Masterchef finalist heads back home to Harrogate for final cook-off

Mark Holland competing in Masterchef: The Professionals.

Mark Holland competing in Masterchef: The Professionals.

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A Harrogate chef who was a finalist on BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals is returning to his home town to host three special dining events next month.

A Harrogate chef who was a finalist on BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals is returning to his home town to host three special dining events next month.

Mark Holland, 35, will create unique tasting menus at Ripley Castle and Norse, featuring a combination of Yorkshire fare and dishes he cooked on the show.

Mark, who moved to London four years ago to work as sous chef at the award-winning gastropub, The Bull and Last, got to the final of the latest series of Masterchef at the end of last year.

Overwhelmed at the backing he received from Harrogate residents, the former Harrogate Grammar School student is hosting the evenings to say “thank you” for the support.

He said: “I just found the amount of support I got amazing. People were coming up to my dad and saying well done. I never imagined I would get that far in the competition anyway.

People in Harrogate really backed me, which was a nice feeling. “I am leaving to go to Australia in May so I decided I was going to finish in London and come back to Harrogate and do a few nights to say thank you to everyone.”

Mark describes his cooking style as European, and although he currently cooks gastropub style food, he is developing his dishes into smaller tapas-style plates.

He said: “I have travelled around Europe quite a lot and I have taken quite a lot of influence from places that I love and put it into my plates of food.”

Mark started his career working in the kitchens at Pinocchios Italian restaurant, in Harrogate, before moving on to the Drum and Monkey and the General Tarleton in Ferrensby, and finishing his Yorkshire run at the Box Tree in Illkley.

Since wowing two Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing, formidable perfectionist Monica Galetti, and Masterchef maestro Gregg Wallace in the eighth series of the show, Mark has attracted attention in the culinary world.

He said: “There have been a few offers coming in, but none that seem quite right.

“It has been really interesting since the show finished and it has give me a lot more confidence to do my own dishes.”

Mark will join forces with Norse’s head chef Murray Wilson, who made it to the final week of Masterchef The Professionals in 2008, for two culinary evenings at the Oxford Street restaurant on Tuesday, April 19 and Wednesday, April 20. Both nights have already sold-out, however tables are still available at an evening hosted by Mark at Ripley Castle on Saturday, April 30, which can be booked by calling 01423 770152.