Kirton dentist brushing up his skills for BBC TV MasterChef show
A DENTIST from Kirton is getting his teeth stuck into a new discipline by cooking up a storm on the BBC show MasterChef.
James Cooper entered the show after encouragement from his university friends.
James, 25, who currently works as a dentist in Leeds, was brought up on a farm near Kirton and attended Huntcliff School.
But his passion outside the dental surgery is being in the kitchen and he has spent years cooking for family and friends.
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Now, having speculatively applied for the BBC show, he has reached the knockout round after impressing judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode.
James is tight-lipped about how far he gets on the show, but said: "I didn't anticipate I would do this well at all.
"I thought I might make it through the first round, but that was it. I am delighted to have reached the knockout stage.
"I took up cooking at a very young age.
"Being on a farm, I used a lot of different fresh ingredients to cook with.
"If my family ever throws a dinner party, they make sure I'm the one cooking.
"I really enjoy doing it and find it relaxing.
"I like to use recipes as a basis, but don't like following them to the letter.
"Cookery books are an inspiration for me to work from.
"As part of the show I was in a professional kitchen for lunch service. They said I took it in my stride, but I found it distracting being told what to do all the time.
"Being a dentist, I manage my own time and have no-one telling me what to do. I also had to make sure all my dishes were the same. It was a really interesting experience."
The contest has so far seen contestants asked to taste a pigeon Wellington with glazed shallots, before recreating the dish without a recipe.
They then faced a hectic lunch service at London's Caxton Grill, which was James' first proper taste of a professional kitchen.
Then, back in the MasterChef kitchen, the amateur chefs had to whip up two courses of their own for judges Gregg and John.
After impressing them with his calm and controlled nature in the kitchen, James made it all the way through to the knockout round.
He said: "I was very nervous the first time I went into the kitchen, which was strange because I am not usually a nervous person.
"It was all real-time as well. I expected some delay because it was being filmed, but it was very full-on.
"I got on well with Gregg, who is a great character, and John was very helpful. They were cracking a lot of dentist jokes though."
James will appear on the show in the coming weeks in the knockout stage, along with the other 11 chefs still in the competition.