Ever wondered what happened to those semi-fit guys from MasterChef 2016 or Bake Off 2010’s Johnny Shepherd? Well, many ex-contestants from two of the UK’s most successful food shows have gone on to make loads of dough, just not that kind of dough. While there’s no escaping Nadiya Hussain’s face just about every time you turn on the telly (not that we’re complaining, we love Nadiya) or Ed Kimber AKA The Boy Who Bakes’ following on Instagram (a whopping 240k and counting), there are plenty of other who went on to open some incredible restaurants, cute bakeries and supper club businesses.
We’ve rounded them up so you can try the food for yourselves and play out your own Greg and John judging fantasy – not that you’d want to. From the Bake Off winner-turned-landlady to the masterchef making a stir on the London restaurant scene, here they are..
Candice Brown, Great British Bake Off
Speculation is growing that 2016 winner Candice Brown is set to join Noel Fielding as Sandy Toksvig’s replacement for the upcoming Bake Off series. Whether that’s true or not there’s no denying Candice’s popularity – she’s amassed a whopping 230k+ Instagram followers and has become a familiar face on TV post the show.
If scrolling her food creations through those little squares isn’t enough for you, you can taste the real thing at the pub she co-runs with her brother Ben.
The Green Man in Eversholt, Milton Keynes is a classic British pub, serving up pub grub (albeit very good pub grub) and bar snacks created by head chef Brendan Flynn. And the best bit? Delicious desserts designed by the GBBO winner-turned-landlady herself.
The Green Man, Church End, Eversholt, Milton Keynes MK17 9DU
Adam Handling is a proof that you don’t need to win to have great success – just look at One Direction. The Scottish chef was a finalist in series 6 of MasterChef: The Professionals back in 2013 and now boasts some of London’s most exciting restaurants under his belt.
There’s the Frog in Hoxton that’s cited as one of the most innovative restaurant openings of the past few years – their now legendary cheese doughnuts and chicken butter has become one of the must-order dishes the capital has to offer.
Proving you don’t have to settle on east or west when it comes to London, Adam also has a Chelsea restaurant serving up creative and innovative dishes as well as an imaginative tasting menu.
And then there’s Eve Bar. Not content with having three major restaurants to his name, Adam launched Eve underneath Frog by Adam Handling in Covent Garden to serve up exciting and unique cocktails that are screaming out to be Instagrammed.
Adam is essentially the Heston of the 2020s and we’re expecting his trajectory to soar far beyond his MasterChef past.
Once named the “semi-fit MasterChef losers,” Billy and Jack are perhaps the most down to earth of foodie TV alumni. They’ve kept the description and even proudly present it on their website which makes us love them even more.
They first met when they were up against each other on MasterChef and formed a cute bromance. Once the competition had finished (and neither of them took the crown) they teamed up officially to put on supper clubs, create content for partnering brands – they’ve worked with everyone from Google to Lidl – and become Insta stars of the food world.
Food-wise, the boys’ approach is seasonal, British and unfussy – they make food that you’d like to cook at home but probably can’t, they champion sustainability and are cheerleaders for reducing food waste.
The boys, who are fast becoming the Ant and Dec of the food world, will be hosting and cooking up their next supper club on 28th February and 27th March 2020 at Mimo London.
Shelina Permalloo won MasterChef back in 2012 by wowing John and Gregg with her colourful, tropical approach to cooking, all inspired by her Mauritian heritage. She went on to appear on the likes of This Morning, Lorraine and Sunday Brunch, launch two cookery books and open her own restaurant, Lakaz Maman, in her hometown of Southampton.
The restaurant is relaxed, informal and fun and serves food you’re more likely to find at a Mauritian street food stall than Southampton.
Dishes range from crispy octopus with a hot and sweet pineapple to Shelina’s take on burgers – think pulled mutton burger with tamarind and green mint chutney or a sweet and sticky pulled chicken burger with masala aioli. Worth taking the trip to Southampton for.
MasterChef 2010 champ Dhruv Baker went on to work with some of the industry’s leaders, from Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche and at De Librije in Holland. But he gave all that up to open an unpretentious pub practically on The Handbook’s doorstep – The Jolly Gardeners in Earlsfield.
And while it might look like most of the other posh boozers in the SW area, the food is seriously good, from the hot gambas pil pil to the tasty vegan pea ravioli. In fact, there are plenty of great vegan options on the menu and decent cocktails to wash them down with.
Top tip: they do a mean salted caramel espresso martini for dessert.
The Jolly Gardeners, 214 Garratt Ln, Earlsfield, London SW18 4EA
If Bake Off is more your jam, you’ll be pleased to hear 2010 contestant Johnny Shepherd has opened a café and bakery dedicated to the sweet stuff in St Alban’s.
Named The Pudding Stop, they serve an all-day array of baked goods and Mary Berry-approved treats, from morning cinnamon buns to afternoon delights like baked cookie dough pudding.
Johnny may not have won but he’s become one of the most successful Bake Off contestants in terms of business ever.
The Pudding Stop, 6 The Colonnade, Verulam Rd, St Albans AL3 4DD
In a MasterChef fairy tale, Simon Wood went from data manager to winner of the BBC hit in 2015. He now runs his own restaurant group, Wood in Manchester, Chester and Woodkraft and has a cookbook, At Home with Simon Wood, under his belt.
In his Manchester outpost, which boasts a Michelin Guide recommendation and two AA Rosettes, the tasting menu is the real star of the show. Book in completely ‘blind’ and don’t find out what you’re eating until it lands in front of you.
Simon has restaurants in Manchester, Chester and Woodkraft .
Nanban has become one of Brixton’s best-loved restaurants but you may have forgotten that it was set up by 2011 MasterChef winner Tim Anderson. He wowed Greg and John with his nod to Japanese cuisine in the show and followed his passion through with the south London opening.
Small plates are Tim’s strong point – we love the crispy jerk pork belly served with tonkatsu sauce and vanilla mayo; the chicken karaage and the padron peppers with shichimi, crushed sesame, and spicy ponzu, but he makes a mean ramen too. Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to live in the area, Deliveroo will bring the Masterchef-worthy food straight to your door.
Perhaps Masterchef’s most successful ex-student, Thomasina won the show and went on to pen multiple cookbooks, continue her successful previous career as a food writer, launch her own Channel 4 TV show and open the high street behemoth food chain that is Wahaca.
Bringing street style-inspired Mexican food to the masses, she made the British public aware that Mexican food went way beyond a packet of Old el Paso.