Renowned chef Michel Roux Jr returns to judge more chefs on MasterChef: The Professionals (BBC2, Monday-Thursday) – and he’s got very high standards!

Do you expect a lot from the contestants on this series as they are already working as professional chefs?
“Because they are professionals, our expectations are always very high and this year they have been surpassed. I only judge The Professionals, but I’d say the main difference between the pros and the amateurs is the skill involved. It’s less about creating foams and jellies and more about the basic skills chefs have.”

During the first four weeks of heats, the contestants face two tasks set by your Sous Chef Monica Galetti. Why do you trust her judgement?
“Monica, with the help of MasterChef’s Gregg Wallace, won’t put anybody through who shows her in a bad light. If the contestants get past the first two hurdles, The Invention Test and Skills Test, they will cook for me. Like all professions, there are great chefs, good chefs and a lot of bad chefs – this show highlights that by putting them under real pressure. It really is a fierce competition.”

How do you decide which contestants progress to the later rounds of the six-week contest?
“Gregg and I will have heated discussions and I will have to balance what I can see on the plate with the potential I can see in the chef. Presentation is important, but taste is key. What’s the point of having a beautiful piece of art if it tastes of nothing?”

Are you confident you can spot real talent?
“I can spot a talented chef very quickly – there are four or five in this competition who I instantly thought could do very well in this industry. Every chef I have worked for since the age of 16 has been an inspiration to me and in 20 years’ time, I want these young chefs to say: ‘I worked for Michel and he was an inspiration!'”

Are you pleased your daughter Emily, 20, has chosen to follow in your footsteps and become a chef?
“I am very proud, but I don’t tell her that. It’s lovely, but when I see her with no fingernails and dark rings around her eyes I think: ‘What have I done to my poor little girl?’ Emily and I have cooked together, but she’s a bit bossy – I wonder where she gets that from?”