IN 2018, Kenny Tutt was working as a bank manager and dreamed of one day having his own restaurant.

Three years on, he now has four different food ventures on the go, after he triumphed on BBC One's popular cooking competition show MasterChef.

Then 36, Kenny had been working at Santander in Brighton for eight years, but aspired to explore his creativity through cooking and become a successful chef.

At the time, he said being crowned the winner was "up there with the happiest days of my life".

Reflecting on his cooking career since, Kenny said: "Winning MasterChef in 2018 seems like an age ago as so much has happened in that time.

"The whole experience set me up for a career in food in so many ways, but I still had so much to learn, and continue to learn every day, even though we’re about to open two more restaurants.

"Together with my wife Lucy, we opened our first restaurant, Pitch in 2019, and we haven’t looked back.

The Argus: Kenny TuttKenny Tutt

"It was a huge leap from my day job as a bank manager in Brighton, but I was also able to bring a lot of business experience to the process of opening a restaurant, which of course isn’t just about creating fantastic plates of food.

"There’s also been food festivals across the country, working with wonderful food and drink producers and restaurant collaborations amongst many other amazing experiences that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t entered the competition."

Kenny’s winning 2018 MasterChef menu started with roast scallops, smoked cauliflower, shimeji mushroom and pancetta.

His main course was a squab pigeon breast and bon-bon, heritage beetroot, baby turnip, spiced cherries, bread sauce and game jus, and he finished the meal with a bitter chocolate, ale ice-cream, malt tuile and smoked caramel.

Judge John Torode said the talented cook from Worthing had "poured his heart" into his dishes.

He said: "I think Kenny’s journey has been extraordinary.

"He has come a long way. His food has got more and more refined and his main course was make-my-heart-thump fantastic. He nailed it."

The Argus: Kenny has been running Tutt's Truck during lockdownKenny has been running Tutt's Truck during lockdown

Kenny opened his first restaurant Pitch in Worthing in 2019, featuring a menu of modern British dishes with Sussex grown produce at its heart.

He has been keeping busy during lockdown running his street food van, Tutt's Truck, and preparing to open his first Brighton venue – a smoking robata grill kitchen inside the city's first food hall, Shelter Hall.

Ox Block is scheduled to open for outdoor dining on Monday, April 26, with indoor dining from May 17.

The kitchen will offer seasonal meats including steak sandwiches and kebabs, and breakfast baps.

And later this year, Kenny will open another restaurant on Worthing seafront.

Once built, Bayside Social in Beach Parade will be open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch as well as for cocktails, takeaways and private dining.

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Kenny said he was excited to be working on these new projects, which offer a more laid back, sociable dining experience - saying he "likes a good kebab as much as the next man".

The final of this year's MasterChef series airs tonight, after being postponed on Friday following Prince Philip's death.

Amateur chefs Tom Rhodes from Newcastle, Alexina Anatole from South London and Mike Tomkins from Guildford in Surrey will battle it out to be crowned winner of the 17th series.

Kenny said: "I’m so excited for the three finalists, and can’t wait to see what they get up to next.”

Catch the final at 8pm on BBC One.