Everything you need to know about MasterChef: The Professionals 2020

From skills tests to cooking up a storm in Michelin kitchens across the UK, the contestants are in for a real challenge this year

Updated on 17 December 2020 • Written By Rosie Conroy

Everything you need to know about MasterChef: The Professionals 2020

You know what they say, when one door closes another one opens; and the same can be said of MasterChef. With Celebrity MasterChef having finished, MasterChef: The Professionals is gracing our television screens once more to see us through the dark winter months.

The hit programme, which is in its 13th year, follows a similar format to previous series with a group of professional chefs faced with various challenges. Managing success in the various culinary tasks helps one champion to win the coveted crown (not to mention the kudos the award brings). Previous MasterChef: The Professionals winners include Steve Groves who was crowned National Chef of the Year in 2019 and is the head chef for Roux at Parliament Square, and Laurence Henry who won the 2018 competition. Henry came to the challenge with a wealth of existing experience, having worked as a sous chef for top British chef Sat Bains who holds two Michelin Stars, and now plans to open his own venture in Nottingham.

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This year you might notice that the format has had to be updated due to Coronavirus. In the first episode this meant fewer contestants and tweaks on the usual formats for the varying rounds. We’re intrigued to see whether the chefs will be cooking in restaurants as usual, or whether filming during various restrictions will have meant the production team will have had to get inventive with different isolated challenges.

While we get to know this year’s cohort of hopefuls, we’re also taking the time to look back at some of our favourite previous contestants. If you’d like to reminisce with us then you can find details on where they are now at the bottom of the page.

Back in 2020 and the team behind the hit show are famously secretive about contestants and specific tasks about the programme, but here's everything we know so far.

When is MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 on?

This series of MasterChef: The Professionals began on the 10th November, and is billed to run every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for 18 episodes at 9pm on BB1 following the start point. MasterChef: The Professionals usually runs for six weeks. The final typically falls around mid December.

What's new on MasterChef: The Professionals 2020?

Thanks to the presence of Coronavirus during filming, you'll notice a few differences in the format of MasterChef: The Professionals this year. During the skills tests, for instance, only one chef and Gregg remain in the kitchen to observe, while the other chef retreats to a different room to watch the contestant via TV link. There are also fewer chefs in each round, to allow for better social distancing. In round one this meant just four chefs competed against each other.  

Who are the MasterChef: The Professionals contestants 2020?

As the prominence of the show increases year on year, we expect big things from this year’s applicants. There is a real mix of levels competing on MasterChef: The Professionals 2020, and each week we'll learn a little more about each chef's culinary backgrounds and where they come from. MasterChef used to list where each contestant was from, but recently have only given viewers the chefs' names. 

The line-up of 32 chefs ranges vastly in skills and backgrounds, from development chefs to armed force caterers. 

Week one contestants

Philli Armitage-Mattin

In the first episode development chef Philli Armitage-Mattin impressed with her sound pasta knowledge as well as her unusual Asian flavours in an opening dish of Japanese okonomiyaki with a Korean-inspired dressing and a barbecued red prawn, plus a grapefruit and white chocolate cheesecake. Philli runs Nutshell Food consultancy as well as tutoring chefs and doing classes for keen cooks.
Competition status: Left

Sammy Hillen

At 25 Sammy is one of the younger contestants, but already has a number of awards under his belt having won Chef of the Year in 2019 as well as having been a finalist the year before. After a slightly shaky start, he came back fighting with a delicious looking duck dish and a chocolate and strawberry dessert.
Competition status: Left 

Andrew

Sadly Andrew seems to be a mysterious chap, with him being offline as far as we can tell (ie, no Instagram to stalk), so for now we’ll have to forego his surname. Andrew claimed to have a simple style in the first episode, although the judges wanted a little bit more from his plate when he served them roast chicken with pickled carrots and crispy skin.
Competition status: Left

Kuljit

With Punjab heritage, Kuljit explained to the judges that his love of good food came from his culture (as well as sneaking in that his granny used to have him beside her while she cooked, which she described as making ‘magic’). Kuljit’s attempt at the skills test wasn’t great as the chef did a bit of a botch job on a mackerel dish Marcus put to him to recreate, and while his plates were pretty the judges were left underwhelmed by his flavours in the second round.
Competition status: Left

Victor Okunowo

Nigerian born Victor now lives in London and works at modern West-African restaurant Talking Drum in the capital. Previous experience includes roles at celeb hangouts like The Wolseley and Chiltern Firehouse. Talking to The Staff Canteen, the 26-year-old chef has said that big name celebrities such as Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal have inspired him in his career. Victor’s first skills test blew the judges away, while Marcus labelled his following signature menu as ‘beautifully cooked’.
Competition status: Left

Harrison Brockington

Despite being just 22 years old, Harrison owns and runs his own restaurant Gather with some friends in Totnes. A self-professed lover of all things seasonal, Harrison revealed on the show that he often forages for ingredients and loves simple plates that showcase beautiful produce. While he impressed in the skills test to produce a sabayon fruit dessert, the chef’s nerves seem to get the better of him later on when he had to produce his own signature menu.
Competition status: Left

Michaela

Little is known about Michaela from MasterChef The Professionals, other than what was revealed on the show itself. The 38-year-old works in Harrogate as a private chef and cookery teacher, but since lockdown has experienced a drop off in her client base. As such she’s pivoted her business to provide ready-made meals to people isolating and living under various government restrictions. When asked to make sweetbreads with a red wine sauce in the first skills test Michaela underwhelmed, not cooking the meat properly. Failing to render down the fat on her lamb in her signature menu was another blot on her copy book.
Competition status: Left

Dave Wells

Dave has revealed to The Oxford Mail that he survived on 2-3 hours sleep a night while he was filming the competition because he was simultaneously practicing for his TV appearances while also running the Fat Frog restaurant. His first skills test of making a sabayon fruit dessert from scratch went well, with the chef producing two iterations of the dish in a MasterChef first, and he cooked a lamb dish and chocolate dessert in the next challenge which the judges all praised.
Competition status: Left

Week two contestants


Alex Webb

Making his debut in the second heats of MasterChef The Professionals, Alex is a 25-year-old head chef from Essex. Having been a chef since he was 14, Alex has a lot of experience and runs Square 1 in Dunmow. With a love of classic cookery, this young cook has previous experience at high-end restaurants such as The Savoy.
Competition status: Finalist

Hira Thakur

Nottingham-based Hira is a chef at the city’s cricket ground, catering for hospitality events. With a love of classic French cookery his passion is taking these traditional techniques and adding Asian flavours for modern fusion cooking.
Competition status: Left

Jono Hawthorne

Jono hails from Leeds, and in his initial intro shared with the audience that he has a love of foraged and fresh produce. His strength – he says – is his creativity, claiming that if anything goes wrong he has the skills to just go with it. Now a chef at Vice & Virtue in Leeds, previous experience includes time in both Australian and Danish kitchens, including working at world-renowned Noma.
Competition status: Left

Richard Synan

Richard is the head chef and owner of a riverside restaurant, Weaving Shed in Bradford on Avon. This MasterChef hopeful has a Michelin starred background, having trained in some of the country’s top kitchens. Not only is he a chef, he is also married to a pastry chef – with the duo having run their own kitchens for five years now.
Competition status: Left

Ash 

Ash has been a chef in the navy for some years now, catering for everything from mass-scale canteen food to intimate fine dining dinner parties. Ash says she loves modern techniques and is willing to put blood, sweat and tears into the competition. During the skills test Ash burnt her lamb which the judges wanted her to French trim, cook and serve with a mint pesto. In the next round Marcus claimed she had made a ‘fantastic come back’ and everyone agreed they loved her pud.
Competition status: Left

Jabari

Jabari currently works at The Jugged Hare, a modern British gastro pub in London. This chef is keep to add international ingredients to classic comfort food, for a real punch of favour. Because of lockdown Jabari explained that he has extra time to focus on trainig for the competition, and revelaed he had big hopes of one day telling Gordon Ramsay what to do. With a former stint as a rapper, Jabari’s dream is to one day open his own restaurant that serves high class Jamaican fusion food. His cooking split the judges, with a disappointing duck dish leading Marcus to complain of under seasoning and to say that he ‘didn’t like it at all’.
Competition status: Left

Santosh Shah

Santosh’s use of bold flavours and vivid colours have given him an edge in the competition, with the judges nearly unanimously praising his dishes. Originally from Nepal, Santosh trained in India for ten years before moving to London where he now works as the head chef for The Cinnamon Collection under Vivek Singh. Restaurants in the group include The Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Bazaar and Cinnamon Kitchen. Thirty-four-year-old Santosh impressed critics Grace Dent and Tom Parker Bowles with an octopus starter and lamb main dish served with Nepalese goat curry sauce.
Competition status: Finalist

Ross Burgess 

Fairly unusually, thirty year old Ross from Edinburgh works in a private care home, where he revealed he liked creating nostalgic dishes for the home’s residents. In his initial interview he claimed to want the intense competitive pressure that came with the competition but broke down in tears after his signature menu when the judges praised his cooking. In the skills test he performed well, filleting a whole plaice and serving a portion with a chicken butter sauce. Ross likes Scottish ingredients and Asian flavours.
Competition status: Left

Week three contestants

Guillaume Dunos

French chef Guillaume was faced with Monica’s skills test where he was asked to prepare smoked trout and celeriac rémoulade, after his efforts Marcus announced that the 26-year-old had had a ‘very, very good skills test’. With a love of big cities Guillaume worked in the Michelin kitchens of Paris for years before being drawn to the busyness of London. Claiming he was ‘born to be a chef’, Guillaume runs his own restaurant in Primrose Hill called La Ferme. Despite Monica liking his presentation in his signature round, Marcus had issues with the heavy doughnut on his dessert.
Competition status: Left

Burhan Ahmed

Twenty-three-year-old Burhan certainly doesn’t lack confidence, explaining in his first interview that he thinks he has ‘a real talent’ for cooking. During lockdown the plucky cook says he practiced a lot of pastry techniques, and his discipline paid off with Gregg praising his signature pud early on, saying he was ‘really into’ the chef’s ganache and salted caramel dessert. Burhan is currently a chef de partie at Drayton Manor Hotel.
Competition status: Left

Scott

Little is known about Scott, and he had a relatively short competition, being voted out after the initial two rounds. As a pastry Chef at central Manchester restaurant we thought we were onto a sure winner in Scott, but he sadly failed to impress with his sweet courses. Scott didn’t finish his own dessert of choux buns with miso caramel and presented Marcus with lumpy batter when tasked with making crepe suzette in the skills round.
Competition status: Left

Joe

During his initial interview Joe revealed that he’s particularly driven, working 17 hours a day, five days a week in his job as head chef of a modern British restaurant. At 24 Joe is one of the younger contestants and has no formal training but received a promotion into his current position just before starting out in the competition. During his first appearance on the show Joe impressed with his careful handling of the ingredients and his perfect seasoning for his rendition of Marcus’ skills test, where he was asked to make scallops with a marinated tomato salad. Despite the strong start Joe fared slightly less impressivly in later stages. 
Competition status: Left

Luke Rhodes

Declaring the competition as the scariest thing he’s ever done, Luke performed well in the initial skills test despite his nerves. With a new baby and a home renovation underway, Luke is certainly one busy chef. With a pastry chef wife, the keen cook has his fingers in lots of pies – if you’ll pardon the pun – working as a sous chef at Halifax Hall hotel in Sheffield plus running his own business called Luke Rhodes Smokehouse BBQ.
Competition status: Left

Jahdre Hayward

Forty nine year old Jadjar owns his own restaurant in Essex that proudly holds three rosettes. As a self-confessed nervous competitor, the chef didn’t overly impress when faced with Monica’s skills test of making kidneys on toast with a mustard cream sauce. After being voted out Jadre took the decision on the chin, saying he would take the judges’ critique and apply it to his work in his own restaurant, learning from the experience.
Competition status: Left

Aaron Thomas

Aaron is another chef who has a lot on his plate, working at a 2-rosette Indian restaurant in Buckinghamshire as well as running his own pop ups regularly. When asked to make kidneys in the skills test he impressed with a deliciously rich sauce, with the judges declaring that his dish was very tasty indeed.
Competition status: Left

Week four contestants

Otis Belgrave

Twenty-five-year-old sous chef Otis was first to face Marcus’ skills test challenge where he was asked to make a potato rosti. Sadly, Otis let the nerves get the better of him and put forward a plate of uncooked potatoes, which were slightly rescued by a creative addition of a fresh tomato salsa. Having spent most of his career working in pub kitchens Otis now cooks at the Cellar Club in Leamington Spa which serves tapas. The young chef says he thrives on feeling the pressure of being behind the pass, which he says makes him feel alive. While he admits that maybe he’s not the best, he says he’s entered MasterChef to improve and learn because ultimately, he just wants to get better.
Competition status: Left

Carla Glamont

Next up was Canadian born Carla who has been a chef for 36 years and now runs a seafood restaurant called Ninth Wave on the remote Scottish island of Mull. Carla gets a buzz from foraging for her own ingredients around the island – naming some of her favourite things to cook with as being scallops, lobster and octopus. With no formal training Carla has learned on the job, having worked in restaurants her entire life. Her strong points – she says – are having learned from “the school of experience” and being good at “flying by the seat of her pants”. In her 20-minute skills test challenge Carla slightly burnt her rosti and admitted that perhaps it wasn’t the best representation of her cooking skills. Carla’s skills aren’t confined to the kitchen either, with the outgoing cook also having a profile online which highlights her as an actor, extra, model and TV presenter.
Competition status: Left

Reece Elliott

Twenty-two-year-old Reece is a junior sous chef at a boutique hotel in Derbyshire, called The Cavendish Hotel. With a self-confessed passion for the kitchen and all the chaos it brings he reveals on the show that he often works long shifts before going home to practice his dishes more in his own kitchen. His desire for being in the competition was to prove to people that they shouldn’t stay in their comfort zone. Reece’s first test – the renowned skills test – was to make tempura mussels with an aioli. Although the judges like that he added lemon and herbs to his batter mix, he forgot to dry off the mussels result in soggy morsels.
Competition status: Left

Bart Van Der Lee

Netherlands born Bart has travelled the world as a private chef and currently works for a family in Chelsea. One of the things he loves most about his position is being allowed to create something new every day, and then subsequently getting great feedback from people who are used to eating out all over the world at globally renowned restaurants. For Bart he says MasterChef is an opportunity to do something he hasn’t done before and is part of a passion to reach a new level of cooking.
Competition status: Finalist

Jamaar Semper

Twenty-one-year-old Jamal was the first in his group to face Monica’s skills test where she asked the chefs to fillet and cook John Dory and serve the fish with a parsley puree. Winning high praise from Marcus the judge told Jamaar he loved watching him cook, hailing It a fantastic start to the competition. Jamaar works as a junior sous chef at a Michelin starred fine dining restaurant, Lucknam Park in Wiltshire. In his initial interview he reveals that he’s ambitious and wants to get perfection every time.
Competition status: Left

Dalila

Thirty-Seven-Year-Old Dalila is a head chef at a country pub in Buckinghamshire and is used to serving 400 covers a day. Having grown up in Sardinia near the sea Dalila has a love of fish, although her skills test centred around John Dory wasn’t strong. The chef’s filleting was described as shaky, while Gregg complained his piece was under seasoned.
Competition status: Left

Paul Hood

Thirty-three-year-old Paul is an executive development chef based in Edinburgh who works for a large events company and runs the kitchens for large gatherings such as Ascot and the Queen’s garden parties. With 45 chefs working under him at any given time, Paul is used to a fast-paced pressurised environment. Labelling himself as highly ambitious he thinks his versatile personality will get him through the competition. After his skills test he revealed he would have done things a little differently in hindsight, but Marcus said it “wasn’t a bad” attempt at making his poached figs with honeycomb and cream.
Competition status: Left

Harry

Senior sous chef Harry was the very last chef through the doors to compete in the heats. Harry currently works at a three-rosette country house hotel in Wales and started out cheffing by getting a Saturday job for a bit of extra money. What started out as a casual way to generate cash ended up becoming a vocation, with Harry saying he fell in love with cooking. In his first interview Harry reveals he’s hoping adrenaline will get him through. In the skills test he was told he had slight methodical issues but that his flavours were good.
Competition status: Left

Who are the judges on MasterChef: The Professionals 2020?

The Judges on MasterChef: The Professionals 2019 are the same as previous years. Michelin Star chef Marcus Wareing holds court with high-end chef Monica Galetti, who runs Mere in London, while Gregg Wallace is on hand to offer an outsider’s perspective on the cooking. So what are they looking for in their champion? 

Monica Galetti says: “This series is going to be fierce. The chefs are going to have to pull out all the stops and keep us on our toes. I cannot wait to discover who is going to emerge on top.”

While Marcus Wareing comments: “I want bold, I want brilliant and I want beautifully-cooked food. That’s what will get my attention and really help a chef stand out.”

Not much then... 

Who are the Critics on MasterChef: The Professionals?

Each year a line up of the country’s top-end food critics judge some of the rounds of MasterChef: The Professionals. This year will likely see the same line-up as before, with William Sitwell, Grace Dent, Jimi Famurewa, Tom Parker Bowles, Tracey MacLeod, Amol Rajan and Jay Rayner possibly entering the MasterChef kitchen to judge the contestant’s food at various stages.

What are the challenges on MasterChef: The Professionals?

The challenges on MasterChef: The Professionals differ slightly from the regular series, with more complex tasks given to contestants, as might be expected. From having to come up with high-end dining concepts on the spot to stripping techniques back and making a meal without any fancy cheffy equipment, the cooks are really put through their paces. Below are details on the most common challenges, so you know what to expect from MasterChef: The Professionals this year.

Skills test: For many this is the most stressful round to watch as chefs are given a classic dish or technique to tackle under the watchful eye of the judges. Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti take it in turns to demonstrate for viewers how they would like each challenge completed, before contestants are called in to have a go themselves with minimal instructions. There’s always a pastry chef who is horrified by having to debone an animal and always someone who has never made pasta. Enjoy.

In episode one on the 2020 series Monica set the first challenge, asking the chefs to make mushroom tortellini in order to display their pasta and sauce prowess in just 25 minutes. The second half of the MasterChef hopefuls then had to make devilled mackerel with a fennel and cucumber salad and herby mayonnaise, without any fully-formed instructions from Marcus.

Signature dish: The signature dish challenge is played out each and every year and requires the team of hopefuls to showcase their cooking style in just one plate of food (although interestingly, this year the chefs have been asked to do two from the looks of it). There are bound to be ups and downs, with some triumphing and others seeing their dreams shatter on the unveiling of a solid chocolate fondant or an overcooked piece of meat.

Invention test: The invention test really sorts the wheat from the chaff, where chefs are given one humble ingredient and are tasked with creating something beautiful from it, with the choice of just a few other larder ingredients. In previous shows Marcus has given everyone rice to cook with, to see what they can make from such an everyday product. Other invention tests will take place throughout the competition, with the format usually allowing the chefs to choose from a limited range of ingredients in order to produce a specific sweet or savoury task set by the judges. One such run in the 2019 series saw the team required to make a plant-based dish.

Pop-up challenge: Last year the contestants had to take on a pop-up food stand at Pergola London food market. This MasterChef challenge was aired over two episodes and saw street food at the centre of the chefs’ offerings. There was an audience of the MasterChef judges as well as invited foodie royalty, who all voted on their favourite dishes to crown a winner. With Coronavirus guidelines we think something similar could be unlikely in 2020. 

A Personal Dish: Another stalwart of the MasterChef lineup, the personal dish round challenges the contestants to produce one plate of food that evokes a memory, reminds them of a favourite person or holds sentimental value to them for some reason. The stories here are usually as good as the cooking, with everyone putting their all into making their friends and family proud after having name checked them as the inspiration.

Pop-up restaurant: During knockout week, the contestants might be given the chance to concoct their own dishes for a MasterChef: The Professionals pop-up restaurant in London (last year these were at Pergola Olympia and were a first for the show). The chefs only had three hours, with limited equipment and facilities, to show off their talents and creativity with the dish. Special guests from the UK’s street food and pop-up scene voted on their favourite dishes. The chef with the most votes went straight through to the semis.   

The Chef’s Table: Arguably the most important challenge of all the rounds, The Chef’s Table is an annual event held in central London. High profile industry professionals are invited along, including Michelin Star chefs (holding an intimidating 20 between them typically), to try the dishes of the MasterChef: The Professionals hopefuls. Usually Monica and Marcus are on hand in the kitchen to oversee things, while Gregg works the dining room - we're looking forward to seeing what format this round will take in 2020.

MasterChef: The Professionals restaurants

The restaurants on MasterChef: The Professionals are a step up from the regular competition, with it not being unheard of for Michelin Star venues to feature. In semi-final weeks in 2019 the chefs were split into two groups and headed to two of the UK’s top restaurants. Three of the keen chefs headed to Michelin Star Ynyshir in Wales, which is run by chef Gareth Ward, while the remaining three were sent to London’s Hide, which obtained a Michelin Star within six months of opening and is headed up by chef Ollie Dabbous who is lauded for his creativity and innovation.

The penultimate task saw the contestants prove their worth in a restaurant again, but this time things took an international swerve. The final three chefs were flown out to Portugal to work under the guidance of Jose Avillez, at his flagship two Michelin-starred Lisbon restaurant, Belcanto

MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 finalists

In this year's final of MasterChef The Professionals Alex Webb, Santosh Shah and Bart Van Der Lee went head to head to impress the judges with their signature three course menus. 

Want to know who won MasterChef The Professionals 2020? Here are all the details.

What is the MasterChef: The Professionals prize?

Surprisingly, after weeks of intense competition, contestants receive no prize other than the prestige of winning. Everything is at stake when you are being judged on your livelihood though. The real prize is the new connections and opportunities that come with the publicity from the show. In fact, many winners go on to open their own restaurants or write cookbooks, and become celebrities in their own right.

Who won MasterChef: The Professionals last year? 

Last year Stu Deeley was crowned the 2019 MasterChef: The Professionals winner. His win saw him beat contestants Olivia and Exose to win the coveted trophy. The final challenge saw Stu cook up a three-course meal for the judges. Stu seemed surprised to have won, saying: "There’s no one more shocked than me. This is unreal. I’ve never won anything in my life so this is such an unreal feeling and I’m so happy." His starter was soy and mirin-smoked salmon ballotine, with crispy salmon skin, cherry tomatoes marinated in dashi vinegar, chilli-flavoured taramasalata, smoked almonds and sorrel, served with a dashi-infused tomato essence. His main was lovage and rosemary-brined guinea fowl, topped with a yeast hazelnut crumb, soy glazed guinea fowl thigh, hen of the wood mushrooms, celeriac purée, celeriac barigoule, lovage emulsion and a spiced guinea fowl sauce. Finally, his dessert was a cep and milk chocolate cookie, dusted in coffee cep powder, a milk chocolate and yoghurt cream, a cookie tuille, cep caramel, coffee gel, salted milk ice cream and a coffee and milk and foam. Stu received plenty of praise from the judges, with Marcus describing his food as "absolutely outstanding".

What have previous winners of MasterChef been up to?

After winning the first MasterChef: The Professionals way back in 2008, Derek Johnstone was given a job by Michel Roux Jr. at Le Gavroche. The first ever joint winners, Anton Piotrowski and Keri Moss, went their separate ways, with the former winning a Michelin star while Moss became executive chef at The Patch Pub and has since opened Keri's Kitchen. Craig Johnston, the series’ youngest ever winner (he was just 21 at the time) has been working at MARCUS for the past two years. Claire Lara, who won in 2010, found out she had been pregnant during the entire competition, a shocking twist for the winner of the finale, and she works for The Oystercatcher these days. Below is a little more in-depth look at what the 2019 finalists have been up to. 

Stu Deeley: 2019 winner

Stu is a Birmingham-based chef who cleverly combines traditional British flavours with references from his city’s ever-developing food scene. This often resulted in the competitor combining Indian and British flavours for tasty, moreish plates. Stu was 27 at the time of filming but is now 28 and has one son with partner Natasha. The chef described his journey on MasterChef as a “whirlwind” and promised “more amazing stuff to come” after he won the trophy in 2019. Stu currently works in partnership with Simpsons Restaurant to creat Michelin-level dining at gome, but has promised to open his own restaurant in the future.

Exose Grant Lopo-Ndinga: 2019 finalist

Exose specialised in pastry and impressed throughout the competition with his intricate dessert plates which showcased a range of skills, techniques and flavours. At 22 he was the youngest competitor left on the show for finals week. Exose owns his own cake business and currently works at this as well as running an at home dining service and doing modelling with IMG Models. Throughout the 2019 series Exose revealed that he hadn’t told his friends and family he was entering and routinely expressed his surprise at still being in the running to win the trophy, saying, “I can’t believe I made it to finals, it has been a great experience so far and just one more push to try and win that trophy.”

Olivia Burt: 2019 finalist

Olivia wass the only woman left in the final in 2019, like her male counterparts was hoping to go home with the coveted MasterChef winner’s trophy. Having worked as a Sous Chef for Michelin-level restaurants like Claridge’s, Olivia was well used to the volume of work expected from her in order to produce top-quality plates of food. As well as her flavour combinations being a strong suit throughout the competition, she also had immaculate presentation which consistently impressed the judges. Olivia has worked with top chefs before, having been a finalist on the famous Roux Scholarship programme in 2019, which is a cooking competition started by Michel and Albert Roux, and now run by their sons Alain Roux and Michel Roux Jr, who was previously a MasterChef judge. Olivia now heads up the kitchen at Chelsea restaurant Stanley's where you can try some of her signature dishes from the competition. 

Yann Florio: 2019 finalist

Frenchman Yann is a private chef, so had less experience working in busy service-based kitchens compared to his contemporaries. This didn't seem to slow him down though as throughout the competition he produced beautiful plates of French-inspired dishes. At 30 he was the oldest competitor left in the race to win MasterChef: The Professionals for the final, and previously said that the competition had been “tough” but that that he’s “getting ready for the next challenge”. Watch this space. 

Like to keep up with celebrity chef news? Have you heard that there's a special new series of The Great British Menu this year?