Catch up with Omar - one of the finalists of MasterChef 2023

(Image: BBC/Shine TV)



Region: Barnsley, and originally from Watford
Age: 31
Profession: Toy developer

Personal: Engaged to his partner and has plans for a Vegas wedding next Spring

Cooking Background

“I grew up in Watford and since, I’ve lived in Manchester and East London. I recently settled in Barnsley with my partner. I didn’t grow up in the most foodie household. My mum is a brilliant cook but growing up just the two of us, it wasn’t always a priority to have a big home cooked dinner every night, as she worked various jobs. I am incredibly proud of my mum and wouldn’t have had it any other way. Instead, my love of food developed when I moved into my own place in London and started to travel more. I was woken up to so many different flavours and cuisines. I realised food was a place I could be creative and experiment. Particularly over the last few years, my love of cooking has really found its own life. There is nothing I find more relaxing than spending my time in the kitchen developing the concept of a dish. Even if I’ve worked a 12-hour day, I still want to spend whatever time I have left that evening cooking, much to my partner’s dismay!”

On MasterChef

“I’ve loved MasterChef for so many years and always secretly harboured a dream to enter and I finally felt brave enough to apply. Going on MasterChef is all about the experience, the pressure, and the opportunity to learn from some absolute industry pioneers and it has delivered on every one of those beyond my wildest dreams. I have never felt nerves like I do when cooking for John and Gregg! I have such admiration for both of them and for the legacy they have built with the show, so to be able to part of that - even if it had been just for 15 minutes (which luckily it wasn’t) - was an honour I won’t ever take for granted.

“I will genuinely look back discovering I’d made it through to the Finals as one of the proudest moments of my life. To know all your hard work has been worth it is something I will never really be able to put into words. Getting to this point means I’ve been able to experience every stage in the competition so far, which is all I wanted when I applied.”

Cooking influences/ passions

“In terms of my cooking influences, I spent my teenage years watching MasterChef and it was so inspiring for me to see so many different types of people earn the title – from Tim Anderson to Shelina Permalloo to Ping Coombes. They all have such different viewpoints on food, which MasterChef has celebrated, so the realisation to me that - whoever you are and whatever you do has a place in the food industry - is really inspiring. Outside of MasterChef, the first cookbook I ever bought was The Art of Eating Well by the Hemsley Sisters. I must have cooked everything in that book at least twice. It opened my eyes to cooking, which then led me to discover people like Samin Nosrat, Kristen Kish and Fuchsia Dunlop who have really inspired the path my food has taken over the last few years. Also, let’s never forget Queen Nigella! The creativity that comes with cooking is really what drives me. Every day in the kitchen is a new learning experience and I love teaching myself new skills.”

Cooking ambitions

“Coming into the competition, I never really thought I could have a career in food but now, that has all changed. I work in product development and love bringing new products and experiences to market, so if I could do this within the food industry that would be amazing - as a development chef or working for a food brand to innovate. Also if the opportunity to write a cookbook popped up I’d be delighted! If I can use MasterChef as a platform to make cooking and food my career, I will be a very happy man.”


MasterChef 2023 concludes with episodes on BBC One on Tuesday, 30 May at 9pm; Wednesday, 31 May at 8pm and a grand final on Wednesday, 1 June at 8pm.

Source BBC One

May 30, 2023 3:00am ET by BBC One  


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