MasterChef: The Professionals 2012 finalists – Oli Boon biography

Oli's cooking background, influences and ambitions, plus his thoughts on the MasterChef: The Professionals experience

Oli Boon
Age: 23           From: London           Job: Chef at John Salt

Cooking background


“I grew up all over the place – I was born in Sheffield, then moved to Malta for five years, from there to Suffolk, and now I’m in London!

“I could have been academic but I was pretty lazy and liked sport and the girls! I left school a year early and went to work as a pot washer in the local pub; it was after this I realised I had to learn to cook before I went to work anywhere decent.

“Now I’m cooking I love grafting at it, it’s the only thing I like working hard at. It’s the most enjoyable job you could possibly have. I never get up in the morning and think ‘urrrghh’ – I just love going to work.”

Cooking influences

“My biggest inspiration has been Bryn Williams at Odette’s, where I worked for two years.”

The MasterChef experience

“The most terrifying point in the competition for me was without a doubt the Skills Test in the heats. Monica and Gregg standing there and a sea urchin! I knew as soon as I saw it I was going down!

“Throughout the competition your confidence goes up and down quite a lot. The highlight for me has to be service at Marcus Wareing’s – I really enjoyed being in a Michelin standard professional kitchen, pushing to the max, it was such good fun!”

Cooking ambitions


“I’ve always wanted to work in the best restaurants. I know that if I did win, a lot would come my way. My dream is to work in the best restaurants in the country, the best in the world!”