Back in May, Eddie Scott became the first person from Leicestershire to win the MasterChef, after wowing the judges with his special brand of culinary magic.
Although he moved away eight years ago, the cooking champ still comes back often in order to visit family, and the amazing array of Indian restaurants right here in the city…
“Leicester has some of the best Indian food in the country I think. That’s why I keep coming back – as well as to visit my parents of course! There are some fantastic restaurants here that I love coming back to…”
It’s high praise, especially when it comes from Eddie Scott – the culinary powerhouse who shot to fame after winning the 18th series of hit BBC cooking show MasterChef back in May.
Although he now lives in East Yorkshire, it’s clear that the 31-year-old still has a soft spot for Leicester – the city he grew up in. When asked about his favourite city restaurants, he’s able to reel off a string of them without missing a beat.
“There’s Paddy’s Marten Inn, the Clowes Arms, and Sharmilee which sits on Belgrave Road… “Oh and Shahi Nan Kebab – that’s another one,” Eddie adds enthusiastically.
“It’s a brilliant little place on St Saviour’s Road I’ve been going to since I was a kid. They do really simple grilled kebabs and fresh naan every day. Just amazing!”
In case you didn’t know, Eddie has a real passion for food – particularly that of the Indian variety, owing to his Punjabi heritage.
“Growing up in Leicester, and being off Indian heritage myself, really inspired me to cook. “I’m a huge fan of all the restaurants there, and the uniqueness of the culinary scene in this great city,” he revealed.
Eddie is also a big fan of French cuisine, something he grew to love as a result of frequent holidays there as a child. Sole à La Meunière and Île Flottante are just a couple of the dishes he spent his teenage years trying to lovingly recreate at his family home in Newton Harcourt.
His big passion is combining classic techniques with Indian flavours. It was this unique culinary fusion, which led to him being crowned the winner of MasterChef 2022, making him the first person from Leicestershire to win the popular cooking show.
In the final, he cooked a Hyderabadi biryani – a dish he’d spent many years perfecting.
Despite strong praise from the judges however, Eddie’s MasterChef win is something that he cites as a “surprise,” as well as a “dream come true.”
“I didn’t believe for one moment that I was going to win,” he told Pukaar.
“On MasterChef, you’re only as good as your last dish and because of the pressure, it’s so easy to make a mistake and for it all to be over. So I was never confident that I was actually going to win.
“When my name was called, it was a real surprise, and that’s why I reacted the way I did on the show – bursting into tears,” he added. “It was the greatest feeling of my life – a dream come true!”
Since winning MasterChef, Eddie has quit his job as a marine pilot in order to pursue his passion for food full time.
He is currently making steps towards his ultimate goal of opening his own restaurant, by gaining experience in some of the best kitchens the UK has to offer.
In fact, he is currently in the middle of a stint at a famous restaurant down in London, which is owned by non other than Gordon Ramsey.
“I’ve also been doing lots of exciting food festivals and demonstrations and am working on a cook book as well,” revealed the ambitious restauranteur, who attended Leicester Grammar School as a youngster.
“Since winning MasterChef, my life’s changed massively. It’s given me a great platform to pursue something that I’ve been dreaming about for the past 10-15 years, and has really exhilarated my entrance into cooking as a career,” he added. “It’s also given me confidence in my food and validated my skills enormously.
“I mean, you can cook for your friends and family and you might have some idea about how skilled you are, but when you’re under that much pressure in the kitchen, that’s when you discover who you really are as a cook.”
Since winning the show, Eddie has seen his public profile soar, with many keen to find out culinary tips and recipes from the star, as well as what he’s cooking up next.
He gets recognised every time he comes to Leicester he says, with fans often stopping him in the street for a selfie. He was also a big hit at this year’s Leicester Curry Awards, which he attended on September 26.
When it comes to the future, things are certainly looking bright for Eddie, who was described by MasterChef judge Greg Wallace, as someone who was “born to cook.” And it’s certainly something he agrees with.
“I’ve realised that working in a professional kitchen is something I don’t get bored with. I could spend every hour of the day cooking and still want to do it again the next day, so that’s a great sign!” he said. “It’s a dream job and something I’m really passionate about.”
When it come to Eddie’s plans for opening a restaurant, he’s keeping an open mind – and the details close to his chest for now…
“It could be Leicester,” he said when pressed by Pukaar.
“I’m looking at lots of different locations, but I’m not ruling it out at all!”
To keep up with Eddie’s culinary journey, visit: www.eddie-scott.com
By Louise Steel