The cooking competition is back on our screens, but does winning the title really change contestants' lives?

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Image: MasterChef winners: where are they now?

Via: MasterChef / Shine TV / BBC

There are so many great things about MasterChef: from Gregg’s undeniable love of a buttery biscuit base to those hard-working contestants, and perhaps best of all Monica Galetti’s facial expressions that would leave the most competent of chefs cowering behind a sauté pan.


MasterChef: The Professionals returns tonight (hurrah!) and there's a tough new Michelin-starred chef at the judging helm: say hello to Marcus Wareing. The replacement for Michel Roux Jr has squared up to Gordon Ramsay in the past, reduced contestants to tears in previous guest appearances, and is sure to rival Galetti in the scary stakes.


While we know that all the contestants dream of opening their own restaurant and go on to the dizzying heights of Michelin-starred success, what can winning the MasterChef title really do for them? We had a look back at previous winners.

Who: Thomasina Miers
MasterChef winner: 2005
Where is she now? Unless you've been watching for the best part of a decade you might not realise that this chilli-lover was a contestant on MasterChef. Now with 6 cookbooks under her belt and the hugely successful Mexican chain, Wahaca, Miers has been the most successful MasterChef graduate

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Thomasina Miers

Via: ©Tara Fisher from Chilli Notes (Hodder & Stoughton)


Who: Steve Groves
MasterChef: The Professionals winner: 2009
Where is he now? This was the chap whose dishes looked like they were trying to win the Turner Prize, according to Gregg. Well, it turned out well for him as he is now head chef at Michel Roux Jr’s Roux at Parliament Square

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Who: Mat Follas
MasterChef winner: 2009
Where is he now? Mat did what he said he would always do and opened a restaurant after he was crowned MasterChef champion. Not even two AA rosettes could save The Wild Garlic from closure but all is not lost as Follas has now set up a new restaurant, The Casterbridge, in Dorset

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Mat Follas

Via: MasterChef / Shine TV / BBC


Who: Dhruv Baker
MasterChef winner: 2010
Where are they now: the sales executive with a "palate of an angel" (thanks, Gregg) now hosts upmarket culinary tours of Mexico and northern India (nice work!) and had his first cookbook published this year

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Dhruv Baker

Richard Gillin / CC-BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: photoverulam


Who: Ash Mair
MasterChef: The Professionals winner: 2011
Where is he now? No-one was surprised when this Tasmanian culinary genius took the title but we were surprised that he didn't open a restaurant. After seeing his cookbook, he really should

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Ash Mair

Via: MasterChef / Shine TV / BBC


Who: Tim Anderson
MasterChef winner: 2011
Where is he now? The youngest ever MasterChef winner and also one of the wackiest. It was no surprise that this chef with a penchant for Japanese fusion food opened a Japanese soul food restaurant, Nanban, in Shoreditch, London

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Who: Anton Piotrowski
MasterChef: The Professionals winner: 2012
Where is he now? Any man that ditches his honeymoon to take part in a cookery competition had better hope it was worth it. Luckily for Piotrowski it was and he is now the head chef at fine dining gastro-pub The Treby Arms in Devon

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Anton Piotrowski

Via: MasterChef / Shine TV / BBC


Who: Shelina Permalloo
MasterChef winner: 2012
Where is she now? How could anyone forget this woman's love of mangos? Whipping up dishes that were like "sunshine on a plate" according to Gregg (which was coincidentally also the name of her first cookbook), Permalloo has stuck to cooking privately and at pop-ups

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Shelina Permalloo

Via: MasterChef / Shine TV / BBC


Who: Steven Edwards
MasterChef: The Professionals winner: 2013
Where is he now? Galetti called Steven's food "faultless" and is anyone really going to argue with her? He's is now the head chef at the five-star South Lodge Hotel and director of the pop-up restaurant, etch

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Steven Edwards

Via: MasterChef / Shine TV / BBC

Fancy trying your hand at a MasterChef judge's recipe? Try Marcus Wareing's mini basil and ricotta pancakes with salmon or impress with his white chocolate mousse with spiced ice cream for dessert.