MasterChef: The Professionals hopeful Stu Deeley said there was an “overwhelming feeling of glory” as he made it through to the final three in the competition.
Deeley has made it to the last three on the BBC show alongside Olivia Burt and Exose Grant Lopo-Ndinga.
The finalists were revealed on Wednesday night.
Forty-eight chefs have been whittled down to the final four by judges Gregg Wallace, Monica Galetti and Marcus Wareing, across six weeks of culinary challenges.
“Making the final three was so unexpected,” said Deeley, who is head chef of a fine-dining restaurant in Birmingham.
“I sometimes struggle with self-belief and I guess I didn’t believe it could happen. But it’s an overwhelming feeling of glory.
“I can tell my little boy how far I got in such a highly-regarded competition.”
Discussing what she would like to change in the cooking world, Burt said she would like to “help inspire more women to join this incredible growing industry and help them on their journey through a tough working environment”.
The cook – a sous chef in the restaurant of a five-star Mayfair hotel – said: “It is not always an easy journey for a woman to work their way up in a male-dominated kitchen.
“But it is the most rewarding and exciting journey.
“I can’t wait to share mine with so many more inspirational women and help them on their route to unlimited success.”
Grant Lopo-Ndinga said he would not have believed it if someone had told him he would make it to the final three.
“I am absolutely over the moon making it this far,” he said.
“I have worked so hard and pushed myself with dishes I didn’t think I could do in time, but thankfully it has paid off.
“I still feel like this is a dream and I’m pinching myself to make sure it’s real. It still hasn’t sunk in.”
The pastry chef said he would love to improve working conditions in the industry.
“It is a really tough industry and I have seen a lot of my friends crumble and quit,” he said.
“It is a shame because they have skill and potential to do well but it is the long hours and stress that puts them down.
“I would love for all chefs to enjoy what they’re doing and be enthusiastic about their career. It should be about getting up in the morning to love and learn through the experience, rather than just the pay cheque.”
MasterChef: The Professionals, The Finals concludes on Thursday December 19 at 8pm on BBC Two.