A BASILDON accountant has his sights firmly set on being crowned MasterChef champion ahead of appearing in a semi-final tonight.

Anurag Aggarwal, 41, will take centre stage on the BBC show tonight as he looks to wow judges with his impressive creations.

He was born and brought up in Gurgaon, India - before moving to the UK 13 years ago then settling in Basildon - and takes inspiration from his upbringing in the country.

He said: “The show’s been the best experience of my life and I am so excited to be in the semi finals.

“The first time I cooked for the judges I was so nervous.

“I’ve watched the show for a long time and it’s a huge deal and show.

“They were so complimentary and I was waiting for a but or however.

“It was such a pleasant surprise. It’s very exciting to reach this stage and I feel very lucky to get to this level.

“I feel it’s a big priviledge and it’s a huge buzz.”

“I love numbers and cannot live without an Excel spreadsheet, but I come alive in the kitchen.

“I want to keep working in the food and hospitality industry and the dream is to open a chain of restaurants.”

The final is due to air on Thursday, June 1. 

The series sees cooks work to impress judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode.

Mr Aggarwal now lives in Basildon with his wife and two young boys.

He added: “My ultimate food dream is to open a fine dining Indian restaurant.

However, for the time being, I want to learn and share my love of food, through a cook book, cooking and talking about my passion.

“Based on my own professional/personal journey so far, I feel very optimistic that if somebody really wants to do something they first need to believe in it and just take the first steps then somehow everything else falls in place like magic.

“”My style of cooking is a fusion of Indian flavours with a modern presentation.

I like to stick to my Indian roots; therefore, my food is always very vibrant, contains different textures, and is full of authentic flavours. I take a lot of inspiration in cooking from my late mom and mother nature itself. Which provides us everything, we just need to present it.”