Final four - MasterChef: The Professionals 2018, Oli Martin

The  Staff Canteen

Tonight marks the beginning of finals week for MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 - find out more about head chef Oli Martin from Hipping Hall.

Oli 2
Oli Martin 

Name: Oli Martin

Region: Lytham, Lancashire 

Age: 30 

Profession: Head Chef 

Cooking Background: “I was raised on great home cooked meals, my parents both worked hard in full-time jobs but always found time to cook fresh meals. I didn’t really take an interest in cooking until I was working as a kitchen porter for some pocket money at 14 years old, I loved the hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen and that’s where my passion stemmed from.

"I did an apprenticeship in Lytham at a restaurant that’s now closed called The Chicory, after that I worked in France under a Two-Michelin star trained chef, then onto Northcote Manor, Gilpin Lodge, then Quay and Gastro Park in Australia.” 

Influences: “I’ve had a lot of influences throughout my career. There are a lot of chefs out there that I love, their food, their philosophy and ethos, but as I’ve matured as a chef I find my own influences through a lot of things and it tends not to be other chefs work. I have my own ethos now and take inspiration from all around me, whether its food, an ingredient, a habitat or even a shape or colour.” 

Food Passions: “I like to really take the time to appreciate an ingredient for what it is, where it grows and the different stages it goes through in its life before it arrives in the kitchen. We put a lot of emphasis on local ingredients at my work and I enjoy cooking with heritage and foraged ingredients, things you may never have heard of and can’t just stumble upon in the supermarkets.” 

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On MasterChef: The Professionals: “I decided to enter the competition because I felt I was ready for a different challenge in my life and I didn’t want to change jobs as I really enjoy what I am doing at the moment so the competition seemed a fitting thing for me to fill that gap. My fiancé was pregnant at the time and I felt if I didn’t enter this year then next year I might not find the time to.

"I think the toughest round is cooking for the critics. It’s such a short amount of time to produce the most plates of food in the competition, and you’re cooking for people that you’re striving to impress - you don’t want to put a foot wrong! To walk away at the end of the day knowing I’d got through that round was a relief, especially as you don’t get to hear the critics feedback!”

Cooking ambitions: “I’ve been in my current role for five years and still enjoy it as much as I did the first day. I’m happy with the level we are currently working at in the kitchen, but cooking at a high level always pushes you to work harder. I just want to run a kitchen where people are happy, the food is great and the customers are enjoying themselves. 

"I don’t plan on leaving my job for a few years, I’d like to think my next move will be opening somewhere of my own. Only time will tell.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th December 2018

Final four - MasterChef: The Professionals 2018, Oli Martin