A YOUNG chef from Wiltshire has made it through to the semi-finals of the BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals competition.

Jamaar Semper, who works as a junior sous chef at the five star Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa at Colerne, was one of two quarter-finalists who were voted through by the judges last night.

The 22-year-old cooked two dishes for the MasterChef judges Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti and food critics Jay Rayner and Grace Dent, as well as taking part in an invention test with a forest-inspired theme

He was given just 70-minutes to prepare and cook his dish for the test, and 75 minutes to prepare, cook and serve the other two dishes.

His main course was honey-glazed duck breast, miso glazed cabbage, pickled mouli, candied ginger, cherry chutney with a five-spice sauce.

His dessert was a peach souffle, peach compote, with almond streusel and earl grey ice cream.

Mr Semper was one of four contestants in the last quarter-final, which was shown on BBC One TV on Thursday night.

After learning he had won through, he said: “If I have made it to the semi-finals then there is no stopping, I can make it to the finals.”

Grace Dent said of his main course: “The duck is bang on. The skin is brown and there is plenty of flavour but I think that the cabbage is the star of the show.

“The miso has soaked into the cabbage. It has just got a glaze on it. It is absolutely delicious.

“I don’t care about the mouli; I was too busy eating the cabbage.”

Jay Rayner said: “This five spice sauce brings everything together. The cherry compote runs into the jus in a very nice way and does not over-sweeten it.

“It is all been thought about. He knew what he was doing and he has put it on the plate, which is what you want from a really good cook.”

Of his peach souffle, Grace Dent said: “I love this souffle. It is so clever. He has put the warmth of the peach at the bottom.”

Jay Rayner said: “There is still bite and there is still acidity to the fruit. It has not turned into mush. You have got that calmness of the earl grey ice cream which is not overwhelming.

“It is all in the detail because on the top is this little layer of crunch biscuity almond streusel which gives you texture.

Polishing off the dessert, he added: “There was nothing missing. Nothing missing at all. I have to stop because there is none left.”

Mr Semper, from Bristol, is one of the youngest chefs competing for the MasterChef: The Professionals title.

The 13th series of the annual BBC competition is being filmed in studios near the River Thames in east London.

His family - mum Becky, elder sister Tichelle, 25, and three younger brothers, Jaylan, 14, Malachim, 10, and Zion, 8, watched his performance in the quarter-final on TV at home.

Mr Semper won the South West Young Chef of the year Award in 2019 and a Royal Academy of Culinary Arts’ Annual Award of Excellence 2019 award.

Earlier this year, Mr Semper was a finalist in this year’s Craft Guild of Chefs National Young Chef of the Year competition in Exeter.

The 2019 MasterChef: The Professionals winner was Stu Deeley, 28, from Birmingham.