DIPPING in and out of MasterChef: The Professionals on TV last week, chef contestant Susan was criticised for the dish of hake and crab beignets she created.

Gregg Wallace reckoned she “packed it full of baby leaks and asparagus” and Marcus Wareing “would leave two thirds of the garnish”. There was some colourful salad on the plate in addition to four small leeks and five asparagus spears. Another participant didn’t provide enough lamb.

It really makes the task of parents, dieticians, practice nurses and GPs that much more difficult when a splendid plate of food, well balanced by having three helpings of vegetables and tasting good is described so negatively.

I do understand that, at high-class restaurants with three or four courses on the menu, diners becoming full early is not part of the plan. But TV chefs can and should provide healthy comment and example; otherwise, more diets leading to obesity result.

Like many, I enjoy eating out occasionally (Indian and Italian cuisine, of course). Who of us orders a side dish of vegetables to complement our curry and rice or our pasta dish?

Likewise, we tend not to prepare vegetables to go with those dishes at home. We don’t need big helpings of meat or carbohydrates but we do need plenty of vegetables.

Junk food has correctly been criticised for its high content of fat and calories. The young aspiring chefs occupy the other end of the cooking spectrum but can help to promote a healthier approach and prominent chefs on television even more so.

Dr Philip Gaskell,

Woodlands Lodge,

Buchanan Castle Estate,