Final four - MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 Matt Healy

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th December 2016

Tonight is the start of finals week on MasterChef: The Professionals 2016. Let's meet Matt Healy, one of the final four MasterChef: The Professionals contestants hoping to impress Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti to be in with a chance of taking this year's title.

MasterChef: the Professionals finalist 2016 Matt Healy
MasterChef: the Professionals finalist 2016
Matt Healy

Name: Matt Healy

Region: Yorkshire, lives in Sowerby Bridge

Age: 33

Profession: Regional Development Chef for Rational

Personal: Married 

Cooking Background: “I first became interested in cooking as a young child with my grandma, baking every Sunday. My cousin Anna and I are the only two in the family that took it up as a career, she is an exceptional pastry chef in Newcastle.

“After leaving high school at 16, I went to Thomas Danby Catering College in Leeds. I thought it was important, at 16, to be qualified. At that time I didn't realise that experience counted for much more.”

Influences: “My biggest influence is my friend and mentor Simon Shaw, owner of El Gato Negro in Manchester. He taught me about the little details and gave my confidence a massive boost. I love working with Spanish flavours and influences, and really loved a busy service. I’ve realised during my time in the competition, just how much I miss the live environment of a busy restaurant. It’s been a real eye-opener.

“My wife, of course, inspires me to be a better person every day.”

On MasterChef: “I entered the competition because my wife challenged me to. As I'm always criticizing others on cooking shows she called me out! I've followed the show for many years and I didn’t know what to expect from MasterChef to start with, but I absolutely loved the experience! Truly awesome.

“The most challenging part of the competition is the very first test, the Skills Test, as you're walking into the unknown yet it feels so familiar and also The Chef’s Table, where the expectations from so many Michelin star chefs are insane.

“I'm over the moon at getting to the final week. Never in a million years did I think I'd be anywhere good or lucky enough to get here. It’s amazing to see the support I’m getting. People seem to recognise me a bit – maybe it’s the beard or that I’m a bit of a giant – and wish me well in the competition, which is great.”

Cooking ambitions: “Right now I'm a Development Chef for Rational, working in Yorkshire. My ambitions are to have a little bistro with an ever-changing menu and potentially pursue a career in the media. I’m actually launching my own website end of December so people can keep up to date with what I’m up to – a bit of food content, maybe some live cooking too. As for what comes next, who knows. I'm going to enjoy the experience and see what comes my way.”

MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 – The Final Week, starts tonight, continues Wednesday 21st and concludes Thursday 22nd December, 8pm on BBC Two

>>> Find out more about other MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 contestants here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th December 2016

Final four - MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 Matt Healy