Keelan Burton, who starred on MasterChef: The Professionals, spared jailed after caught drug-driving

A former MasterChef star has been spared jail time after he was caught driving under the influence of his Mercedes and carrying just under a quarter kilogram of cannabis.

Top chef Keelan Burton, who appeared as a contestant on BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals in 2018, appeared today at Nottingham Crown Court where he was convicted of possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

The 28-year-old from Cinderhill, in Nottingham, pleaded guilty to the charges after police saw him drive away from their unmarked car on 9 May 2020.

He was later apprehended by an officer who found another man in the back of Burton’s car and a woman in the front passenger seat that had a strong smell of cannabis in the vehicle.

Former MasterChef star Keelan Burton, 28, pictured outside Nottingham Crown Court today. Burton was spared after he was caught driving under the influence of just under a quarter of a kilogram of cannabis. He pleaded guilty to the charges of possessing cannabis with intent to supply

Prosecutor Catherine Picardo said: ‘According to the police, the two passengers behaved suspiciously as if they were trying to hide something.

“The defendant suggested at the time that drugs had nothing to do with him, but in fact with the male passenger in the back.”

Burton then tested positive for drugs before being fined and banned from driving.

In the trunk of the car was a plastic bag of cannabis worth £2,486. Fingerprints from Burton’s left palm were found on the bag.

He was arrested and charged. He pleaded guilty in court today, where he received an eight-month jail term, 18-month suspended suspension and a £500 cost order.

Speaking out of court today, the MasterChef said the incident was “a reality check.”

Speaking out of court today, the professional chef said the incident was “a reality check.” He added that his drug use started after breaking up with the mother of his two children and losing his job when the pandemic started in 2020.

He told Nottingham Live that he experienced problems in his personal life in late 2019 after breaking up with the mother of his two children.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, he was subsequently unemployed, despite working in some of the best restaurants in the country. It was when his drug use started.

He said, “Then it all started to get a little pear-shaped. Drugs make you feel good, but they also ruin your life.

“In this business they ask for everything, take everything and give you nothing.”

When the chief’s award-winning phone was later analyzed by officers, it found reports of people seeking to purchase and supply the drug.

Officers also found on the phone requests for a type of cannabis called “lemon” and also “purple buds.”

Another post showed a person asking for more details on how to receive a revolving supply.

Ms Picardo added: ‘The user of the phone, the defendant, is offering an ounce for £165,’ Ms Picardo added.

“There was also an orange strain of weed on offer, which would cost a little more at £170.

“But in short, those were messages that were all strong evidence to support the delivery of this class B drug.”

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Burton starred in BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals in 2018. He is now a shareholder and head chef at two popular restaurants, Sans Patrie and Ottimo, in Nottingham

No further action was taken against the occupants of the car and the defendant said he had bought a small amount of drugs from one person.

However, in a second police questioning, he answered largely ‘no comment’ before pleading guilty to the Nottingham Magistrates Court on the first occasion.

Burton has a previous drink-driving conviction – a charge related to the same incident – and a previous warning for possession of a Class A drug, which has not been specified in court.

Judge Mark Watson ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the cannabis bag and telephone.

Benn Robinson, softening, said it was clear from Burton’s record “he’s not one to make a habit of crossing the line” before adding that the chief was doing well in a relationship.

He added: “He worked as a chef and this took him all over the country, and he tells me he was an award-winning chef.”

Nottingham Crown Court (pictured) heard today that it was clear from Burton’s records that ‘he’s not one to cross the line’ before adding that the chief was doing well in a new relationship

At the end of 2019, Burton’s relationship broke down, which, according to Mr Robinson, appeared to be the “catalyst” for some difficulties and other things beyond his control.

He struggled with access to his children, while at the same time coming into contact with a group of peers who were not “necessarily helpful” to him, Mr Robinson added. He used cannabis to ‘grab the edge of those events’.

His paid work stopped and the pandemic hit.

Robinson said, “He lost his job because no one was forced to eat out.”

Cannabis isn’t free, he stressed, and his client had his addiction, so he sold cannabis to fund this and “keep the wolf at bay.”

He referred to Burton’s work as a shareholder and head chef at two restaurants in Nottingham, and how his client works 17 hours a day at both eateries – one in Beeston and one in Canning Circus.

Far from his cannabis-using days, Burton now leads a team of 50, working between Canning Circus’ Sans Patrie and Bar Sans Patrie, and Beeston’s new Italian restaurant Ottimo, which recently opened as part of the city’s multi-million dollar Beeston Square development. .

On weekends, he takes care of his two children and has no free time, the court was told.

“He had had fears that this procedure had been hanging over his head all along,” added Mr Robinson.

Judge Watson told Burton he was a street dealer “albeit in larger quantities than single deals.”

The judge suspended the prison sentence, given the age of the offense now. The case has been delayed by two years, which was not Burton’s fault.

The judge said, “In the two years that have passed, you have moved on with associates who dragged you into this criminal enterprise and made yourself a success.”

He told Nottingham Live that the company is now raising more than £150,000 a month.

He added: ‘Life is very good for me.

‘I’m so sorry. I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry, because it was a learning curve and it forced me to do better. I shouldn’t be here.’


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