Who is MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 chef, Sammy Hillen?

The  Staff Canteen

Introducing Sammy Hillen, one of 32 chefs taking part in MasterChef: The Professionals 2020, airing on BBC One for six weeks from November 10th.

Sammy impressed judges Monica GalettiMarcus Wareing and Gregg Wallace in the first heat, and was be among the four chefs to cook for restaurant critics Jimi Famurewa and William Sitwell in the quarter finals on Thursday November 12th at 9pm.

1) Full name

Salem Hillen



3) age


4) Where are you from / where do you live?

Newbury in Berkshire

5)Are you married/in a relationship/do you have any kids?

Engaged with two children which are all boys

6) What type of a chef are you?

I'm a modern chef with French technique

7) Do you have a favourite type of cuisine?

French cookery

8) How did you become a chef? (e.g. formal training, apprenticeship, self-taught? 

I started out at BCOT college in Basingstoke studying professional cookery

9) Where have you worked?

I’ve worked at The Blackbird in BagnorThe Woodspeen (both one Michelin star) and The Yew Tree, a two AA Rosette gastro pub at the time.

10) Who are your mentors/role models/people you look up to, in your professional and/or personal life?

I look up to many chefs in our industry for ideas, like Michael Wignall, Sat bains and Gordon Ramsay to name a few!

11) What is your guilty pleasure dish (not necessarily cheffy, cheesy baked beans on toast is a perfectly respectable reply!)?

I love a takeaway curry lamb Bhuna with all the sides and also cheesy nachos with beef chilli and guacamole!

12) What is the best thing / worst thing about being a chef? 

I think the best thing is the creative side, the worst thing is the industry’s working hours and the lack of a social life.

13)  How did it feel to step onto the set of MasterChef: The Professionals?

I never felt so nervous in my life and knew what I came to do and had to perform to impress the judges!

14) How did 2020 compare you what you thought it would be this time last year?

It’s crazy to think how mad it’s been and strange times for the world - hopefully 2021 will be a great year!

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd December 2020

Who is MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 chef, Sammy Hillen?