A SRI LANKAN chef, who has been giving Pembrokeshire diners a taste of his creative cuisine this year, is creating a stir on MasterChef:The Professionals

Malin De Silva, who lives in Narberth, won through to appear in tv’s BAFTA-winning culinary contest ahead of thousands of other professional chefs, and has now made it through the quarter final to the final 12.

Malin, 37, who has worked this year at the Stackpole Inn and PlumVanilla, Narberth, will be back on screen on Tuesday December 3 for the challenge of Knockout Week.

“It’s been an amazing experience so far, although really tough,” he told the Western Telegraph this week. “It’s been a privilege to be in the competition and to listen to what the judges say, because they are the people we really look up to. It’s really changed my life.”

Cooking has always been second nature to Malin, and growing up in Sri Lanka he loved spending time in the kitchen with his mother.

“My mum always wanted me to go to catering college, but I was more interested in the family jewellery business,” he said.

He studied jewellery manufacture and production at Glasgow University, returning to his homeland to work in the business for a while alongside his girlfriend Katie, who he had met when she went to Sri Lanka as an aid worker after the tsunami of 2004.

The couple – who are now married with two children – came to the UK and settled in Katie’s home town of Southport where Malin began his career as a chef.

After three months in Nando’s, he landed a job at the two AA Rosette The Warehouse in Southport, moving on to Michelin-starred establishments The Latymer in Surrey and Fraiche at Oxton on the Wirral.

“Throughout this time, I learnt British, French and Italian cuisine with some of the UK’s top chefs, although my heart is still in Sri Lankan cuisine as that is what I grew up with,” said Malin.

Meanwhile, Malin, Katie, seven-year-old Maya and five-year-old Kai are loving life in Narberth, where they came to live at the end of last year.

“It’s an amazing place for kids to grow up,” he said. “Maya loves cooking and foraging for mushrooms with me.

“I’ve taken some time off to practice for the competition and enjoy my family, but hopefully I’ll be embarking on a new venture from January, which is very exciting.”

MasterChef: The Professionals, Tuesday to Thursday, 8pm, BBC2.