This week we have met with Masterchef UK 2019 finalist, Exose Grant. The youngest contestant in the competition, Exose has shown his culinary talents with passion and determination, with judges says he is "cooking at a calibre and a level that seems far beyond what you'd expect from someone his age".

Chef Exose Grant Masterchef Uk 2019 Finalist

Tell us about you, what were you like growing up, and what would your family and friends have described you?
Growing up I was always outgoing and hanging out with my friends.
There were times I’d leave the house at 10 in the morning then come back at midnight. I was a good student at school and college. I would be one of the first to arrive at all my lessons and the teachers loved me.
Growing up my family and friends described me as driven, talented and wild.

What are your first memories of cooking?
I remember cooking and baking at home with my mum, I have always been interested in seeing what she’d get up to in the kitchen and watching start to finish on the food she’d made.

Where do you get the inspiration to your creativeness as a chef?
My inspiration came from high school when we all had to make the same sauce with the same recipe and ingredients and mine turned out really good.
The teacher was telling everyone to taste mine and it just gave me that boost of confidence.
I loved my food tech classes and enjoyed being creative with the presentation of the food we cooked.

What or who has influenced your cooking style?
Since I joined James Martin Manchester as a commis chef, I have experienced the fine dining world of food. I found incredible the art of making food look so beautiful.
It was then that I watched and learnt the way the food was plated, a skill that I put into practice, with my own twist, when I plate up my food.

How do you stay connected with the latest food trends?
I recently signed up to Instagram, I never knew there were so many food trends and posts.
I now follow several chefs and keep up to date with what’s in trend and what everyone is up to.
It’s a great platform for me to share my food and style as well.

What places in the world that you haven’t been yet you would like to visit to sample the food?
I would love to go India, Africa and Italy, the food that is made there has always stood out to me, the flavours and combinations are unreal.
I would love to visit to sample the food and possibly learn the cuisine and hone a few skills.

What single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
I cannot live without my timer, I have a bad memory so when I put things in the oven to cook I forget quite a lot.
So a timer comes in handy for that. Also I use the timer to organise my preparation. Completing a task in a certain amount of time.

What are you most excited about right now in the food scene?
I am most excited about all these beautiful pastries and desserts I am seeing, there is so much talent and inspiration from these chefs and hopefully one day I can inspire people with my talents.

Now that you’ve mentioned the inspiring world of baking, tell us a bit more about Granted Cakes..
When I was 17 I started my own cake business, everyone in the family had different talents.
My sisters are hairdressers, design and make clothes and model; my brothers make music and are good at sports. And I was passionate about food. Seeing my sisters create their own businesses inspired me to create mine.
That’s how Granted Cakes was born.
I’ve always enjoyed baking at home. However we would always have a problem with celebration cakes and their end result: they didn’t taste as amazingly as they looked.
That’s why I decided to bake and sell my own cakes.
My flavours have always been on-point.

Where would you take your out of town guests for a memorable dinner?
I don’t get the chance to eat out much, there was one time I went to L’Enclume and the experience and the food were incredible.
It was my first time dining at a Michelin starred restaurant and definitely a memory I won’t forget. That’s where I would take my guests.

What is your go-to ingredient?
I don’t have a go-to ingredient, there are so many I love to work with. Vegetables are one of them, so versatile.

Favourite music to cook too?
I love listening to Afrobeat whilst cooking; it’s upbeat and positive and gets me dancing.

Your favourite five minute recipe…
My favourite 5 minute recipe has to be scrambled eggs: whisk the eggs with milk and slowly scramble in a pan, finish with crème fraîche, chives and salt… Delicious

What does the future hold for you as a chef?
I hope to open my own restaurant.
In the mean time I will be doing pop up events, and looking into private dining.
Whilst doing this I will still be doing work experience in different restaurants to keep learning.

Fill in the blank: if I’d weren’t a chef, I’d be….
I’d be an actor.
Films and tv series have been a big part of my life growing up.
I’ve always imagined being an actor in a film.

Chef Exose Masterchef Uk The Professional 2019 Finalist

Gaby and Exose dined at Barrafina Adelaide Street, London.

You can follow chef Exose: Twitter: @chef_exose  @grantedcakes
Instagram: @chef_exose  @grantedcakes