Chef’s taste of success

Dean Park Hotel chef Morten Rengtved
Dean Park Hotel chef Morten Rengtved

A Kirkcaldy chef is celebrating after making it to the finals of a national competition to find the best professional chef in the UK.

Morten Rengtved, 32, is head chef at the Dean Park Hotel, and reached the quarter finals of Masterchef: The Professionals, a popular spin off show on BBC Two.

Chefs Michel Roux Jr and Monica Galetti and food critic Greg Wallace put the chefs through their paces.

But for Morten, who moved to Scotland from Denmark 11 years ago after a two week work placement, it was a complete shock to be told he was in the running.

“My partner entered me in secret,” he said. “I always watched the show and she asked ‘Do you want to go in for it?’ and I always said ‘It’s not for me’.

“But when a letter came and you had to fill in your details, she did all of that without me knowing.”

Morten had to submit a detailed menu and restaurant plan and face a tough interview with show bosses before the real challenge began.

For Morten, just being considered for the televised stages was a huge accomplishment.

“I think there were around 53,000 applicants from the whole of Britain, so to get into the top twenty at the beginning of the show was huge,” he said.

“And then getting to the quarter final, it’s even better.”

Although televised two weeks ago, the competition took place in the summer and Morten says it was somewhat of a relief to be eliminated.

“If I had gone on to the semi final, it would have meant that I was away from the hotel for a month in July, our peak wedding time so it wouldn’t have been good.

“So in one way I was happy but sad that I couldn’t go that extra wee step but it was a really good experience.”

For Morten, meeting the legendary Michel Roux Jr was a highlight, made even better by his fantastic comments.

“I was really excited to meet him, and to top it all off he loved my three dishes,” Morten said. “He told me ‘Just be yourself and don’t try something that you’re not comfortable doing.’”

Fans of the show can even taste the calf’s liver dish made by Morten, as it features as a special at the hotel on Friday and Saturday evenings. “Cooking on the show has definitely inspired me,” he said.