Claire Lara wins Masterchef: The Professionals
Last night Claire Lara was crowned winner of MasterChef: The Professionals. The first female winner attributed her triumph on the notoriously tough cookery to her heightened sense of smell due to her pregnancy.
Despite being sick while competing against fellow finalists David Coulson, 25, and John Calton, 29, she did not realise she was pregnant and put her symptoms down to nerves.
Lara, is expecting a boy with her French husband Marc, said it was "about time" a woman won the show, which was judged by Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr and food writer Gregg Wallace.
In last night's 90 minute finale the final three chefs had to draw on everything they had learnt during the past few weeks of competition to prepare an intricate Michelin standard three course menu designed by Michel which was then served to 30 of the world's leading inspectors, restaurateurs and Michelin starred chefs.
Claire said: "It feels brilliant, but at the time I didn't know I was the first female winner. Men have definitely dominated. I feel quite proud. Hopefully other young female chefs will be inspired to go on."
She added: "It's a really tough industry and not female-friendly. You've got to be very thick-skinned."
Michel Roux Jr said: "I think she's the most complete chef that I've come across. Not just in the MasterChef context, but anywhere, in the last five years.
"We started off the competition looking for a talent and we have uncovered a diamond... She has that exceptional talent that will take her to stardom."