Rosanna Moseley

So, this is weird. We're sitting in Adam's opposite the Michelin-starred restaurant's junior sous chef, Rosanna Moseley. That she'll be in the semi-finals of MasterChef: The Professionals, tonight, at the age of just 21, isn't the weird bit. The weird bit is that the show was filmed months ago, so she already knows if she's won the entire thing. And she can't tell us.

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We're trying to read her but, damn she's unreadable. Perfectly, frustratingly neutral. Whether she wins or not, the outcome is sort of irrelevant. Rosanna has already done her city and restaurant incredibly proud. A farm girl from Staffordshire her short career has seen her rise from a bistro near her home, via the Moat House in Acton Trussell into Tripadvisor's third best restaurant in the UK and ninth best in the world.

"I've always wanted to push myself," she says with a mix of steely determination and the charming humility that has MasterChef judges Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti visibly rooting for her. "But it's a nerve-wracking experience."

Rosanna mentions her nerves in every challenge of every episode, which makes the bravery she's shown to enter the competition even more pronounced. Of the skills test, the programme's notoriously petrifying first challenge, she says: "The walk to the cooking station is the longest walk of your life. And on the way you forget how to do up an apron." Is she getting to grips with those nerves? "No. They seem to just get worse the further I progress."

But progress she has and, last week, she was cooking for critics Jay Rayner, Tracey MacLeod and Grace Dent. Her main course (halibut, clams, charred leeks and pickled cucumbers - below) was hailed by the latter as "magical".

Whatever the result of tonight's show, one thing's for sure, Rosanna is back at Adam's and learning from the eponymous chef. Even when she's on air. "I didn't watch either episode I've been in live, because I've been working at the time," she says, unperturbed. "I go home and watch it at about 11.30pm."

At 21 it would be remiss to expect too much of her, but it's hard not to. In a city, and an industry, where female chefs seem massively underrepresented, we can't help but want to see her rise continue, and to continue right here. "Women are coming up in the industry," she says. "There are more and more women working in professional kitchens and if you’re willing to work hard, you’ll get to where you want to go. But it’s an incredibly hard profession and given the long hours, it can pose big questions for women who may want to bring up families."
 
When pushed on whether she can visualise a time where she might run her own resaurant in the region, she's brilliantly down to earth. "Birmingham's a great city, I love it, but I'm still young. All of that just seems a long way off. And I've still got so much to learn here at Adam's."

Maybe we could all learn a little from Rosanna. 

MasterChef: The Professionals, airs Tuesdays to Thursdays, 8pm, BBC Two

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