One of Maidenhead's own becomes head chef at high-end London restaurant

A chef who grew up in Maidenhead and rose to prominence by winning MasterChef: The Professionals in 2017 has taken on a head chef role at a Michelin-starred restaurant in London.

Craig Johnston, just 22 when he won the BBC cooking contest, was raised in Furze Platt and has previously worked for The Boathouse at Boulters Lock and The Royal Oak in Paley Street.

He left his position at the latter in 2018 to become senior chef de partie at Marcus Wareing’s two Michelin-starred Marcus restaurant in Belgravia, London.

Over the last four years, Craig has worked his way up to head chef at the high-end eatery – a position he has held since November.

Speaking to the Advertiser, he explained how growing up in the Maidenhead area helped inspire him to pursue a career with food, and said his experiences on television assisted him as he grew as a chef.

“If it was not for that [Masterchef], I do not know where I would be now,” Craig said.

“It was definitely an opportunity that changed my day-to-day and I would not be where I am if it was not for that show.”

He added that his new role at Marcus is going smoothly, with fellow chefs recognising him following his BBC exploits.

“It is going great and I have got a really good team behind me,” Craig said.

“I have been part of the Marcus team for over four years now and have slowly worked my way up the ranks.

“We have launched new menus now and we want to be the best we can be. I want to make it a special experience – the restaurant is very luxurious, it is a celebration restaurant.”

Craig said that his interest in food started when he was aged 13 and he began working in cuisine shortly after his 16th birthday.

He said that growing up in the Royal Borough helped to shape him as a chef, with many Michelin-starred restaurants calling the borough or surrounding areas home.

Craig added that his favourite part of cooking was the creativity involved in creating dishes fit for a Michelin-starred environment.

“It does inspire you and it is very exciting for a young chef,” added Craig.

“I have always been interested in cooking from an early age.

“It has been a lot of hard work but I have learnt so much.”

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