Jesmond restaurant-owner reaches MasterChef quarter-finals

A co-owner of Brentwood Avenue’s Bistro Forty Six, Max Gott, has made it to the quarter-finals of MasterChef: The Professionals 2018.

Three years after opening the restaurant with his brother, Gott applied for MasterChef, because “the day-to-day can get a little bit boring.

“We just thought we should try something different, so I applied,” says Gott. “We’re about ‘field to fork’, where we hunt and forage for the majority of our ingredients. That’s a bit different than what they do on MasterChef, which is more focused on classical techniques, but we thought we’d have a go and see what happened.”

Max Gott, owner of Bistro 46 and Masterchef: The Professionals contestant

Gott says he was delighted when he was able to incorporate game into his dishes – a specialty at Bistro Forty Six. However, the competition has prompted Gott to think differently too. “We had to make a dish with an egg. Some of the things the other five contestants came up with… if they had given me two days, I couldn’t have come up with the same dish. But now thinking back to it, I can see what their thought process was.”

Gott says the level of stress on MasterChef is constant: from the actual tasks to the backstage setting. “There’s a lot that you don’t realise – it’s stressful before you even get to cook. Some of the people who were there said they would never go back.

“But I took a lot away from it. It was interesting to go along and see that although I’ve never had formal training, I still knew the same things as some of the others who’ve done this all their life. Although I didn’t get particularly far, I went out against some strong competition.”

Ever since working in a kitchen during his university days, Gott has always been interested in food. Following graduation, he worked a season abroad, cooking in a chalet, before deciding to open Bistro Forty Six with brother Ben.

“Eventually it just gets a hold of you, and suddenly that’s your career path.”

Gott says he has no plans to apply for other competitions, but says that he is “always open to other programmes”.

“There’s nothing I’d ever rule out,” he says. “It didn’t put me off. It wasn’t the fact that I messed up. The other contestants were just better on the day.”