Who is MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 finalist, Philli Armitage-Mattin?

The  Staff Canteen

Introducing Phillipa 'philli' Armitage-Mattin, one of 32 chefs on MasterChef: The Professionals 2020, airing on BBC One every tuesday, wednesday and thursday from November 10th through to december 17th.

Quick-fire Q&A

1)Full name

Phillipa Armitage-Mattin

2)Nickname

Philli (Chef Philli)

3)Age

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

From Hertfordshire/ live in Fulham

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

In a relationship

6)What type of a chef are you?

I run a food consultancy business and host online cookery classes.

7)Do you have a favourite type of cuisine?

I love all types of Asian cuisine - probably Japanese, northern Chinese, South Korean food.

8)How did you become a chef?

I trained within the Ramsay group.

9)Where have you worked?

London House & Maze GRG

Bakkavor Meals London - Tesco ready meal development

HAKU Hong Kong - chef

Nutshell Food consultants - Founder and development chef

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

People of food science, Harold McGee, Peter Barham, Chetan from JKS group, feran adria, Heston.

11)What is your guilty pleasure dish?

I love street food I would eat steam buns and dumplings every day if I could.

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

Best thing: I love my job it’s creative I get to play with food every day! Worst thing: running my own business means I never have a day off but at the same time I’m slightly addicted to it.

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

I was probably the most nervous I’ve been in my ENTIRE life. I was literally shaking!

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

Well I didn’t see a global pandemic happening but I’m glad I have entered the MCP competition - it’s been a huge achievement and I’ve learnt from myself as a chef.

Philli has so far impressed judges Monica Galetti, Marcus Wareing and Gregg Wallace, food critics Jimi Famurewa and William Sitwell, and wowed Michelin-starred chef Aktar Islam to earn a spot in the finals.

Philli is among the final four chefs in MasterChef:The Professionals 2020.

Who is in the MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 final?

Philli will be returning to our screens alongside chefs Bart van der Lee and Alex Webb on Wednesday, 16th December. 

Born and raised in London, Philli didn't head straight for the kitchen: she pocketed a university degree, and only then did she take on an apprenticeship at The Gordon Ramsay Group

"I couldn't contain my creativity," she said, so after two years she left to pursue a career in development, where she helped create ready meals for the retail sector.

"However something was always pulling me back to Asia," she said. In 2018, she booked a one way ticket to Japan to go and discover the region's culinary culture.

"I worked in some of the best restaurants and ate the most interesting food and this excited me and revived my passion for cooking." 

"This style of food is something that I wanted to share." 

When she returned to London, Philli launched a consultancy business, which she said has allowed her to work "with some of the most unique, interesting brands." 

A development chef and a consultant, Philli works with brands and concepts - including an increasing count of ghost kitchens.

"I do everything from burgers and pizzas, I've done a hotel in Reykjavík, I've developed a range for Tesco.

One of a handful of chefs whose activity hasn't slowed as a result of the pandemic, the chef has doubled down on healthy ready-meal delivery recipe development.

"It's been mad," she said. "I've had to take in a new person." 

At the start of 2020, the chef saw it as her mission "to empower chefs to own their career" through teaching them business skills. That is when the MasterChef: The Professionals production team reached out to her for her to star in this year's series. 

"Finally this was my chance to show what I could achieve, how far I've grown, and show [off] my style of cooking."

Having spent little time in the industry honing her classical techniques, she found the competition to be a steep learning curve. 

"I  learned so much - I'm a better chef coming out of it," she said. "Before MasterChef, I couldn't even fillet a fish properly." 

One of the chef's aims, prior to the competition but even more so now, is also to give something back to chefs and the restaurant industry, which she hopes to do by helping them with what she does best: entrepreneurship.

"I want to be able to give chefs the business knowledge to be able to show in their own career and empower them to start their own businesses. 

"A lot of restaurants that I consult for haven't set up their business well. They already have the cooking skills, but you're not taught that knowledge as a chef." 

"I would like to help chefs learn how to run a successful business, and push the hospitality industry forward." 

With the hospitality sector on its knees, she said, "people think it's really easy to turn a restaurant into a delivery-only concept. It's not."

"That's what I want to give to the hospitality industry, as well as lend my support what Hospitality Action are doing, and groups like The Burnt Chef Project."

"And if Waitrose come to me and say: 'would you like to do a ready-meal brand, I'll be like: 'Yeah, sure!'" 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th December 2020

Who is MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 finalist, Philli Armitage-Mattin?