As expected, the global pandemic has had a major negative effect on the tourism industry in Nepal. In response to this, the Nepali chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association invited the finalists of MasterChef the Professionals 2020 to come and promote some of the culture and cuisine that the country has to offer.
The team made up of Alex Webb, Santosh Shah, Phillipa-Armitage-Mattin and Bart Van Der Lee who were all in the final four of MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 have spent 10 days in Nepal during April 2022 promoting the country’s food, culture, and tourist destinations, all while wearing some of Oliver Harvey’s signature chef whites. Alex, Santosh, and Bart were all wearing our Stratford Chef Jacket, whereas Phillipa is wearing our York Ladies Chef Jacket all of which have been embroidered by us with the national flag of Nepal.
Santosh was born in the village of Karjanha which is situated in the Siraha district of Nepal and therefore this was a very personal trip for him. Santosh became an extremely popular figure in his home country due to his appearance on MasterChef, in which he reached the final in 2020 and won the professionals rematch that took place in 2021. Santosh has been awarded the SuPrabal Jana Sewa Shree, which Is one of the highest civilian awards in Nepal. Santosh received the award for his efforts in promoting Nepalese food to the world.
The team visited many of Nepal’s cities and towns, such as Kathmandu and Karjanha experiencing some of the amazing street food the country has to offer. While on the trip the four chefs cooked many traditional Nepalese dishes one of which being Selroti, which is a traditional sweet-rice bread made in a ring shape. It is often made during Tihar, a five-day Hindu festival that is commonly celebrated in Nepal and parts of certain parts of India that have a large Nepalese population.
Upon returning home from the trip Alex Webb the MasterChef, The Professionals 2020 winner announced he is set to begin a three-month residency at Number one Park Lane from the 3rd of May to the 28th of July, where he will be serving British inspired sharing plates. In honour of his late father, all the proceeds made from his dad’s bread and whipped butter recipe will be going towards the Roy Castle Cancer Foundation. Bart Van Der Lee has worked in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the Netherlands including the Michelin Stared Tonie Hermson based in Maastricht. Bart currently specialises as a private chef and offers culinary masterclasses. Phillipa-Armitage-Mattin was trained within the Ramsey Group and currently runs a food consultancy business named Nutshell, in which she has used her expertise in nutrition and creating new recipes to launch hundreds of products into the market for large brands such as Tesco and Starbucks.
Special thanks to the four finalists for choosing our chef jackets to take on their trip. If you would like to keep up with what all four of the finalists are up to after this trip give them a follow-on Instagram by using their links below.
Alex Webb - @chefwebb1
Santosh Shah - @chefsantoshshah
Phillipa-Armitage-Mattin - @chefphilli
Bart Van Der Lee - @chefbartvanderlee