Can Chris cook up a Masterchef victory?

CHRIS Gates' passion for food started when he helped his mother in the kitchen as a child.

CHRIS Gates' passion for food started when he helped his mother in the kitchen as a child.

But now the amateur cook from Suffolk is just a few recipes away from winning one of the nation's most popular cookery competitions.

The 25-year-old has reached the semi-final stage of BBC2's MasterChef and will use his cookery skills to battle against five other hopefuls tonight.

Mr Gates, who lives in Halesworth and works in Lowestoft, has made it through to the last six in the competition and will compete to make the perfect chicken dish on tonight's show.

Mr Gates, who works at Jobcentre Plus in Lowestoft, said applied in December 2007 for filming in 2008. “I decided to apply in December 2007 for filming in 2008. I was one of those people who used to watch it and say 'If I was there, I would have done this,' so I thought I'd put my money where my mouth is.”

He added: “The people I was cooking against in the quarter final were really, really good and I was genuinely shocked to get through. It was exhausting physically and mentally but I was absolutely chuffed to bits.”

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