November 21 In the Press

‘What happens in MasterChef, stays in MasterChef’ as James Devine celebrates success

By Eleanor McGillie

A TYRONE chef is celebrating getting through to the quarter finals of BBC’s MasterChef where he beat off stiff competition to get his much deserved place in the kitchen.

Fans of James Devine have been glued to their screens all last week to watch him compete with eight different chefs from across the UK.

James, who is Head Chef at the Black Cat Traditional Restaurant in Ballygawley, joined the other chefs to bid for the much coveted champion title by facing Monica’s Invention Test where they had to make a dish using a selection of just seven ingredients: brown crabmeat, sea purslane, aubergine, baby fennel, mango, ricotta and coconut.

The  group of eight was then split up and the first four chefs returned to face three more tests – Monica’s much feared Skills Test followed by Michel Roux Jnr’s demanding Classics challenges. After this both Monica and Michel Roux Jnr decided who had earned a place in the quarter-finals and who would be leaving the competition for good.

For the Classics challenge James cooked up a Chicken with Carbonara Garnish. Judges had low expectations but when they tasted it Michel described James as a ‘clever chef’ and a ‘thinking chef’.

James said: “It was an absolutely fantastic experience. I have always entered competitions and I have applied for MasterChef every year for the last five years and never got through. This year I was teaching when my friend encouraged me to try again. I did and I got through.

“I was delighted to have got there. I am not the type of chef who sits on the sidelines waiting for things to happen. I like to be challenged and I like to do things differently. The competition was fierce. There is a gap between the standards of cooking between the chefs and I love that about competitions.

“Filming started earlier this year and finished around July. I am not so keen about being in the limelight and I don’t think I could ever get used to being on screen or having camera crews so close to me. But it was brilliant. Personally I think they edited me in a good light because something quite embarrassing happened which they could have shown but they didn’t. But what happens in MasterChef, stays in MasterChef.”

James said working with such icons was an amazing feeling and said there are a few more competitions which he would like to enter further down the line. He aspires to represent Ireland in the Great British Menu and has also said he would love to compete in Bocuse D’Or which is one of the most prestigious cooking competitions in the world.

To sample gastronomic delights cooked by the Masterchef quarter finalist book a table call at Black Cat Traditional Restaurant on 028 8556 7040. You can also visit the restaurant’s website on or follow Black Cat on Facebook and Twitter.




  • Overlooking Martray Lake, in the old Ardbeg Lodge a young chef is reviving local and seasonal cooking for an audience of diners, who now will have a new (old) favourite place to go to. Chef James Devine – who never focuses on style or trends above substance – combines his methods of creating clean and simple dishes with his expertise gained while working in 3Michelin star restaurants in London and New York. To book a table call Black Cat Traditional Restaurant on 028 8556 7040. You can also visit the restaurant’s website on or follow Black Cat on Facebook and Twitter.
  • For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd (McGillie Media & PR Ltd) on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379 | Food and Drink PR | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK | Brand Journalism Experts

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