Who is Masterchef: The Professionals 2020 finalist, Santosh Shah?

The Staff Canteen

Introducing Santosh Shah, one of 32 contestants taking part in the MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 competition airing on BBC One for six weeks from November 10th until the final on Thursday 17th December. 

Santosh is the head chef of Vivek Singh's The Cinammon Collection. He has consistently impressed judges Monica Galetti, Marcus Wareing and Gregg Wallace throughout the competition.

His food went down a treat with critics Grace Dent and Tom Parker Bowles in the quarter-finals, and Michelin-starred Andrew Wong loved his take on the Chinese classic Dim Sum in the semi-finals challenge.

Santosh is among the final four chefs in MasterChef:The Professionals 2020.

Who is in the MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 final?

Santosh will be returning to our screens alongside chefs Philli Armitage-MattinAlex Webb, and Bart van der Lee on Wednesday, 16th December. 

1) Full name

Santosh Shah

2) Nickname

Santosh Shah

3) Age


4) Where are you from / where do you live?

I am from a village in Nepal called Karjanha in the Siraha District. I live in Charlton, London.

5)Are you married/in a relationship/do you have any kids?

Single, never married. 

6) What type of a chef are you?

I am modern, innovative Nepalese/Nepali cuisine chef.

7) Do you have a favourite type of cuisine?

I like modern French and modern Asian cuisine.

8) How did you become a chef? (e.g. formal training, apprenticeship, self-taught)

I started working as kitchen porter when I was 15 years old in India, I got chance to work as chef after 3 months in the job. I finished my hotel management course while I was working in hotel as chef. Within 7 years of experience, I became the executive chef of a 5-star resort in India. I seized on the chance to work in Montenegro as in 2009, I moved back to India in 2010, and at the end of 2010 I came to the UK.

9) Where have you worked?

Spicy Affair Croydon, Dishoom Covent Garden, Brasserie Blanc, Benares, The Cinammon Collection, The Lalit Hotel and I have since returned to The Cinnamon Kitchen as head chef.

10) Who are your mentors/role models/people you look up to, in your professional and/or personal life?

Chef Vivek Singh is will be always my role model. and my mentor for professional and personal life. Another is chef Bella Geordimaina from Malta; I don’t think I would be where I am today without her guidance.

11) What is your guilty pleasure dish (not necessarily cheffy, cheesy baked beans on toast is a perfectly respectable reply!)?

Burger king- smoked steak burger :-)

12) What is the best thing / worst thing about being a chef? 

The best think is that it makes me happy becouse I like cooking and exploring new food in the world, I haven't experienced the worst yet.

13)  How did it feel to step onto the set of MasterChef: The Professionals?

It has changed my life. I always wanted to promote and put Nepalese cuisine onto the world culinary map and I am doing this on MasterChef: The Professionals. The judges loved my food, even the food critics were wowed by my Nepalese food. Hopefully I will go far in this competition and showcase more Nepalese dishes and ingredients. 

14) How did 2020 compare you what you thought it would be this time last year?

Apart from Covid-19, my year has been exactly as I had envisioned it a year ago. 

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th December 2020

Who is Masterchef: The Professionals 2020 finalist, Santosh Shah?