Who is chef Nico Fitzgerald, MasterChef: The Professionals 2021 quarter-finalist?

The Staff Canteen

Introducing Nico Fitzgerald, one of 32 chefs taking part in MasterChef: The Professionals 2021, airing on BBC One every Monday, Thursday and Friday from November 8th through to December 24th.

Nico impressed judges Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace in both his skills test and with his signature dish, securing a spot in the quarter-finals.


Originally from Gibraltar, Nico moved to London in his teens and worked as a chef in the British Army. He then worked in private catering, carrying out banquetting and private dining work.

He then attended the infamous Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in the UK capital, and has since worked in some of the country's top kitchens, including in Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck Group's one Michelin-starred  The Hind's Head,, Adelina Yard and London Stock restaurant, where he was the head chef in 2020.

In an interview with Le Cordon Bleu, the chef said he had always had a passion for the culinary arts starting from a very young age. "I just wanted to pursue it slightly more seriously," he said.

After working outside of London, he said, the capital "was always the place I wanted to return to. I did brief stints outside of London after Le Cordon Bleu, but I knew that if I wanted to make it at the highest level, London was the place to return to. It's where all the big names are, it's where the opportunities are. 

The chefs Gibraltian roots mean that his first interactions with food had both a British and a Spanish influence, as he explained.

"It's about bringing the best of the culture we have around us, which is how I grew up, then putting the best dishes from all of those cultures on the table." 

In the context of Covid at London Stock he said, "we had to think very fast on our feet and adapt. It was never a case of giving it up and allowing it all to blow over, we took it head on and changed to a takeaway service, and made the most of the opportunity as it presents itself. There's always a silver lining to every cloud."

"The part of my role I'd say I'm most passionate about is coming up with new ideas. This job gave me the opportunity to create things which nobody else has experienced before, that's our ethos."

"My passion really lies in creating that once in a lifetime environment for our guests."

His advice to young chefs in his kitchen applies to chefs considering taking part in MasterChef: The Professionals, too: "Never give up. You're going to have really bad days and I always tell my chefs, 'there will always be a good day to follow a bad day, you should always just keep pushing, keep working and make the most of the opportunities presented to you. They're all learning experiences."

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th November 2021

Who is chef Nico Fitzgerald, MasterChef: The Professionals 2021 quarter-finalist?