MasterChef stars Luke Phillips and Matthew Ryle credit success to Specialised Chef training at Bournemouth & Poole College

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During the recent MasterChef: The Professionals series, the College was proud to support two of its Specialised Chef graduates as they excelled in the competition, with Luke Phillips making it to the Semi Finals and Finalist Matthew Ryle reaching the last four. Luke, who works for the Chewton Glen Hotel, and Matt, a former head chef at Isabel’s in Mayfair, both really enjoyed their time on the show and impressed the judges with a variety of dishes.

Luke claimed that whilst the experience was somewhat ‘nerve-wracking’, the chance to meet Michael Caines and other top chefs was truly memorable. Matt also noted the intense pressure, but noted the Chef’s table as a massive highlight of the series. He was also amazed by the audience reaction once the show went to air. Matt said: “I was overwhelmed by the support I received, getting really nice messages and comments. I loved every minute of it, and I loved watching it back.”

Speaking to the College about their achievements, both were keen to emphasise the importance of their Specialised Chef training in the development of their repertoire of skills. Matt explained that the course structure provided a great foundation for learning: “You learn at the college why things are done, and not just how, and that is certainly something you should take into consideration when looking to become a chef.”

Luke was in full agreement: “The classical training we received was the most vital aspect of my training as student. I was taught all the basics, and that has allowed me to develop further skills as my career has progressed. Without the basics there is no point even trying!

In every lesson as a Specialised Chef we were taught the groundwork of French cooking. It was a really good idea because it meant that when I went into a main kitchen I knew exactly what I was going to do, and how and why it was going to be done, before I even set foot in the door.”

Ultimately both chefs felt their considerable success can be traced to their training at the College. Luke summed it up by saying: “The Specialised Chef programme has really got me where I want to be. I couldn’t have done it without it!”

Matt felt similarly: “Becoming a Specialised Chef is the reason I am the chef I am today. As soon as I came to Bournemouth and it was explained to me how the course works, I knew it was the right direction to go in. Every opportunity that has come in my career has come through the Specialised Chef connection.”

Tracy Butler, Learning Manager for the Service Industries at Bournemouth & Poole College, was delighted with Matt and Luke’s achievement: “It was a privilege to be able to support two outstanding chefs who showcase our Specialised Chef programme. We hope Matt and Luke’s success in the industry will serve as a great motivation for our students for many years to come.”

To find more about Specialised Chef training at the College, visit

Matthew Ryle In action