'I have the potential to do some damage in this industry!' Exose Grant Lopo-Ndinga, MasterChef: The Professionals 2019

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 13th December 2019

It's finals week on MasterChef: The Professionals 2019 - find out more about Exose Grant Lopo-Ndinga , chef de partie at james martin manchester.

Name: Exose Grant Lopo-Ndinga

Region: Manchester

Age: 22

Profession: Chef de Partie - Pastry

Place of work: James Martin Manchester 

Cooking Background

“I was born in London and grew up in Manchester. At home my mum baked and cooked a lot of African food. I was always interested in cookery, but it was at secondary school I realised my potential - the day we all had to make a tomato sauce and my teacher told everyone to taste what I’d made, is the day I decided to pursue my career in food. I then went on to study Professional Chef Skills Level 1 and 2 and Pastry Skills Level 3 at Trafford College. I currently work at a fine-dining restaurant in Manchester and run my cakes business on the side.”

Influences

“My family has had a massive influence on me – but mainly my mum. Seeing her, as a single parent raising all of us was incredible. She stayed strong and put her children first, striving to make sure we got what we wanted. This pushed me to work hard to have a better life.”

Food Passions

“My passion in cooking is pastry. I have such a sweet tooth and at 17 I started my cake company. I am self-taught in both cake decorating and running a business.”

On MasterChef: The Professionals 

“Growing up I loved competitions – the rush, the hype and the challenge. I decided to enter MasterChef because I was having doubts about my cheffing career and abilities. When I got the call that I was on the show I was excited and scared, but decided to throw myself in the deep end. The most challenging moment for me has been the Quarter Final – the Critics Round; when I cook two courses for my family it takes me about six hours, not one hour 15 minutes! I chose not to play it safe and gave myself so much to do. As tough and challenging as it was, I was so happy with my food and the feedback I received.

“Getting to The Finals is an amazing feeling; I have learnt so much about myself. I am 22 and have only worked in one restaurant. I entered the competition to get my confidence and passion back and it has done just that. I’d been told many times that I have the skills to be a great chef, but I didn’t believe it until now. Thanks to MasterChef, I know what I am capable of and I have the potential to do some damage in this industry!”

Cooking ambitions

“As for what comes next, I’m considering either moving to London to learn new skills in kitchens there, or focus my full attention on my cakes business and see where it takes me. Hopefully there are some great opportunities out there for me.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 13th December 2019

'I have the potential to do some damage in this industry!' Exose Grant Lopo-Ndinga, MasterChef: The Professionals 2019