Any new series of MasterChef features so many contestants that you can barely remember a handful of names or faces from one episode to the next.
But of course, the kitchen crowd will soon be whittled down to just one champion who may soon find themselves running their own kitchens, getting on the roster of sought-after TV chefs or sharing their culinary knowledge via cookbooks.
Here’s every MasterChef winner since the series relaunched, and what they’ve got up to since they shared that congratulatory glass of champagne with John and Gregg.
Thomasina Miers – 2005
The best known of all the MasterChef winners is undoubtedly Thomasina Miers, the first to be crowned champion following the reboot which brought John Torode and Gregg Wallace into our living rooms.
She is the co-founder of popular Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca which boasts around 25 branches across the UK.
Thomasina has also published a number of cookbooks and fronted her own TV food series, and can proudly claim that Wahaca was the first UK food chain to become carbon-neutral.
Peter Bayless – 2006
Former advertising creative Peter Bayless left his 40-year career for a complete change as a professional chef.
He’s spent time working as a private chef for a family in France, and can be hired to cater for anything from intimate dinners to large events.
Peter has published a book about his experiences, offers teaching and demonstrations, and works with The Caterer Magazine by preparing the tasting food for their annual awards.
Steven Wallis – 2007
Winner of the third series Steven Wallis may not be one of the best known names among the champions, but he’s carved out a great career as a foodie.
He spent a while travelling the world and blogging about his culinary adventures, as well as setting up as a private chef.
Steven also offers his services as a 'flavour consultant'.
James Nathan – 2008
James nathan entered the competition as a barrister, but after lifting the trophy, left the bar for a life in the kitchen.
James works as head chef at the St Enodoc Hotel in Cornwall and has trained under some of the biggest names in the business, including Michel Roux Jnr and Rick Stein.
Mat Follas – 2009
A regular visitor to the MasterChef dining room as a judge, popular winner Mat Follas has enjoyed plenty of success since his win.
He opened his first restaurant The Wild Garlic to critical acclaim, and went on to set up Bramble Café and Deli in Dorset as well as publishing two cookbooks.
We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Mat back again this series.
Dhruv Baker – 2010
Dhruv Baker built on his MasterChef win by getting to work in some top kitchens including Le Gavroche, The Kitchin, and Helene Darroze at the Connaught.
He’s published a recipe book, opened his own gastro pub The Jolly Gardeners in South London, and is also a brand consultant.
Tim Anderson – 2011
US contestant Tim Anderson won with an eclectic mix of tastes which paid homage to his American heritage, a love of Japanese food, and his passion for bringing scientific innovations to the kitchen.
He has worked as a freelance chef and food writer, contributes to Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube, and is a regular guest on Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet.
Tim runs an acclaimed Japanese soul food restaurant, Nanban, in Brixton, south London.
Shelina Permalloo – 2012
It was a fair few years after Thomasina Miers’ win before we saw another female champion, but Shelina Permalloo was worth the wait.
Her Mauritian food brought sunshine to the judges’ palates, and she went on to publish recipe books about the cuisine.
Shelina has trained in Michelin kitchens and has now opened her own restaurant, Lakaz Maman, in her native Southampton.
Natalie Coleman – 2013
Another of the contest’s most popular winners was Natalie Coleman, who impressed with her hearty British food.
The list of top restaurants and head chefs she’s trained with is incredibly impressive: Le Gavroche (Michel Roux Jr), Viajante (Nuno Mendes), St Johns (Fergus Henderson), The Kitchin (Tom Kitchen), L’enclume (Simon Rogan), The Berkeley Hotel (Marcus Wareing), Midsummer House (Daniel Clifford) and The Hand & Flowers (Tom Kerridge).
Natalie has published a cookbook, teaches children to cook, and is head chef at The Winchmore Pub in North London.
Ping Coombes – 2014
The dishes Ping Coombes produced in the 2014 series were some of the most beautiful we’ve seen on MasterChef, and are still influencing contestants now.
Since winning, Ping has been doing her bit to promote the food of her home country Malaysia, including taking part in John's TV series John Torode’s Malaysian Adventure.
Ping teaches cooking classes in London, is executive chef of the pan-Asian restaurant Chi Kitchen, designs the menus for travel operator Scott Dunn, and has run a pop-up kitchen at Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar’s restaurant.
Simon Wood – 2015
As a child, Simon Wood won a competition to be anything for a day and chose to be a chef – so naturally, he progressed to win MasterChef as an adult.
Simon has landed the job of executive chef at Oldham Event Centre, part of the town's football club, and recently published his first cookbook.
Jane Devonshire – 2016
Since winning the 2016 competition, Jane Devonshire has grabbed the opportunity to learn from the best by working with chefs including Marcus Wareing, Jason Atherton, and Michel Roux.
Outside of the kitchen, she loves visiting schools to instil a love of cooking in budding chefs, works with two cancer charities close to her heart, and has been putting together her first recipe book.
Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed – 2017
Trainee doctor Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed has her work cut out combining two separate careers in the NHS and as a cook.
She is continuing her work towards specialising in gastroenterology by working at Watford General Hospital, but has also collaborated with chefs including Atul Kochhar and demonstrated her cookery skills in her Kashmiri heritage.
Saliha has just published her first recipe book, Khazana, which explores Indo-Persian food.
Kenny Tutt – 2018
As MasterChef’s most recent winner, Kenny Tutt (below, centre) is still finding his feet with what he’d like to do in his new culinary career.
He has had years in banking, but has now opened his first restaurant in his home town of Worthing and has been learning from top chefs and restaurants.
We’ve already seen Kenny back in the MasterChef studios, judging the first heat of this year’s series with his fellow 2018 finalists Nawamin Pinpathomrat (above left) and David Crichton (right).
Masterchef series 15 is currently airing on BBC One.
Never miss an episode with BT TV – catch up via the BBC iPlayer app.
Images: Rex, BBC