Oli Martin, Head Chef at Hipping Hall, near Kirkby Lonsdale is a finalist in Masterchef the Professionals. Oli’s unorthodox approach to cooking and unflappable spirit has seen him impress both judges and viewers.
His cookery on the show has been vibrant, full of fun twists while at the same time being considered and intelligent cuisine.
Oli’s menus have been risk taking and innovative, he served an intriguing desert inspired by spaghetti Bolognese has caused a stir with the judges, showing the arrival of new and fresh talent in the Masterchef kitchen.
In a memorable judging exchange, Marcus Wareing asked if he was “mad?,” Greg Wallace said he was a “genius,” then Monica Galetti called Oli a “nutter.”
In the “Chef’s Table” episode, Oli impressed a room-full of his culinary idols with a dessert of fermented spruce honey parfait, apple pine syrup, an apple skin tuile, pine yoghurt foam, honeycomb and compressed apple cubes.
Gordon Ramsay’s group executive development chef, James Petrie, was among the luminaries who joined the Chef’s Table judging round. Praising the apple peel crackling created by Oli during his five hours in the kitchen, James told him: “I’ll probably nick that idea from you and use it myself.”
Chef Kenny Atkinson, of Newcastle’s House of Tides, told Oli he “wouldn’t have batted an eyelid” if the parfait had been served from a one or two Michelin star kitchen. “It was my dish of the day,” he said.
“Without a doubt it’s been the biggest challenge of my career, but my cooking has developed and benefitted from the experience enormously,” says Oli.
“To have the opportunity to cook for your culinary heroes and receive feedback, both positive and constructive from the judges has been an enormous privilege. Whatever comes next, I know I am a better chef.”
The food Oli cooks is modern British, inspired by the produce of the three counties, Lancashire, Yorkshire & Cumbria. Hipping sits on the border of these three Northern counties and each county has its own unique food culture and landscape.
“Masterchef has really helped me to push the boundaries of my cooking. I’ve been brave, taken risks and given it my all. Although I’ve been working in professional kitchens for 15 years, I feel it’s just the beginning of my love affair with cheffing.”