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Talented chef Richard almost had the competition licked in top TV competition

Richard on the set of Masterchef
Richard on the set of Masterchef
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His grandparents owned and ran a successful ice cream business.

So when Richard Ellis appeared on the hit show Masterchef what else would he make?

Richard and his partner, Eliza, love to cook together.

Richard and his partner, Eliza, love to cook together.

And although the closely guarded secret recipe was never passed on to Richard by his grandparents, Jim and Mary Ellis, the cardamom ice cream he made for the judges was a hit.

And Richard was thrilled when judge Greg Wallace told him: "You have done your grandad proud."

Ellis's Fresh Dairy Ice Cream was produced at the dairy in Earby and sold predominantly in Earby, Kelbrook and Nelson.

And their ice cream van was a regular sight across the area for delighted children who would queue up for their treat which included Jim's raspberry sauce specially made to his recipe.

The Ellis ice cream van was a familiar sight around East Lancashire.

The Ellis ice cream van was a familiar sight around East Lancashire.

Richard said: "It was delicious and their ice cream and fresh cream was to die for."

Although now based in Spain, Richard (32) grew up in Burnley and is a former pupil of Worsthorne Primary School. He also attended St Wilfrid's High School in Blackburn where he was head boy in the sixth form.

He graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Masters in Structural Engineering and Architecture before taking time out for two years to travel around India and South America.

A former fitness instructor at Crow Wood Leisure in Burnley, Richard worked for a year in Grasmere before moving to Valencia in Spain to complete his part one internship in a Valencian architecture practice.

He then began tutoring maths and science at a British School and loved teaching so much he moved back to Manchester to complete a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics at The University of Manchester.

Richard also set up a business called La Cosecha, meaning the Harvest, selling organic extra virgin olive oil around the North West in the UK and also giving live cookery demonstrations at food festivals and farmers' markets.

When he moved back to Valencia to teach after a year Richard was promoted to Deputy Head of Mathematics, a post he held for two years before taking another year off to travel in a self-converted camper-van, starting in Italy.

A talented chef, Richard decided to enter Masterchef while back home in Burnley visiting family, including his parents, Jonathan and Carole Ellis and his grandparents, Norman and Marie Hartley who live in Colne.

Richard was shortlisted and then selected for the competition and in the heats he and the other contestants were presented with the market "invention" challenge.

Richard said: "I made clam and shrimp ravioli with an artichoke and white wine sauce then I added a controversial shaving of Parmesan at the end to Greg's dismay as he said 'fish and cheese do not go together.'

"I later thought of a lovely fish pie with cheesy mash!"

Richard made it through to the next round, cooking for the three finalists of 2010.

He whipped up a starter of Cep tortellini with sage pine nut and chanterelle butter sauce, a barbecue dish for mains consisting of sweetcorn puree, hanger steak, baked potato and charred baby gem lettuce with a homemade ranch dressing.

Judge John Torode praised the tortellini for being "a grind of pepper away from exceptional."

Although the steak had mixed reviews from the judges Richard made it through to the quarter finals where food critic William Sitwell challenged the contestants to make a dessert with either spice or booze.

Richard said: "I went for spice, cardamom and saffron mainly.

"However I was knocked out due to a lack of both a watch and the '30 minute' call - thereby having only 12 minutes to cook a cardamom, orange and pistachio tart, which needed 25 minutes.

"So I upped the oven temperature and had to serve a tart that was burnt on the outside and raw on the inside.

"So I left after that round and therefore didn't make the knockouts, which was disappointing as that is when all the interesting challenges begin."

Richard is now back in Spain with his Polish girlfriend, Eliza Parchanska, who he met while living in Valencia.

He said: "She is crazy about food and an amazing cook.

"She's visited England twice now and loves our full English Breakfasts, Yorkshire Puddings and scones with clotted cream!

"We basically spend all our time together cooking or talking about food! She is currently completing an internship in a restaurant in Valencia then she'll join me in Madrid."

Richard has just begun a new teaching post at the British Council School in Madrid which he loves.

But he hasn't stopped cooking and one day dreams of opening his own restaurant.

If you would like to get in touch with Richard you can contact him on social media at instagram.com/mrcaramundo

and twitter.com/richardmc2018.