Tom Rhodes: who is MasterChef 2021 winner from Newcastle, does he work at Nando’s - and what did he serve in final?

Rhodes was crowned winner of the BBC One cooking show after impressing judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode with his signature dishes
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Tom Rhodes has been crowned winner of the latest series of BBC One’s MasterChef.

Beating fellow finalists Mike Tomkins and Alexina Anatole to the much-coveted trophy, the 31-year-old amateur cook from Newcastle won with his three signature dishes.

The show’s final was rescheduled to Wednesday evening, following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh on Friday.

Tom Rhodes, this year's MasterChef champion,  has said he plans to 'seize this opportunity' presented to him by the competition (PA Media)Tom Rhodes, this year's MasterChef champion,  has said he plans to 'seize this opportunity' presented to him by the competition (PA Media)
Tom Rhodes, this year's MasterChef champion, has said he plans to 'seize this opportunity' presented to him by the competition (PA Media)

After conjuring up a tantalising five-course lunch for lockdown heroes and then plating up at famous restaurant Le Gavroche, Rhodes impressed with his Japanese-themed starter, main and dessert which led to the judges making him the programme’s 17th winner.

So, who is Tom Rhodes?

Here is everything you need to know.

Who is Tom Rhodes?

The MasterChef winner was born in Manchester, where he grew up with his two younger brothers.

He moved to Newcastle for university, where he ended up settling and working as the front-of-house manager of a Nando’s restaurant.

Rhodes’ love of cooking started when he was as young as four years old, and the chef previously revealed that he had watched the popular cooking show for over 15 years.

He was inspired by Nigel Slater and Nigella Lawson - and even has a signed copy of her cookbook How to Eat in his 300-strong collection.

Rhodes is also a fan of travelling, and his trips to East and Southeast Asia inspired some of the flavours and ingredients he used in his dishes.

The chef lives alone, and confessed during the show that he will often “spend three, four, five hours making dinner” for himself.

But the MasterChef title will present many opportunities for him, and he has already gained over 10k followers on his Instagram, @rhodeskitchen.

Speaking after filming ended, Rhodes said he dreams of writing a cookbook and running a cookery school.

How did he react when he was crowned winner?

After he was revealed as this year’s MasterChef champion, Rhodes called it a “dream come true”.

"I'm grateful that I met, got to know and cook alongside some of the most wonderful and talented people, and have found friends for life in them,” he said.

"I'll also never forget and can't be more thankful to all the friendly, hard working, fantastic people, that make MasterChef such a special show.

"I feel like this is just the start, and I'm excited for what comes next."

What did Rhodes serve the judges in the final?

Rhodes served up a delicious-looking Japanese-infused starter, main and dessert to impress the judges in the final show.

Hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode were taken aback by his cooking prowess.

First, Rhodes served a trio of oysters, including a beer-battered oyster with a Japanese sour plum mayonnaise, which Wallace complimented for “a style bordering on minimalism”.

Next, the chef made a reverse-seared ribeye steak topped with beetroot pickled in a Japanese seaweed and wasabi leaf, and Torode called the dish “really very clever indeed”.

His dessert of a lemon tart topped with black olive meringue was the last dish to draw praise from the hosts.

Speaking about the amateur chef’s talents, Torode commented: “Tom walked into this kitchen and surprised us. He has defined himself a style all of his own and it’s fantastic. His food is delicious and it looks beautiful. As an amateur chef what he is doing is really impressive.”

While Wallace added: “I love this fella. He has delivered some of the most beautiful, elegant dishes I have seen in this competition for a long while. He is a phenomenal talent and the sky’s the limit for him.”

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