EXCITEMENT was mounting at a Kirkby Lonsdale hotel this week as millions of television viewers watched the establishment's head chef make it through to the semi finals of a hit BBC show.

Oli Martin of the Hipping Hall Hotel was this week competing in the knockout phase of ‘Masterchef: The Professionals,’ which pits leading chefs against each other as they create top quality dishes in the hope of impressing three uncompromising judges.

Oli, 30, who is originally from Lytham, joined the Kirkby Lonsdale hotel in 2013 after previously being employed at several top UK restaurants and also working in France and Australia.

He became head chef at Hipping Hall in 2014 at the age of just 26, and since then has built up his reputation while regularly specialising in dishes which feature local produce.

Oli's efforts in 'Masterchef: The Professionals' have been followed closely by everyone at Hipping Hall who have been willing their colleague on as he has progressed to the final 10 from an original field of 48.

And he has now made it through to the semi finals after surviving the second knockout episode which was screened on BBC2 last night (Wednesday, December 5).

"Competition is really addictive and once you've had a taste you just want more and more," Oli told the viewers as he was introduced before the chefs were given their next challenge on last night's show.

As the programme's compere noted that he placed great emphasis on sourcing local ingredients for his culinary creations, he joined four other chefs on last night's programme for a team challenge which saw the group cook for a group of VIPs at the London HQ of the maritime charity Trinity House. 

Oli prepared the ciabatta which accompanied the starter then shared duties with another chef to produce a main course of hake with gnocchi, which went down very well with the VIPs.

The second part of the programme was an individual challenge with Oli coming up with a Dexter Beef Fillet dish with various accompaniments including mushrooms and wild garlic.  

And it was a enough to convince the judges that he deserved to go through, and he will now compete in the semi-finals which are screened on BBC2 next week.