A chef at a top hotel in Mid Sussex is cooking up a storm of TV’s MasterChef: The Professionals.
Freddie Innes, 25 - a senior sous chef at Ockenden Manor, Cuckfield - flew through the first round and won over the judges with his signature pan-fried sea bass with parsnip puree, fondant potato and a red wine jus.
Originally from Turners Hill, Freddie developed a love for cooking from his grandparents with whom he spent a lot of time cooking as a child.
From baking with his grandmother to joining his grandfather, a gamekeeper on local pheasant shoots in the Sussex countryside - Freddie grew up surrounded by people with a passion for food.
He studied at Crawley College before deciding to dive into the world of fine dining by joining the award-winning restaurant at Ockenden Manor as a commis chef. Under head chef Stephen Crane, Freddie learnt the ropes and quickly progressed to junior sous chef, thriving under the pressure of a busy kitchen.
He said: “At Ockenden Manor, no two days are the same – that’s why I enjoy it so much. You meet different guests, create new dishes and meet local suppliers, all while always working as a team.”
After widening his skills at Thackerays in Tunbridge Wells and The Salutation Hotel in Kent, Freddie returned to Ockenden Manor to hone his skills as senior sous-chef, where he serves some of the finest locally sourced food in Sussex to hotel guests and locals alike.
Last year, while on holiday in Spain, Freddie was encouraged to apply for MasterChef: The Professionals by his girlfriend and her mother. And this spring he was selected as one of the 48 contestants from thousands of applicants.
Describing his cooking style as a blend of modern French and classic British cuisine, Freddie’s cool and calm demeanour carried him through the Skills Test and his signature fish dish wowed the judges, sending him straight through to the Quarter Finals.
Ockenden Manor head chef Stephen Crane said: “We’re very proud of Freddie, the most natural step for me is to encourage the next generation of chefs. I enjoy building positive relationships and inspiring youth to realise their dreams and fulfil their potential.”
Viewers can tune in to Knockout Week of MasterChef: The Professionals starting on Tuesday December 3 to see Freddie battle it out for a place in the semi finals.
Meanwhile, a Michelin-star chef at Leonardslee Gardens, Lower Beeding, appeared on Masterchef last night (Tuesday).
Ben Addems, 34, progressed to the quarter finals of the national cooking competition.
MasterChef: The Professionals, is on Tuesdays to Thursdays, 8pm, BBC Two.