Everything you need to know about MasterChef: The Professionals 2023

From skills tests to cooking up a storm in Michelin kitchens across the UK and beyond, the contestants were really put to the test in this year's series!

Updated on • Written By Holly Butterfield

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Everything you need to know about MasterChef: The Professionals 2023

You know what they say, when one door closes another one opens. The same can be said of MasterChef, as the professional competition replaces the celebrity edition once again. It’s the perfect winter warmer as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder: a brand new batch of hopeful chefs, vying for the top spot. The hit programme, which is in its 15th year, follows a similar format to previous series, with a new group of professional chefs faced with various challenges.


One major change for 2023 was the return of iconic judge and mentor Monica Galetti. Fondly known as 'Scary Monica' by fans of the show, Galetti is beloved for her no-nonsense approach to the judging. After 14 years on the show, Galetti took a step back last year to focus on her family and restaurant, Mere. After a year out, she was back and raring to go alongside regular judges Gregg Wallace and Marcus Wareing. Michel Roux Jr, chef patron of Le Gavroche, was also previously a judge on the show, although departed in 2014 with Wareing taking his place.

The show has always followed a similar structure, with 32 chefs split into heats to start with. Subsequent challenges typically include cooking for critics or guest chefs, mass catering tests, invention trials, service in a top restaurant and a chef’s table. By the final week, there are only four contestants left, who battle it out for the title of the series champion. While there isn’t actually a prize per se, winners of this prestigious competition are often catapulted into stardom. Winners often go on to work in top restaurants, write cookbooks or even open their own restaurants.

Below you’ll find all the information you need to get your recap of Masterchef: The Professionals 2023 - including this year's winner!


When was the MasterChef: The Professionals 2023 final?

MasterChef: The Professionals 2023 final episodes aired from Wednesday 6th - Friday 8th December with one episode each night. 

Who are the judges?

After a hiatus last year, Monica Galetti ireturned to MasterChef: The Professionals for this year's series. As usual, Monica was joined by Marcus Wareing and Gregg Wallace.

 Which contestants went through to the final?

Tommy, Kasae, Tom and Charlie were the final four in a competition that started with 32 chefs!

The MasterChef: The Professionals Finalists 2023

Tommy, 27
Unsure what to do with his life, Tommy ended up as a kitchen porter which sparked a love for food at age 16. Now working as a head chef in Weston-super-Mare, Tommy has spent the last ten years working across a number of award winning restaurants including Frog by Adam Handling. Tommy loves the magic and the buzz of the kitchen and enjoys trying new things as he works on finding his style. A big family man, Tommy spends any spare time with his son and loves to take him for walks, out to restaurants and even has him cooking at home!

Kasae, 29
Originally from Australia, Kasae works in Bath as the head chef of Robun, a contemporary Japanese restaurant. Stumbling into the kitchen one night, to cover for a colleague who was on holiday, she never left! Having completed her training before beginning to travel around the world, Kasae has worked in kitchens in Australia, Sweden, New Zealand and now the UK. With a refined and playful style that now features a lot of Japanese influence, Kasae is just excited to get back into the world of cooking competitions - she loves a challenge and what better challenge than MasterChef: The Professionals? Swapping out her chef whites for running gear, she’s currently training for a half marathon and spends most of her free time running.

Tom, 24
Cooking is in Tom’s blood! Growing up with an executive chef for a dad and a pastry chef for a mum, it was inevitable that his love and passion for food would culminate in a cooking career. Having trained at Westminster Kingsway College he went on to work in various kitchens including The Latymer at Pennyhill Park and now works at Camellia where he works alongside both his parents. When he has a spare moment Tom loves to play golf or go to the gym and even brews his own Kombucha.

Charlie, 22
Whilst waiting to enrol in the police at age 14, Charlie stumbled into a local kitchen and never left. Undeterred by the long hours, he completed his training and then went on to work across various establishments such as The Mariners by Paul Ainsworth. Now working as a head chef in Cornwall, Charlie loves to take a simple dish and cook it to perfection and dreams of one day running his own hotel and farm where everything is grown onsite! Outside the kitchen, Charlie has a real competitive streak and loves activities such as Go Karting.

What happened in the finals?


Wednesday saw the challenge that we’d all been waiting for - Chef’s Table. For the first of the three finals, the remaining four contestants would be cooking at The Midland Grand Dining Room for this celebrated culinary event. Each contestant would have just four hours to prepare a show stopping dish and impress 24 of the most respected names in the industry (boasting a whopping 22 Michelin stars between them).  

Tom started off the menu with a dish featuring gambero rosso prawns, served with celery sorbet, prawn oil and a side of gazpacho. This starter went down well with the critics - Daniel Clifford of Midsummer House enjoyed the pungent flavours of the celery that came through in the sorbet, whilst Spanish chef Nieves Barragan Mohacho, from Sabor, praised Tom for his delicious gazpacho. The menu then turned to Charlie who served a smoked duck breast, poached duck hearts served with pumpkin and sage ravioli and finished with a mushroom and duck consomme that's technicality was praised by Jean-Phillipe Blondet, chef patron of Alan Ducasse at The Dorchester. Others, such as Adam Handling, were impressed by the use of duck hearts in the desert, stating that they really packed a punch with a big flavour. 

The main course was delivered by Tommy, keeping in style with his use of asian flavours with a miso glazed sirloin beef, served with caramelised-onion and anchovy stuffed jacket potatoes served with a beef and onion dashi. Tommy's dish was welcomed amongst the critics with praises sung by Gareth Ward from Ynyshir who described the dish as beautifully cooked and served with an incredible 'little glass of joy.' Finishing off the menu was Kasae's highly technical and creative take on a Ferrero Rocher - comprised of a chocolate and hazelnut sphere served on a chocolate tart with cognac jelly, shiso gel and a creme fraiche sorbet. This was a real note to finish on, leaving the critics severely impressed by the levels of technicality involved in the dish with Lisa Goodwin-Allen, from Northcote, admiring the balance of the rich chocolate with the light sorbet. 

Returning to the MasterChef kitchen to cook up a dish inspired by the flavours of their home, it was time to say goodbye to Charlie. The youngest chef in the competition, he had frequently impressed the three judges with his fish dishes - an ode to his Cornish heritage. But today, his poached sea bass filled with a sea bass and chervil mousse just wasn't quite enough, with Marcus, Monica and Gregg deciding that his time in the competition had to come to an end. 


The penultimate episode of MasterChef: The Professionals saw Kasae, Tom and Tommy jetting off to Denmark to cook with the world-famous Rasmus Munk at his two Michelin-starred restaurant: Alchemist. Here they would be immersed in his world of 'holistic cuisine' that encompasses art and science into the food. Serving up a selection of 'impressions,' these aren't your everyday dishes. Each plate of food is an experience designed to inspire and get each diner thinking about everyday issues such as animal welfare and the environment.

The episode started with a masterclass as Munk shared three of his impressions with the contestants. First up was 'The Perfect Omelette' - a highly technical dish that uses a 3D printed mould to create an omelette-shaped ice cube which is dipped in an egg mixture to create a membrane. The ice-cube is then defrosted and drained before being replaced with an espuma of egg and comte cheese. The next impression, 'Plastic Fantastic,' takes the jaw of a cod - teeth and all - topped with pickled shallots and bay leaf gel. The real story with this one comes from the edible plastic used on the plate that adds a surprising unpleasantness to the dish which was inspired by the microplastics that pollute the ocean.

Finally, Rasmus showed off his most shocking creation. Taking a stance on animal welfare in this dish inspired by caged animals. Diners are encouraged to 'free' the chicken from its cage with this provocative dish that features steamed chicken feet glazed with a Korean style sweet and sour sauce that is then served in a cage.

Kasae, Tom and Tommy were first challenged to create their own impressions of visual storytelling using products that are often deemed as 'waste.' Kasae's creation was a pig's windpipe croquette filled with cheese and onion bechamel, a dish inspired by a friend who passed from oesophagus cancer. It was an interesting and daring plate that impressed Munk with both its taste and storytelling.

Day two had the chefs returning to Rasmus' kitchen. This time, they would each be responsible for two of his impressions which would be served to specially invited guests - Marcus, Monica and Gregg - who would dine in the uniquely designed dining area where projectors create 3D images above the heads of the diners that reflect the food that they’re eating. Imagine a planetarium - just without the planets.

Tommy would be taking on the challenge of the caged chicken, with Tom cooking the perfect omelette and leaving Kasae responsible for the plastic inspired cod. A truly eye-opening and thought provoking experience that left the judges awe struck. Whilst each of the three chefs struggled with elements of these highly technical dishes, they were able to live up to Munk's expectations and impressed him, as well as the judges, with their cooking.


The final episode of MasterChef: The Professionals 2023! Kasae, Tom and Tommy had given their all over the past six weeks and had just one chance left to impress the judges and prove that they were worthy of winning the title. With just three hours to prepare a three course menu each contestant created intricate dishes packed full of flavour and showing off their techniques.

But there could only be one winner. 

Who won MasterChef: The Professionals 2023?

It was 24 year old Tom Hamblet who was awarded the trophy and given the title of Master: The Professionals 2023 champion. Tom consistently impressed the judges with his classic techniques and creatively plated dishes but it was in Friday's final that they really felt he had come to put his own stamp on the food, using the flavours that he really wanted to show off.

Tom's winning menu:

Starter: Poached lobster tail with blanched cherry tomatoes, filled with lobster claw meat, in a lobster and chilli oil, topped with a lemon verbena gel, courgette balls and a creamy lobster and tomato sauce Americaine. 

Main: Seared beef fillet on a bed of pan-fried oyster mushrooms, served with braised beef cheek wrapped in pastry, topped with a poached oyster, a lovage emulsion, beef and red wine sauce and a side of beef and oyster tartare. 

Dessert: Olive oil sponge cake filled with an olive oil jam topped with lemon curd, creme fraiche cream, fennel tops and a fennel pollen tuile and served with a fennel seed ice cream. 

There’s no denying that Tom has impressed the judges at every stage of the competition, and this was really no different, with Marcus stating that he was ‘finding it really difficult to find a problem’ with Tom’s dish with Monica delighted by the way he managed to put 'his personality' and 'his cheekiness into his cooking.' 

What are the challenges?

The challenges on MasterChef: The Professionals differ slightly from the regular series, with more complex tasks given to contestants, as might be expected. From coming up with high-end dining concepts on the spot to stripping techniques back and making a meal without any fancy chef 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. The judges typically take turns demonstrating 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.

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. 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 2020 series saw the team required to make a plant-based dish.

Pop-up challenge: Previously, 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. 

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.

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-starred chefs (holding an intimidating 20 stars 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 2023.

What is the 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.

If you're keen to brush up on your own culinary skills, check out this handy guide to the best cooking classes in the UK.

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