Who is Masterchef: The Professionals 2020 chef, Victor Okunowo?

The Staff Canteen

Introducing Victor Okunowo, one of 32 chefs taking part in MasterChef: The Professionals 2020, airing on BBC One for six weeks from November 10th until the final on Thursday 17th December.

Victor is the head chef at London's Talking Drum, a West African fine-dining restaurant new to the South West of the capital. He stood out to judges Monica GalettiMarcus Wareing and Gregg Wallace as well as to critics Jimi Famurewa and William Sitwell in the quarter-finals, and is one of ten semi-finalists in the competition to return to our screens on December 8th to fight for a chance to make it to finals week. 

1) Full name

Victor Ofunime Okunowo

2) Nickname


3) Age


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

I’m from Nigeria and I live in London.

5) What type of a chef are you?

I am the type of chef that love simple things with big flavours.

6) Do you have a favourite type of cuisine?

I don’t not have a favourite cuisine. Food is way too vast and I seem to taste something new daily.

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

I studied professional cookery and restaurant management at Redbridge college.

9) Where have you worked?

Cafe au Vin (Galvin brothers) The Wolseley, Dukes hotel(GBR), Chiltern Firehouse, Bingham River House, Charles Napier, Stork Mayfair, now at the Talking Drum.

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

My mentor is chef Andrew Cole who has inspired me multiple times to take the next step in my career. I also draw inspiration from the likes of Ramsay (his dedication to the industry is amazing) and Heston (who’s level of creativity is almost scary). 

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

Triple chocolate brownie with Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream... Everyone has their weaknesses.

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

Best thing is the satisfaction you bring to people. The worst has to be the paperwork. I wish I could stay on the front line more often.

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

It was like nothing else existed, everything before and everything after didn’t matter. It’s like being covered with a blanket made of all your aspiration. The pressure was real to say the least.

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

To be honest with everything that is going on (pandemic-wise), this year has been so successful for me. If you had told me I’ll be where I am now this time last year, I would have called you a liar.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd December 2020

Who is Masterchef: The Professionals 2020 chef, Victor Okunowo?