Simon Wood has become one of the most successful winners in MasterChef history.
The 44-year-old chef has subsequently opened several restaurants, penned a debut cookbook and even reappeared on the show as a chef mentor and inspiration to contestants. If anyone proves what's possible after the competition ends, it's Wood.
Given his success, many fans are understandably curious about how he became so successful post-MasterChef. Here's everything you need to know about Simon Wood and his burgeoning culinary empire.
Does Simon Wood have a restaurant?
After winning the show, Wood became the executive chef at the Oldham Events Centre. During his tenure, he ran a series of cooking masterclasses and fine dining events, as well as a pop-up called The Boardroom in Oldham.
Wood's career went to the next level in 2017, when he opened his first major restaurant. Dubbed WOOD Manchester, the restaurant is in the heart of Manchester's city centre on Jack Rosenthal street.
According to the website, guests "can enjoy menus created using top quality seasonal produce, accompanied by an expertly chosen wine menu or matching standard and premium wine flights with a focus on classic flavours served with playful authenticity."
The kitchen offers five, seven and 10-course tasting menus, each available with or without drinks pairings and with pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan options.
Prices range from £55 for a five-course tasting menu without booze, to £190 for a 10-course, fully-paired option.
Since launching WOOD Manchester, the chef has also opened a second, more informal site. Known as WOODKRAFT Cheltenham, the restaurant offers down-to-earth lunch and breakfast options, such as chicken tacos and smashed avocado.
Given that he hadn't worked in the industry before 2015, there's no doubt that Simon Wood has come a long way.
What year did Simon Wood win MasterChef?
Wood won the 11th series of MasterChef back in 2015, seeing off competition from cooks Tony Rodd and Emma Spitzer.
His final menu won praise from both Gregg Wallace and John Torode for his presentation and exceptional flavours.
Wood's dishes included a chorizo and octopus salad, pigeon served three ways and a refreshing lemon posset. His pigeon dish was particularly well-received, with Torode calling it, "Bang on the money in every way shape and form."
Although Rodd and Spitzer were understandably disappointed to have missed out on the title, the judges said that all three had "raised the benchmark for the competition".
Since his final appearance, Rodd has himself gone on to open his own restaurant. Copper & Ink in Blackheath, London, has won praise for its casual atmosphere and top-quality cooking.
Does Simon Wood have a Michelin star?
Although Wood is yet to win one of the restaurant industry's top accolades, he is certainly a rising star on the scene.
In 2020, his flagship WOOD Manchester restaurant was recommended in the Michelin guide for the first time. Although he is yet to win a coveted star, it's clear that Simon Wood's cooking is on the right people's radar.
If Simon Wood were to win the sought-after accolade, it wouldn't be the first time a MasterChef alumnus appeared in the guide's pages.
In 2017, former contestant Elizabeth Haigh won a star in her role as head chef at Hackney-based restaurant Pidgin.
Haigh had originally competed in the show in 2011, before being eliminated relatively early in the contest. Given her subsequent stellar cooking career, her decision to work in the industry has clearly paid dividends.
Time will tell whether Wood can ultimately match her achievement.
Where can I find Simon Wood's recipes?
After winning the show, Simon Wood released his first cookbook in 2016. Titled At Home with Simon Wood – Fine Dining Made Simple. The book was well-received by audiences and focused on Wood's passion for presentation and produce.
Dishes included wild mushroom ravioli with sage butter and panna gratta, and crispy lamb salad with baba ganoush and flatbread. Wood also detailed several top tips for recreating restaurant-quality dishes at home.
READ MORE: What does the winner of MasterChef get? There's a huge difference between the UK and US series
However, Wood doesn't just cater for fine-dining lovers. Earlier this year, the chef took part in an initiative to create inspiring recipes based around affordable supermarket produce.
The Feeding Families programme specialises in showing how a £30 weekly budget can be used to create delicious, nutritious meals.