Plymouth Masterchef winner Anton's phone is red hot after TV victory
Masterchef winner Anton Piotrowski yesterday said his Westcountry pub had received more than 500 inquiries in three days – from as far afield as Scotland and Switzerland.
The Treby Arms in Sparkwell, near Plymouth, has been bombarded with emails and phone calls since 30-year-old Anton was declared joint winner of the title with Keri Moss on Thursday night.
Staff are sorting through 475 messages on the computer and dozens more left on the phone. Anton said: "It has gone through the roof. We are just getting busier and busier. We are pretty well booked up through January and most of February. The phone is ringing off the hook."
Among the bookings are Masterchef judges Michel Roux Jr, who has two Michelin stars, and Monica Galetti. They are coming down with their families in the summer.
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Anton has done a whirlwind of interviews in London and Manchester since winning the competition.
The former Ivybridge Community College pupil said: "I am tired but I don't really know what sleep feels like." He came back to Sparkwell from Manchester on Saturday night and was straight back into service.
Anton and his wife Clare, who took on the pub 18 months ago, have just expanded The Treby Arms from 35 to 80 covers. He added: "Taking on a pub is a massive risk in this industry but we managed to turn a profit in our first year even before Masterchef came along.
"In the future we may expand in London but we want to get this place running like a well-oiled machine first." Anton said that despite the prestige of the competition, he wanted to keep the feel of The Treby Arms down-to-earth. A couple of tables are usually kept free for walk-in diners.
He added: "Most people don't want 20 people serving them and touching their plates. They want to go somewhere they can wear jeans and bring the dog. This is a relaxed place.
"This competition is a good thing for Plymouth. With Gary Rhodes coming and River Cottage here, it is a good scene in the city."
Anton was crowned joint winner of MasterChef: The Professionals in front of a TV audience of millions with London chef Keri. His dessert alone in the final cook-off boasted an incredible 17 different elements.
He cut short his honeymoon with Clare, the pub's landlady, from six weeks to just eight days to take part in the competition. Anton said: "Instead of two weeks in New York and four in Mexico, we had two days in New York and four days in Mexico. I made it up to her by winning, but I still owe her a holiday."
Cooking is in Anton's family – his mother used to work at St Elizabeth's in Plympton when it was a nunnery. Proud parents Sandra and Tony still live in Plympton.
Anton admitted he was a "little bit of a rebel" at school and would rather go surfing if the waves were good. But he started washing dishes at the age of 14 and has since worked in London, the Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth and the Rose and Crown in Yealmpton.
He suffered an enormous blow when he lost his brother Shaun to muscular dystrophy in his teens. Anton said his other brother Stefan, 39, a soldier with the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars was "one of his biggest influences".