A Newham chef has made it to the finals of a national cooking competition - and could win the show next week.

MasterChef: The Professionals launched its 14th series in November on BBC One, bringing together 32 chefs from across the UK.

Gallions Reach's Ryan Baker sailed through the semi-finals last night (November 8) and has won himself a place in next Tuesday's final.

Ryan told the Recorder: "I'm thrilled to be through to the finals, and I'm really proud of myself to have made it this far.

"It's strange watching yourself on TV, I've never done it before and it's weird to see how you look and sound.

"It's been exciting, and I've wanted the show to come out for a long time. It's great seeing how people react, and how you come across."

Newham Recorder: Newham chef Ryan Baker is a finalist in MasterChef: The ProfessionalsNewham chef Ryan Baker is a finalist in MasterChef: The Professionals (Image: BBC/Shine TV)

Ryan works at central London restaurant Maison Francois and formerly in the kitchen at prestigious hotel The Ritz.

In October he was a finalist in the Roux Scholarship 2020/21, but said MasterChef is the "toughest competition" of his life.

"It goes on for a really long time, and there are no days off so it's stressful and tiring - I was doing a lot of early morning and late night practices," he explained.

"But I'm so glad I entered, and I've had some great feedback - and hope to get some more in the finals.

"All the guys are nice and I've made some great friends."

Newham Recorder: Chef Ryan Baker is from Gallions Reach in NewhamChef Ryan Baker is from Gallions Reach in Newham (Image: BBC/Shine TV)

His family have also played a central role over the past few months - in episode 17, Ryan made a monkfish in honour of his grandfather.

"It was based on a memory I have of the two of us buying monkfish and preparing it together, it was very special," he said.

Ryan also thanked girlfriend Tiffany Baldock, who he lives with in Newham, for her "constant support".

"During filming she was there for me all the time, no matter what I need, and gave me advice," he said.

Looking to the future, Ryan thinks the competition will help him reach his goal of becoming a head chef.

He added: "I'd love to do some more pop-ups in the future, touring the country so people can try my food.

"People want to pay for food cooked by a MasterChef finalist."

Newham Recorder: Ryan Baker hopes to do more pop-ups across the UK when he finishes MasterChef: The ProfessionalsRyan Baker hopes to do more pop-ups across the UK when he finishes MasterChef: The Professionals (Image: BBC/Shine TV)

MasterChef: The Professionals is back on air for The Finals, starting Tuesday, December 14 at 9pm on BBC One.