Birmingham & Black Country

MasterChef winner Stu Deeley made in Birmingham

Stu Deeley
Image caption Stu Deeley described the competition as "life-changing"

Stu Deeley was named winner of the 2019 series of MasterChef: The Professionals and joked it would take "footballers' wages" to make him leave Birmingham.

He described the competition as "life-changing" and praised the support he received from family and mentors.

"I can't believe it," the 28-year-old said. "I've never won anything in my life so to win this is such an unreal feeling. I'm so, so happy."

He will open a restaurant in the city's Jewellery Quarter in the spring.

Image caption The 28-year-old said he wanted to inspire his son Jack, two, to take on challenges

Deeley, who is head chef at The Wilderness, said he initially thought the show "was not for me because I don't like the limelight".

But he was inspired to apply following the birth of his son Jack, now two, as he wanted to inspire him to take on challenges.

"It's the biggest thing I could do," he said. "I just went for it.

"It's been so good, it's such a good programme. It's a TV show but it's focused on the cooking."

He praised his fellow finalists, Exose Grant Lopo-Ndinga, 22, from Manchester, and Olivia Burt, 24, from Worcestershire, as "so good".

Deeley said his highlight of the competition was cooking for the chefs with 26 Michelin stars between them, adding: "To do that and cook for them and get such high praise is just mind-blowing."

Image caption Deeley with fellow finalists Exose Grant Lopo-Ndinga and Olivia Burt

The winning chef, who had a successful spell at Birmingham's Michelin-starred Simpsons, took inspiration from his home city to create fusions based on the multicultural cuisine he enjoyed as a child.

He previously said he has not travelled much but Birmingham brought the flavours of the world to him.

His Birmingham-inspired dishes included a faggots and peas dish and a curried monkfish homage to the balti.

And he wowed during the chef's table episode, where fellow Brummie Glynn Purnell told him he "smashed it" with his plate of suckling pig belly with black pudding and langoustine.

Judge Gregg Wallace said: "I love Stu's food. Here's a lad who has grown up in Birmingham and has fallen in love with the flavours that surrounded him."

Reiterating how important the city is to him, Deeley added: "It would take footballers' wages to make me leave Birmingham. I wouldn't leave Birmingham for anything.

"This is where I grew up, this is where I live, this is where everything is for me."

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