IT’S a mouth-watering prospect for the people of Dorset... Masterchef winner Steve Groves has revealed that he would like to return to the area and set up his own restaurant.

Steve, 28, a former chef at Branksome Beach restaurant on Poole seafront, now works in London, and says he plans to stay there for a while yet.

“I want to work for some of the top chefs, and learn from the best,” he said.

“But Dorset is an amazing part of the world, and I would be quite happy to settle down there.

“I would like to have my own place that serves good British food with a modern twist.”

Steve, originally from Essex, moved to Bournemouth from America, where he had moved to pursue his career, because his father, who lived in the town, had been diagnosed with cancer.

“Also, my sister was at university in Bournemouth, so I thought I would spend time with them both.

“I really enjoyed living there. You’ve got everything down there – amazing beaches and the New Forest, for a start.

“And there’s great produce in Dorset, which, for a chef, is really exciting.”

He had fond memories of his time at Branksome Beach: “It was my first head chef role, so it gave me a foundation in learning how to run a kitchen – it was a good learning experience.”

As Steve was crowned champion of the popular BBC2 show Masterchef: The Professionals, his former colleagues at Branksome Beach were cheering him on.

General manager Nadine Frost said: “We were all watching the final. We’re all proud of him, and we’ve had texts from customers congratulating him.

“He had a real flair for cooking and he’s an exceptional talent,” Nadine added. “I’ve no doubt that he will go on to have his own Michelin-starred restaurant.”

Over a final week of challenges in the long-running series, Steve edged ahead of fellow finalists Marianne Lamb and Daniel Graham.

Competition judge Michel Roux Jnr said: “Steve has all the talents required to make it to the top.”

Fellow judge Greg Wallace agreed: “I’ve absolutely no doubt that Steve will go on and have a very glittering career, and become a serious player in the culinary world.”

The finalists ultimate challenge was to create a three-course meal against the clock.

Steve’s winning menu consisted of a starter of roast quail with scotch egg, morels and asparagus; a main course of venison loin with potato rosti, watercress puree and roasted beetroot; followed by a dessert of mille feuille of raspberries and bitter chocolate with lavender and honey ice cream.

He described his victory as “amazing” and said his late father – who motivated him to carry on cooking – would have thought his success was “unbelievable.”

Steve currently works at exclusive London restaurant Launceston Place, where colleagues described him as “a great guy.”

Meanwhile, Marianne Lumb, who narrowly missed out in a close-run final, (“It was almost impossible to pick a winner,” admitted Michel Roux Jnr), is also being tipped for great things.

The 34-year-old is a private chef, with politicians and rock stars including David Cameron and Elton John among her clients.

She has already written her first cookbook, Kitchen Knife Skills, and been offered TV work.