West Yorkshire chef Ben Varley on Masterchef: The Professionals
PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:17 20 February 2013
A Halifax restaurant chef has been selected from over a thousand applicants to appear in the fourth series of Masterchef: The Professionals
A local restaurant chef has been selected from over a thousand applicants to appear in the fourth series of Masterchef: The Professionals, the popular TV show that is once again on the hunt for a young chef who wants to make it to the top of the culinary world.
Ben Varley, head chef at Churchills Restaurant at Holywell Green near Halifax, went though a rigorous selection procedure early this year before travelling to London to film the series in the summer. He will now make his first appearance on screen on Monday 14th November, at 8.30 pm on BBC2. Bens involvement in Masterchef was doubtful at one point after he injured his finger very badly during filming, but luckily he recovered in time to continue in the competition.
Ben says Taking part in Masterchef: The Professionals has been a complete emotional roller coaster, but a brilliant experience. I was really proud to be able to represent Halifax, Yorkshire and Churchills in such a prestigious competition. Im not yet allowed to say anything about the results though!.
Born in Halifax, Ben began his career like many other chefs as a teenage restaurant dishwasher. Entranced by the electric atmosphere of the kitchen, he begged to become involved in food preparation and from there went on to attend catering college in Darlington. After qualifying he worked at a variety of restaurants, mainly throughout the Yorkshire Dales, before coming full circle and ending up back in Halifax. Ben has now been at Churchills for four years, where he finally feels he has found his cooking feet.
Bens foodie philosophy revolves around taking the very best local produce, then turning it into traditional British dishes with a modern twist to enable the quality of the ingredients to really shine through. Its just good, honest food, caringly prepared, then delivered with impeccable service at great Yorkshire prices says Ben.
Bens skills have certainly been put to the test throughout the Masterchef competition. After submitting their CVs and sample menus the hopeful contenders were then subjected to nail-biting TV screen tests. Those who made it through to filming then had to prepare top-class menus of their own devising, as well as having to prepare delicious dishes from surprise ingredients with no prior warning. Ben shone throughout the auditions and was thrilled to make it through to the latter stages of the competition.
Ben is in no doubt that his chefs skills have been honed to perfection during his time at Churchills. The restaurant is situated within The Rock Hotel, which is owned by acclaimed Yorkshire chef Lee Marshall, who established Design House Hospitality Group which includes seven food and hospitality businesses, including The Design House restaurant at the Dean Clough Centre in Halifax, Design House Outside catering service, Design House at the Crow Nest Golf Club and Design House in Town, a new bar set to open in the centre of Halifax.
Under Bens direction, Churchills has developed into a dining destination in its own right, far above the standard hotel dining experience, rather than just a convenient place for hotel guests to eat. The Rock is set within beautiful West Yorkshire countryside between Halifax and Huddersfield, and the growing reputation of its restaurant is now attracting customers from as far afield as Manchester and Leeds.