From Disaster Chef to Master Chef

One of our PhD students has been crowned Kenwood Chef 2016 at the 'Disaster Chef' competition live final after transforming his kitchen disasters into culinary successes.

Bassam Al Yaseen, a PhD student in our Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour is currently writing his thesis on the impact of nutrients and sediments upon epilithic algae.

The competition saw three self-proclaimed ‘Disaster Chefs’ go head to head in a live final cooking challenge in which Bassam delivered a menu consisting of consisted of a Twice Baked Cheese Soufflé and Spaghetti Served in Spicy Tomato Sauce.

The finalists had been selected from hundreds of hopeless cooks who entered the national competition.

Bassam was crowned the winner by a panel of three judges, including top chef Raymond Blanc OBE, who were impressed with the quality and presentation of his two final dishes along with the results from the culinary journey he had undertaken over the past five weeks.

Bassam said: "I am extremely honoured to have won such an important competition (Kenwood Disaster Chef). I am earnestly grateful for the recognition I have received for my improved cooking, because I am very sure that every other contestant was hoping to win this competition.

"I have faced several challenges on my way through this competition, but each one of them has only strengthened me to win; as I set my eyes on a goal and do not lose sight of it, unless it is achieved. Winning this competition would not have been possible without the fantastic Kenwood Chef Titanium I received from Kenwood and without the inspiration I have received from my wife and children, for whom I have the deepest respect, and from whom I have derived the strength to challenge myself and perform better at each stage. Again I sincerely thankful for helping me reach a stage where I can proudly cook.

"One of the most important things I will take away from Kenwood competition is my new found knowledge, which includes knowing how to prepare delicious food for my family."

Bassam first discovered his talent for kitchen disasters a few years ago when he tried to surprise his wife with a red velvet cake for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, due to misreading teaspoons of bicarbonate soda powder for tablespoons, she ended up with a volcano cake!

You can follow Bassam's journey through the competition via his Kenwood blog