McClurkin, who is head chef at the Dog at Wingham pub, Kent, was eliminated during Sunday 3 Decembers quarter finals following a challenge to cook a dish which celebrated different types of cheese.
However, judges Marcus Wareing, Greg Wallace, and Monica Galetti deemed McClurkin’s Parmesan, Emmental and Gruyere risotto not flavourful or cheesy enough to make it through the semi-finals.
Lost out to good people
McClurkin said: “On the day of elimination, which was back in June, I felt really, really deflated and I was really unhappy, but after a couple of weeks of analysing it, I realised it was okay.
“I'm happy, I've done myself proud and I lost out to good people; everyone who went through in front of me, it was all justifiable, they cooked amazing food.
“The only thing I would have done differently is put more cheese in my risotto, it's as simple as that.
“My girlfriend said to me, ‘why didn’t you just put a little bit of blue cheese on top of the risotto?’ It seems so simple now thinking back, but you just don't think straight when you're in that sort of pressured environment.”
Despite the elimination, McClurkin stated he felt very lucky to have had the experience on MasterChef: The Professionals as it had been a fruitful, inspirational journey which had boosted his confidence as a chef.
McClurkin added: “I've learned a lot in terms of just opening my eyes to different recipes and different dishes.
“Daniel Marreiros did a really nice Muscat-glazed aubergine with feta cheese, which is something I've never seen before, that really inspired me to maybe make something for a vegetarian dish in the future.
“I want Daniel to win, he's a very good chef and he deserves it.”