Tom Hamblet at Camellia, South Lodge:
Camellia Restaurant

MasterChef the Professional Winner 2023
Rotary Young Chef Competition Winner

MasterChef Professionals winner 2023

Tom started his culinary career an apprenticeship with Westminster Kingsway College at the tender age of 17. He went on to work at South Lodge, initially focusing on pastries., following in the footsteps of both parents, Dad is Executive Chef at South Lodge Hotel and my mum works in the kitchen at Botanica Restaurant, specialising in pastries.

After spending three years in Michelin-starred kitchens at Latymer at Penny Hill Park Hotel and Restaurant Interlude at Leonards Lee Lakes and Gardens. Tom returned to South Lodge as Sous Chef at The Camellia for the last three years.

MasterChef – Winner The Professionals 2023

Tom’s says “The main reason for entering MasterChef was to give my grandma something to watch on the telly”

Tom explains, ‘The experience was priceless, from the pressure of it all, to visiting other Michelin Starred kitchens, the journey from start to finish was very exciting and opened my eyes to a wealth of culinary experience.

During MasterChef filming, Tom had a respectful approach when working under renowned chefs and took to the challenges well, showing respect to the chefs, as they have earned their reputations and gave up time to pass their knowledge on to the MasterChef contestants
Tom recalls, ‘When they were teaching me, I stayed calm, didn’t talk too much and absorbed as much information as possible’.

What was your visit to The Alchemist in Copenhagen like?
Crazy! When I walked in, I could tell immediately that it was unlike any restaurant I’d ever been too, combining art, science and food. The Alchemist is unique and exciting. When Heston Blumenthal burst on the scene it got people talking, as he was challenging convention. It’s the same with Rasmus Munk. Some of his techniques are so inventive that I don’t even know where they come from. As a finalist, I was invited back for a meal at The Alchemist and have since flown out to Denmark with my Dad, just for the whole experience all over again.

Tom’s reaction to his win?

I never expected to win, but I knew deep down I could, just by sheer determination, a little skill and total focus on my recipes.

At the start of the competition, I posted on my Instagram profile, I had about 700 followers and now I have about 42,000, which is nuts! I have to rub my eyes sometimes, as the support has been incredible. I’ve been trying to reply to all the messages I’ve received, but at one point they were coming in every few seconds and it’s hard to keep on top of it.

Tom Hamblet at Camellia, South Lodge
Camellia Restaurant

MasterChef the Professional Winner 2023
Rotary Young Chef Competition Winner

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