Since its original series launch in 1990, and reboot in 2005, MasterChef has taken the world by storm. More than 50 countries have adapted the show, and it has become Australia’s most-watched television series. It’s hugely successful all around the globe.
So what happens to the contestants once the cameras stop rolling? What lies ahead for those finalists who didn’t finish in first place?
Let’s take a look at some of the contestants who didn’t get the crown, but have gone on to have extraordinary and varied careers after MasterChef. There’s more to culinary success than working in a kitchen…
Poh Ling Yeow
Before MasterChef: Painter, make-up artist
Now: Artist, TV presenter, founder of Jamface, chef
Poh is the quintessential MasterChef success story. She was the runner-up in the first season of Australian MasterChef and has gone on to host television programs across two national TV channels, be nominated for a Logie (Australia’s Emmy equivalent) and launch a popular lunch spot called Jamface.
Jamface serves up delicious salads and pastries, and has recently launched an ice cream line, with flavors including the imaginative “Fudgy Smuggler” and “Cherry Springer.”
Before MasterChef: Financial planner
Now: Chef, charity ambassador, entrepreneur
Sharone became a household name in the US for his theatrical stylings during his time on the first season of Gordon Ramsay’s MasterChef.
Since that series aired in 2010, Sharone has been busy working on all things barbecue. He has his own special sauce, and has also presented workshops about taking the humble barbecue to the next level. He is keenly supportive of a number of charities, and has worked on fundraisers for breast cancer research and the American Heart Association.
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Neha Deepak Shah
Before MasterChef: Flavorist
Neha’s pre-MasterChef career was strongly invested in food and flavors. She tried out for MasterChef over a number of seasons, finally getting a place at the table in season four. Not once did she go to an elimination round throughout the series – an astonishing achievement!
She credits her supportive workplace as one of the reasons why she was able to begin her “MasterChef journey." After finishing second on the show, she stopped working as a flavorist in order to concentrate on her own ventures. She has launched two very different restaurants – one with a modern focus and dazzling contemporary cuisine, and the second a homestyle place. This second restaurant is particularly special, with the aim of reviving “lost” traditional recipes.
Before MasterChef: Graphic designer
Now: Caterer, writer
A stroke of luck secured Jessie’s place in the 2015 season of MasterChef – when another contestant was disqualified, Jessie took their place, and the rest is history.
The graphic designer is a vocal advocate for local produce, which she places front and centre in her modern Australian dishes. Since leaving MasterChef, Jessie has hardly paused for breath, working under the tutelage of some of Australia’s best chefs and launching her own colorful catering company, Jessie Does Food. She holds regular market stalls, caters for functions and presents cooking demonstrations at public events. When she isn’t cooking, she’s writing, with her recipes popping up in Clique Mag and online at her website.
Before MasterChef: Domestic worker
Now: TV host, brand ambassador, author, teacher
Sipho’s success on MasterChef was celebrated throughout South Africa. She came second on the show, only narrowly missing out on the 2014 title.
The last two years have been a whirlwind of excitement. Sipho has hosted her own TV cooking show, become the face of South Africa’s second largest supermarket chain, begun teaching at a cooking school for domestic workers and had her recipe book published by Nelson Mandela’s personal chef.
Before MasterChef: Comedian
Now: Chef, comedian
Dinner and a show – that’s Ben’s speciality. Since appearing in the first season of MasterChef Canada, the radio host and professional comedian has combined his passions for food and fun in a series of events called Seasoned Comedy.
Serving up delicious treats alongside laughs, Ben’s recipe for a good night out involves roping in another stand-up comic to act as his sous-chef as they put the night’s dinner together.
Before MasterChef: Student
Now: Teacher, caterer, author
Callum’s trajectory since leaving MasterChef has been different from most. He was only 20 years old when he took out second place in MasterChef Australia’s second season, and followed up this achievement two years later by winning the charity series MasterChef All Stars.
Having learned from some of Australia’s best chefs, Callum takes these skills and teaches them to others. He and dietician Themis Chryssidis launched Sprout cooking school (and associated catering company) in 2011. They hope to share cooking techniques, recipes and healthy habits through this venture. As a catering company, they work with local institutions like the Adelaide Central Market to highlight fresh and local produce.
Before MasterChef: Administrator, aromatherapist, massage therapist
Amelia appeared on two seasons of MasterChef UK – 2006 and 2007. In 2007, she left the show and started Amelia Rope Chocolate, a boutique, small-batch chocolaterie in London. Through a lucky meeting, her chocolates secured a distribution deal through Selfridges department stores.
Now, you can find Amelia Rope Chocolate as far afield as Hong Kong, Lebanon, Romania and Japan. For something a little different, Amelia offers a commission service. She’ll come up with a new flavor or inventive wrap design to add a personal touch to special events.
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