A chef from Darlington has made it through to the final rounds of a prestigious international cooking competition.

Syed Ahmed from Bombay Gate on Skinnergate will be travelling to Bangladesh next month to put his skills to the test when he competes against some of the most promising chefs from the UK in International Bangladeshi Masterchef.

After facing tough competition at Northampton College on Tuesday, January 17, against 31 other hopefuls, Syed said he had to “block out the stress and pretend it was just another day at work.”

After the blind tasting, the scoring was done on a points system, and ten lucky chefs were selected to go to the Grand Sylhet Hotel in Bangladesh to compete against South Asia’s finest chefs.

The Northern Echo: Syed was over the moon when he got the phone call on his way back to DarlingtonSyed was over the moon when he got the phone call on his way back to Darlington (Image: Stuart Boulton)

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The 42-year-old from Darlington was named ‘UK Champion’ and he was told he would be taking the team overseas.

It was on his way back to Darlington that he got a call with the news, and he was speechless.

Syed said: “I couldn’t believe it. Not because I don’t think my food’s wasn’t good, just because there were so many really good chefs there. My heart was pounding when I got the call and I was shaking.

“I couldn’t wait to get back to Bombay Gate and tell the staff and my family, especially my brother. I was driving back with my manager and we were so happy with the news.

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“This competition is a huge deal for Asian chefs and I’ve done competitions before but this is definitely a big step up.

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“There were judges from all different backgrounds, not just Asian, and they were clearly looking at your ability as a chef, not just being judged on one dish.”

The Northern Echo: Bombay Gate on Skinnergate in DarlingtonBombay Gate on Skinnergate in Darlington (Image: Aja Dodd, Newsquest)

Taking inspiration from all corners of the globe is what Syed puts his culinary success down to as he’s not afraid of experimenting with Middle Eastern, East Asian, and European flavours and incorporating them into his dishes, something he is outing into practice at Bombay Gate.

Syed flies out to Bangladesh for another ‘cook off’ on Tuesday, March 14, and hopefully will bring the prestigious title back to Darlington.