AMATEUR cook and Carlisle United fan Chris Hale has made it into the quarter finals on BBC show MasterChef.

Originally from Carlisle, the 29-year-old now lives in Wakefield with fiancee Sophie Slack and their two children.

However, he regular returns to the city to watch his beloved Blues at Brunton Park and spend time with family.

A keen home chef and regular viewer of the cooking talent show, he was persuaded to apply to take part in the BBC show.

Last night, as MasterChef returned to our screens, viewers watched him put his skills to the test in front of judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace.

“It was Sophie that persuaded me to apply. Bullied me into it actually,” joked Chris.

“I like cooking, I always have, and watch it every year – it’s one of my favourite shows. I applied and before I knew it I was there.”

In last night’s show Chris had to first create his signature dish – Indian Sushi – which was a first for the MasterChef judges.

He explained why he chose it. “For me food is about sharing. I like sharing plates because it brings everyone together and you talk about the food. Things like sushi and tapas are my style. 

"I thought Indian sushi was a bit different. I’m hoping it was a world first. When I first told Gregg what I was cooking he gave me this look, but in the end they did seem to like it.”

His dish included tuna and cumin nori rolls, turmeric prawn tempura, calamari stuffed with mushroom biryani and south Indian pepper water instead of traditional soy sauce.

It was a lot of work, and he only had an hour to complete it; but somehow he managed to pull it off.

There were five contestants in the heat, with John and Gregg initially choosing two favourites before the remaining three – including Chris – battled it out in a cook-off.

They had to choose with a dessert or a main, using either lemon or pigeon.

Chris said: “I was constantly calling it pheasant so that wasn’t the best start, and I’d never cooked it before.”

He chose to roast the breast with chestnut and mushroom stuffing, and thanks to his chef’s instinct, the judges were impressed enough to put him through to the next round.

Chris, who is dad to Jasmine, four and Arianna, one, will now feature in the quarter-final, aired tomorrow night at 8.30pm, when he will cook a two-course meal for last year’s finalists.