Max Holba makes it through to final 10 of MasterChef: The Professionals but fellow Stevenage chef Andrew D’Amery is eliminated

Maxmilian Holba from Stevenage, one of this year's contestants on MasterChef: The Professionals.

Maxmilian Holba from Stevenage, one of this year's contestants on MasterChef: The Professionals. - Credit: Archant

A head chef from Stevenage made it through to the final 10 of MasterChef: The Professionals last night, although a fellow local didn’t make the cut.

Andrew D'Amery from Stevenage is on this year's MasterChef: The Professionals.

Andrew D'Amery from Stevenage is on this year's MasterChef: The Professionals. - Credit: Archant

It was touch and go whether Maximilian Holba would be among the eight competitors put straight through in the 8pm BBC Two show, but the 37-year-old – who lived in Stevenage and Aston for the first 20 years of life – got the approval of judges Marcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace and Monica Galetti.

Unfortunately Andrew D’Amery – who has lived in the Great Ashby area of Stevenage for nine years – hasn’t joined Max in the final 10, after being one of two chefs eliminated in a four-way cook-off.

Max – who now lives in London where he is the head chef of The White Horse pub in Exchange Square – cooked roasted guinea fowl on the bone, with a croquette, parsnip purée, parsnip crisp, morel mushrooms and polenta chips – in a two-hour 15-minute invention test for the final 12.

Michelin-starred chef Marcus loved elements of the dish, but the trio of judges weren’t totally convinced – and decided to put the former North Herts College student through after deliberating.

Marcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace and Monica Galetti - the judges for MasterChef: The Professionals.

Marcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace and Monica Galetti - the judges for MasterChef: The Professionals. - Credit: Archant

Reacting to the news, Max – who also attended Letchmore Road, Almond Hill, Aston St Mary’s and Thomas Alleyne schools in his youth – simply said: “Gobsmacked, relieved, knackered, need a pint!”

Andy’s invention test plate – mackerel two ways, pan fried fillet and a mackerel tartar with a crab croquette, brown crab emulsion, pickled shallots, radish, samphire and a lemon foam – failed to wow the judges, so the 25-year-old was told he would have to cook again in a one-hour invention test against James, Rosanna and Zoe.

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Of his second plate – pan fried sea trout, a confit of trout wrapped in chargrilled courgette, clams, courgette and basil purée, chargrilled orange, finished with an orange butter sauce – judge and presenter Gregg said: “I really admire Andrew, the amount of effort he put into that dish.”

But after James and Zoe both received high praise, Andy – who works as a sous chef at Wembley Stadium for Delaware North – was told he was going home along with Rosanna.

The final 12 for MasterChef: The Professionals, which included Andrew D'Amery and Maximilian Holba.

The final 12 for MasterChef: The Professionals, which included Andrew D'Amery and Maximilian Holba. - Credit: Archant

Andy, who also attended North Herts College in Hitchin where he studied professional cookery and worked at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre under head chef Darren Rumble in his first professional job, said on the show: “It’s obviously rubbish to be going home but I’d never have dreamt to get to where I’ve got to – the final 12 in the whole competition – so it’s been absolutely unbelievable.”

Max will appear on the BBC Two programme at 8pm on Thursday night – with the 10 remaining chefs split into two teams of five over tomorrow and Thursday’s shows as they attempt to create exceptional dinners for distinguished guests, before taking on another individual challenge.

In Max’s show, the team put together a menu for guests at the French ambassador’s residence.

• MasterChef: The Professionals airs Tuesdays to Thursdays, 8pm on BBC Two.

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