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North Suffolk TV chef's final bid

PUBLISHED: 13:34 17 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:31 05 July 2010

AN AMATEUR cook from North Suffolk has the title of the nation's most popular cooking competitions firmly in his sights after making it through to the final stages.

AN AMATEUR cook from North Suffolk has the title of the nation's most popular cooking competitions firmly in his sights after making it through to the final stages.

Chris Gates successfully became one of the final four contestants in BBC2's MasterChef contest last night wowing judges with his natural ability and passion for cooking.

Battling it out against five other hopefuls, Mr Gates, who lives in Halesworth and works in Lowestoft, had just one hour and 20 minutes to create a perfect, memorable chicken dish.

The 25-year-old impressed judges John Torode and Greg Wallace with his flavoursome chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms and herbs wrapped in puff pastry served on a bed of wilted spinach with a mustard sauce.

John Torode described Mr Gates as one of most naturally gifted cooks he had ever seen. And Greg Wallace said: “I like young Christopher's style, it is complex cooking that looks great on the plate.”

Mr Gates said he was amazed to have got so far and dreamt of owning his own restaurant if he won.

“Deep down I did not ever think I would get to the last four but I have pulled it off. It is amazing, absolutely amazing, I can't believe it,” he said. “My dream and goal if I win this competition would be to open my own restaurant, small and simple with a deli attached, to get people as interested in food as I am.”

He now faces some of the toughest cooking challenges in the industry as the finalists get their first real taste of the professional world.

On tonight's show Mr Gates will be sent to the Port Talbot steel works in South Wales where he will have to cater for over 600 hungry steel workers. It will be a race to see who gets their food out on time and who sells the most.

To see if Mr Gates makes the final three watch MasterChef tonight at 8.30pm on

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