MasterChef winners – where are they now?

Lovefood Team
by Lovefood Team  |  20 March 2016  |   1 comment

We look at what happened to the likes of past Masterchef winners Natalie Coleman, Shelina Permalloo, Tim Anderson and Thomasina Miers.

MasterChef winners – where are they now?

After winning the coveted crown, where are the amateur MasterChef winners now? 

Simon Wood – 2015

Data manager Simon Wood fought off fierce competition to win the 2015 edition of MasterChef. Judge Gregg Wallace said that he had "no doubt" that Simon would secure a professional career in the food industry. John Torode added that he thought Simon's food was "brilliant, it's delicious, it's refined – and we get to put him out into the real world." His first recipe book At Home With Simon Wood is published on 11th April.

Ping Coombes – 2014

Malaysian-born Ping Coombes was made redundant shortly before being invited onto the show. Since her victory, she has run street food classes and appeared at food festivals and popped up at various restaurants, working under the name Ping's Pantry. She has also just been appointed Consultant Chef of Chi Kitchen, the pan-Asian restaurant in Debenhams's flagship Oxford Street store in London.

Natalie Coleman – 2013

Natalie Coleman, or 'the girl from Hackney that did good' according to her blog, has totally abandoned her life as a former credit controller/techno DJ. Since her MasterChef victory, Natalie has worked at some of the UK's most renowned restaurants (including Le Gavroche, the Gilbert Scott and the Hand & Flowers) and appeared on various TV shows. 

She published her first cookbook Winning Recipes: For Every Day in 2014 and also teaches children's cookery classes in schools and at cookery schools in school holidays. You can give Natalie's recipes a go here.

Shelina Permalloo – 2012

Following her victory in MasterChef 2012, mango-loving former charity worker Shelina has been sharing her take on Mauritian cooking on TV, at events such as the BBC Good Food Show and on the menu at Michelin-starred restaurant Benares. Her first book, Sunshine On A Plate, was published in June 2013 and her second, The Sunshine Diet, was published in January 2015. And she is about to fulfill her dream of opening a restaurant, Lakaz Maman, a "Mauritian street food kitchen" in Southampton. You can try Shelina's recipes yourself here.

Tim Anderson – 2011

The American-born craft beer bar manager wowed John and Gregg by using elements of Japanese cooking in his dishes. Since he picked up the crown, he’s had stints at Le Gavroche and the Fat Duck and has been an ambassador for Malaysian food. His 'Japanese soul food restaurant' Nanban now has a permanent site in Brixton, London, and he has published a cookbook of the recipes on offer there. We've plenty of Tim's recipes here.

Dhruv Baker – 2010

The Mexican-born, Indian-raised Baker quit his job in media sales to take part in the 2010 series. Since his win he has worked with Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche and at De Librije in Holland, and he also cooks for private events. He’s now co-owner of catering company Earlsfield Kitchen, the Jolly Gardeners pub in London and his first recipe collection Spice was published in 2014.

Dhruv Baker's griddled prawn Thai salad recipe

Mat Follas – 2009

After winning the title, New Zealand-born Mat found it difficult to raise the financial backing to open a restaurant so he went back to his job in IT. But he persevered and finally achieved his dream when he opened The Wild Garlic in Beaminster, Dorset in June 2009, although the restaurant relocated and subsequently closed in late 2013. He's now launched a new solo venture called Mat Follas at The Casterbridge and is the author of two recipe books: Fish and Vegetable Perfection.

Mat Follas recipes

Exclusive Mat Follas interview

James Nathan – 2008

After his victory, former barrister James spent time honing his craft at Bentleys Oyster Bar in Piccadilly and at the Michael Caine-owned Bath Priory in Bath. He then moved to work as a chef at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. He's now opened his own restaurant The Green Room at the Retallack Resort and Spa in Cornwall, will be running the restaurant at the St Enodoc Hotel in Rock from March 2016 and has his own private catering business By James Nathan.

Steven Wallis – 2007

The former fashion strategist packed up his bags after winning MasterChef and travelled the world having culinary adventures. He’s put that knowledge to good use as a writer, private chef and flavour consultant. He is now Group Head of Culinary Innovation at Two Sisters Food Group.

Peter Bayless – 2006

The former advertising man wrote a book about winning the 2006 edition of MasterChef entitled My Father Could Only Boil Cornflakes before going on to work at Le Gavroche. He now cooks at a variety of UK and French restaurants, writes for food magazines and teaches at cookery schools.

Thomasina Miers – 2005

Former freelance food writer Thomasina continued her media career after winning the 2005 series, but this time she was the star of her own Channel 4 programmes and cookery books. She also had a spell at Petersham Nurseries, under the tutelage of celebrated chef Skye Gyngell, before she opened a Mexican restaurant in London called Wahaca. That restaurant has since expanded into a nationwide chain of restaurants, bars and street kitchens.

Thomasina Miers' Mexican aguachile recipe

This is a classic lovefood article that has been updated

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