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Devon Life meets 2013 BBC Masterchef Professional winner Anton Piotrowski

PUBLISHED: 09:44 24 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:39 20 February 2013

Devon Life meets 2013 BBC Masterchef Professional winner Anton Piotrowski

Devon Life meets 2013 BBC Masterchef Professional winner Anton Piotrowski

Life for MasterChef winner Anton Piotrowski moves into the fast lane as his dream becomes a reality at The Treby Arms

A Taste for Success


Life for MasterChef winner Anton Piotrowski moves into the fast lane as his dream becomes a reality at The Treby Arms

Words by Anna Turns Photos by Lee Pengelly

Passers-by have been beeping their car horns and the phone has not stopped ringing since Anton Piotrowski won BBC MasterChef: The Professionals 2012. We have kept my win a secret for 5 months, so we have only just celebrated, says Anton, who became the first ever joint-winner of the TV competition, alongside Keri Moss. Once the final aired, work just went mental now we are booking tables up to a year ahead.

Anton, 30, always dreamt of running a pub with his older brother; this year it becomes a reality when Stefan, 40, leaves the Army to work as general manager. Eighteen months ago, Anton bought The Treby Arms in Sparkwell, near Plymouth. In June, he married his teenage sweetheart, Clare, who runs front-of-house, and the couple had to cut short their honeymoon so Anton could take part in MasterChef. My highlight of the series was cooking with Tom Kerridge at The Hand & Flowers, says Anton. Cooking for a Michelin-starred chefs hall of fame was a terrifying challenge but a great experience.

After four intense weeks of hot competition, the title was awarded to Anton and Keri by judges Gregg Wallace and double Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr. Winning has been unreal, and its great to share the trophy with Keri, says Anton, whose MasterChef title has propelled him into the fast lane, and judges Michel Roux Jr and Monica Galetti plan to visit.

Anton and Clare have built an additional dining area upstairs and a much bigger kitchen is under way. We can now seat 75 covers, and well run this place like a well-oiled machine serving Michelin-star quality food, says Anton.

Our kitchen runs like a Michelin-starred kitchen even though front of house is a local pub, explains Anton, who takes three days to make perfect chips and four days to make sauces. English people love a good traditional pub, so serving excellent food with a pub atmosphere should be a winning combination. Anton admits he is not striving to make big bucks: I just want to work hard and please my customers.

All the dishes I created on the show were from my pub menu why change who I am as a chef?

Being head chef and owner may go against the industry standard, but Anton loves the freedom this gives. My creativity is unlimited and Im so lucky to work in the kitchen every day. All the dishes I created on the show were from my pub menu why change who I am as a chef? His signature dishes include venison, carrot cake and chocolate caramel centres: Were making 1,000 a week but we cant meet demand!

Anton is proud of Devons produce. We source the best ingredients from suppliers including Moostone Meats in Wembury and S & J Fisheries in Ivybridge. The one ingredient Anton couldnt do without is real butter. We get 25kg blocks of butter from Tavistocks Country Cheeses, and I couldnt live without cheese. Sharphams red wine is a real star, too.

In the Piotrowski household, cooking is a family affair. Antons mother, Sandra, was the cook at St Elizabeths in Plympton when it was a convent, and she inspired him to value seasonal ingredients. My mum cooked with fruit and veg grown in the huge garden at St Elizabeths, where we used to pick fruit as kids.

Antons grandfather was Polish and his father, Tony, is one of nine children, so big family meals are part of his upbringing. Food was always important to us, and I treasure those moments sitting round the table, eating together.

Devon born and bred, Anton studied at Sparkwell, then Ivybridge Community College, surfing at Bigbury and Challaborough with Clare whenever possible. He then worked at The Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth and Burgh Island Hotel before moving to London. I trained with Michelin-starred chefs, including Philip Howard at The Square in Mayfair, says Anton. After seven years in the big city, he returned to The Rose & Crown in Yealmpton, before buying The Treby Arms, which needed complete renovation. Anton was determined to retain its village pub feel, with original fireplace, wooden beams and dog biscuits at the ready for canine customers.

On a rare day off, Anton eats out with Clare. Rock Salt Caf & Brasserie in Plymouth is a favourite, and Im always on the lookout for Thai food and sushi, he says. Whilst on duty in the kitchen, he doesnt eat much. I taste every dish that goes out, so after tasting cauliflower soup 100 times a night, Im not hungry!

As for the future, Anton is one to watch. Id love to open a restaurant with a circular bar, where the barman serves local ale on tap and a chef cooks English tapas excellent chips with truffle mayonnaise and black pudding scotch eggs. I like taking a risk.

I think his cooking is a sure bet.

The Treby Arms
Sparkwell, Plymouth PL7 5DD
01752 837363
thetrebyarms.co.uk





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