.”

And London Evening Standard food critic Jimi Famurewa gave John’s cooking the seal of approval.

In feedback at the end of the ‘invention test’ where chefs have to get creative by using only preserved and tinned food to make an outstanding dish, Jimi said: “I’m just absolutely blown away by this. Every single bit of it is balanced really well. The lamb neck is cooked to perfection, I’d say. The rosti is cooked perfectly. I’m slightly in awe.”

John is still absorbing the experience so far: “To even get on was outstanding. I told myself before going on if I could get through one round that would be a huge win, so it’s exceeded my expectation.”