VICTORY yet again in the MasterChef: The Professionals kitchen for Arnaud Kaziewicz, head of food development at Donatantonio in Borehamwood as he makes it through to Finals Week in the premier culinary competition.

Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing was brimful of praise for his Moroccan influenced main course of pigeon: "Your main course has a beautiful refinement to it. I think that dish is absolutely knockout. I love the flavour, I love the cooking, I love the decoration. For me this is probably the best dish that you've cooked in this competition", and Monica Galetti was equally impressed.

As busy as he is in the kitchen with the competition reaching boiling point, Arnaud has much to celebrate at home in Chalkwell, Essex as he turns 40 today (December 20) and his baby boy Rémi was born just two days ago.

As a MasterChef: The Professionals finalist, Arnaud is at the top of his game. He likes a challenge. He's cooked for up to 400 people in a French bistro in San Francisco, but admits there is always a learning curve with cuisine.

He says: "On the show I haven’t had any real disasters (yet) but in the skills test I lost my concentration and forgot the basics. In my career I have had a few challenges. I remember the first head chef job I took on, I just didn't have the relevant experience and my menu really could have been better. I had sardines wrapped in vine leaves stuffed with pork mince, which I thought was nice but it was awful and customers sent it back pretty much all the time."

At Alyn Williams’ The Westbury last week Arnaud's confidence certainly took a dip.

"It wasn't so much the service by itself that was challenging but the pressure coming from the chef's high expectation," says Arnaud. "Anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself and on that day I wasn't sure if I was good enough – and it showed.

"I've learned that it is essential not too try and do too much, keep it simple and work hard at it. Cook what you believe in, don't worry too much about trying to be a famous chef. Buy a frying pan, go to the market and buy seasonal ingredients, get cooking.

"On the show we try and help each other as much as possible and just keep in mind that everyone is in the same boat."

Arnaud and the remaining three other chefs will battle it out this week at The Chef’s Table where they will cook for culinary heavyweights including Michelin-starred chefs Michael Caines MBE, Sat Baines, Nieves Barragan Mohacho, Simon Rogan, Jonny Lake and Claude Bosi – as well as previous finalists and winners including Anton Piotrowski, who went on to achieve a Michelin star.

Each finalist is in charge of one of the menu’s four courses – starter, fish, main and dessert. Over five tense hours, under the close scrutiny of Marcus and Monica, the chefs have to take their food to a whole new level by executing 30 plates in the most terrifying service they have ever faced. If the finalists want to show that they have the talent to be a culinary star of the future, they have to deliver faultless dishes to both excite and impress the most discerning diners in the country.

After all that excitement Arnaud will be settling down to not one but two Christmas dinners with his new baby and family. Arnaud's comfort foods are pork chops and "a good apple crumble", and at this time of year there are lots of treats on the menu.

"On the 24th we would have the Christmas meal but we also celebrate it on the 25th, so we are lucky we get two big Christmas dinners.

"People in France don't really eat turkey. Traditionally you would eat capon and a lot of seafood, oysters, langoustines, smoked salmon. At home we would start the Christmas dinner at 2pm and eat through the day and chat.

"I love plum puddings but the plums would have to be damsons and roasted in muscovado sugar and orange juice...yum!"

MasterChef: The Professionals – The Final Week, starts tonight Tuesday, December 20, continues Wednesday, December 21 and concludes Thursday, December 22, 8pm on BBC Two