Meet the MasterChef contestant who grew up in Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 18:34 10 November 2020 | UPDATED: 19:02 10 November 2020

Masterchef: The Professionals S13 contestant Philli Armitage-Mattin. Picture: BBC / Shine TV.

Masterchef: The Professionals S13 contestant Philli Armitage-Mattin. Picture: BBC / Shine TV.

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A chef who grew up in Welwyn Garden City will be appearing on MasterChef: The Professionals this evening on BBC One.

Masterchef: The Professionals S13 chef Philli in heat 1. Picture: BBC / Shine TV.Masterchef: The Professionals S13 chef Philli in heat 1. Picture: BBC / Shine TV.

Chef Philli Armitage-Mattin, who studied at St. Francis’ College in Letchworth, described being on the show as the scariest moment of her life.

The 28-year-old has been a fan of the show for years even bringing one of her first cookbooks, a MasterChef cookbook, to the interview when applying for the show.

She now now lives in London and runs her own food consultancy business - Nutshell, but Philli didn’t decide until relatively late on that she wanted to be a chef.

First she went to university and studied chemistry with thoughts of possibly being a banker or a teacher, but when her dad took her to a Auberge du Lac she had her mind changed.

Masterchef: The Professionals S13 judges Marcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace, and Monica Galetti. Picture: BBC / Shine TV.Masterchef: The Professionals S13 judges Marcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace, and Monica Galetti. Picture: BBC / Shine TV.

Philli said: “The reason I first fell in love with food, was my dad took me to Auberge du Lac at Brocket Hall. It was my first fancy meal. I thought this was cool, I didn’t know food could taste that good because my mum is not a great chef or cook. She’d always over cook meat, I actually hated lamb and beef until I was about 16 because I didn’t realise.

“I was a bit of a late starter to the kitchen, I started at Gordon Ramsay Restaurants at 22. I started with an apprenticeship and people in the same group were 16.”

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She even worked with Gordon Ramsay himself once when he came to the Maze restaurant for its 10 year anniversary. Philli said it was the second scariest moment of her life, with appearing on MasterChef being the first.

However she was only in a professional kitchen for two years before leaving to be a developmental chef, going on to do work for numerous companies including working on Tesco’s new vegan Wicked food range.

She also travelled to work in Japan, including two star Michelin restaurant DEN, and spent a year working and travelling her way across Asia.

Speaking about the MasterChef environment, she said: “There’s the pressure of the cameras, there’s pressure of the judges and the studio is hot as there’s lights and it’s in the middle of summer.

“So I was sweaty and tired and I don’t really cook restaurant food normally. I don’t work under time pressure, I don’t like to do that to myself.

“It was scary.”

If she could only cook one meal for the rest of her life for herself she would cook Korean fried chicken and kimchi fried rice.

If she was only allowed to eat one meal for the rest of her life she would have Bao (steam buns).

You can find more about Chef Philli online by searching ‘@ChefPhilli’.


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