Claire Lara wins Masterchef: The Professionals 2010

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Thumbnail image for Michel Rounx and Gregg WallaceLiverpool chef Claire Lara has been named the winner of the BBC's Masterchef: The Professionals 2010.

30-year-old Lara, who is the first woman to win the title, was crowned the winner after a gruelling final under the watchful eyes of judges Michel Roux Jr and Gregg Wallace in which she beat fellow competitors David Coulson and John Calton.

The judges praised Lara for her brilliance and consistency throughout the competition. "Claire has an immense amount of talent. Her cooking skills are a revelation," said Roux. "We started this competition looking for a talent and we have uncovered a diamond. She has that exceptional talent that will take her to stardom."

A speechless Lara said: "I am so happy. I thought everyone was pretty good. This is brilliant."

The final of Masterchef: The Professionals comprised a series of tasks, which included a patisserie challenge judged by acclaimed French patissier Pierre Hermé as well as a service at René Redzepi's Noma in Copenhagen, which was this year named the best restaurant in the world.

Another challenge saw the contestants create a three-course menu at a dinner held at London's Pearl restaurant for some of the UK's most acclaimed chefs with more than 40 Michelin stars between them. They included Pierre Koffmann, Alain Roux, Michael Caines, Brett Graham and Phil Howard.

The Masterchef: The Professionals final culminated in a cook off during which the chefs each created a three course meal.

Lara's winning menu comprised a starter of crispy skinned sea trout with apple purée and caper and cider beurre blanc; followed by a main course of roasted boneless pigeon on mashed potato and peas and pancetta with quince jelly and a red wine sauce. Her dessert comprised raspberry and white chocolate millefeuille with lemon thyme discs and raspberries.

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