Chef of the Week: Brin Pirathapan, MasterChef 2024 Winner

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I’m the MasterChef 2024 winner and I’m just starting to dive into the world of food.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking definitely comes from a range of places. Firstly, my parents always served vibrant, Tamil Sri Lankan food with bold flavours which gave me a great understanding of what makes a good plate. Secondly, whilst at university, I wanted to access tasty food but I was on a student budget so I pushed myself to learn as much as possible during that time.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Food has essentially allowed me to follow a passion and given me the chance to pursue a career change. Cooking has changed my life and I hope it continues to bring amazing opportunities my way.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Gochujang, lime and cider vinegar.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My knives, the trusty sieve that basically got me through MasterChef and that one wooden spatula that seems to be perfect for everything and seems to keep going forever.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Championing British produce, zero-waste cookery and those scrumptious, glazed brioche rolls that seem to be starting many meals.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Whichever time of the year I go on holiday and get to spend my time eating and discovering new food.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?

  1. Octopus, grapefruit and rose – Grapefruit and rosé poached and charred octopus, fennel veloute, grapefruit salsa, candied grapefruit, pomme souffle with a grapefruit dust and a rose, grapefruit and octopus sauce. We were tasked to create a dish based on an ingredient we didn’t like and I can’t stand grapefruit, so naturally it appears everywhere in that dish.
  2. South American surf and turf based on my travels with my fiancé – Coffee coated fillet steak, pomme puree, pan seared scallops and langoustines, a langoustine ceviche chimichurri, tempura samphire, cassava chips, chorizo crumb, mussels and a seafood moqueca sauce.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I start with a brief and try to build on the first thing my mind comes up with. Once I’ve created a dish in my head I’ll often try it out properly and realise it isn’t right but the tweaking that happens from that stage is definitely what creates the dishes I’m proud of.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Michel Roux Jr, Clare Smyth and Adam Handling.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Puro by Tommy Thorn.