BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation

05/26/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/26/2023 14:07

Meet the MasterChef 2023 Finalists

Published: 9:00 pm, 26 May 2023

Meet the finalists of MasterChef 2023.



Region: Essex, and originally from India

Age: 41 (40 for most of filming)

Profession: Accountant

Personal: Married with two children

Cooking Background

"I live in the Essex countryside near Basildon with my wife and two young boys, but I originally grew up in India, in a small town very near to Delhi. I previously worked in London, for an insurance company in the City, but since filming MasterChef I have decided to take a break from the corporate life and pursue food as my full-time profession.

"I have been cooking in one form or another from the age of five and my family has been a major influence. In Indian culture, cooking is perceived to be more of a female expertise. But in our house my mother was always very encouraging of my siblings and I to try things we were interested in doing rather than following social constructs. From the very early days of my childhood, I saw my father and elder brother cooking as well, so I think my love for cooking began quite early on.

"After moving to the UK almost 13 years ago, my love for cooking grew and I got more serious and experimental with my style. European cuisine began to fascinate me and I started hosting big lunches and dinners for friends. Being away from India and my family, bringing together friends and food was even more important for me to remain connected with my true self."

On MasterChef

"I decided to enter MasterChef to express my passion for food and to learn from others. For me food is more than just ingredients, recipes or dishes, it's an expression of who I am and demonstrates my creativity. I have absolutely loved cooking for John and Gregg . Aside from getting their priceless mentoring during the cooks and their constructive feedback during tastings, the best interaction with them was getting their acknowledgement that my love for food is more than just a hobby. I am certain I want to pursue it as a full time profession.

"I'm absolutely delighted to make it through to the Finals! I see MasterChef as the perfect platform to express my love for cooking and what could be better than getting the opportunity to cook for the British Consul General in Turkey?!"

Cooking influences/ passions

"My dear late mother is my greatest cooking influence and the reason I started cooking. From a wider perspective, Rick Stein tops the list. The simplicity of his cooking and the respect he shows each ingredient makes him my favourite. I also love Jamie Oliver's books, there is something very honest and humbling about his style of cooking.

"In terms of my food passions, it's all about the bold flavours, presentation and creating something that not only tastes amazing, but gives you a feeling of happiness. Personally, I like to cook and eat a dish and, after eating it, feel that all my desires are fulfilled. Almost that, if this is my last moment, I won't regret it! Hosting friends, cooking different cuisines, missing Indian food, and watching endless cookery shows really helped me to discover my passion for cooking."

Cooking ambitions

"In the long run, my dream is to launch a chain of Indian fine dining restaurants. I would love the food to be very authentically Indian but with a modern presentation. The focus would be on the overall dining experience, together with some flavours and dishes, which would simply be out of this world. In the short run, I want to explore opportunities including cooking related TV shows or events, cookbooks and private dining/supper clubs."


Region: Farnborough, Hampshire, and originally from Northern Thailand

Age: 40

Profession: Master Coffee Roaster

Personal: Engaged to her long-term partner

Cooking Background

"I live in Farnborough, Hampshire with my fiancé, but grew up in Northern Thailand and was educated in Chiang Mai. After moving to the UK, I spent seven years as a district manager for a national coffee chain before deciding to set up my own coffee roasting company, for which I am now a Master Coffee Roaster.

"I have been cooking for as long as I can remember and recall learning to make an omelette when I was just four years old. I used to have to use a little step-stool so I could actually reach the stove and I have loved cooking ever since. Cooking is also a big part of Thai culture, and when I was a child we had a family gathering every Sunday where my uncles, their wives and their children would all come over and everyone would cook dinner together. The meals were always big as there were a lot of family members and were normally made in a giant curry pot.

"My passion for cooking developed throughout my childhood but, coming from a poor family in Thailand, we cooked with just a pot, pan and a fire stove. It wasn't until I was much older that we had a gas stove installed. This meant the style of food I learnt to cook from my family was simple but very tasty and I specifically remember my grandfather teaching me how to make simple and inexpensive dishes."

On MasterChef

"I love watching MasterChef and decided to enter the competition so I could showcase Northern Thai cuisine. I was initially nervous to cook for John and Gregg, but they were so supportive and they made me want to be the best! I'm absolutely delighted to reach The Finals, especially given the incredibly high standard of the other cooks, but I've been determined to stay focused and do my best."

Cooking influences/ passions

"I am very passionate about bringing Northern Thai cuisine to the UK, while making use of local ingredients. I also love baking - particularly making chocolate. I first began to learn to bake when I moved to the UK, almost 20 years ago, because I was delighted to find my flat had an oven. I originally thought only luxury homes had ovens! So I bought an inexpensive electric hand mixer and some cake tins and that's when my journey started. I now have eight different food processors! In many ways my dishes are a fusion between South East Asian and Western food. I spend hours and hours in the kitchen perfecting my recipes but I also love to have fun with them.

"Aside from what I learnt from my family, I have also been inspired by chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and John Torode - particularly the dishes John makes with an Asian twist. When specifically thinking about Thai food I admire Ian Kittichai and his focus on innovating Thai cuisine."

Cooking ambitions

"After MasterChef, I hope there will be opportunities to work with food and I'm keen on getting experience and turning this love of cooking into a profession. I'm excited about the possibilities that might come my way. Long term, my dream is to open a restaurant - and eventually multiple restaurants - where I can showcase the food of my homeland in Northern Thailand - and hopefully work towards earning a Michelin star!

"I want to show the world that Northern Thai food is amazing, because it really is. I just love to see people's faces light up when they eat my food."


Region: Barnsley, and originally from Watford

Age: 31

Profession: Toy developer

Personal: Engaged to his partner and has plans for a Vegas wedding next Spring

Cooking Background

"I grew up in Watford and since, I've lived in Manchester and East London. I recently settled in Barnsley with my partner. I didn't grow up in the most foodie household. My mum is a brilliant cook but growing up just the two of us, it wasn't always a priority to have a big home cooked dinner every night, as she worked various jobs. I am incredibly proud of my mum and wouldn't have had it any other way. Instead, my love of food developed when I moved into my own place in London and started to travel more. I was woken up to so many different flavours and cuisines. I realised food was a place I could be creative and experiment. Particularly over the last few years, my love of cooking has really found its own life. There is nothing I find more relaxing than spending my time in the kitchen developing the concept of a dish. Even if I've worked a 12-hour day, I still want to spend whatever time I have left that evening cooking, much to my partner's dismay!"

On MasterChef

"I've loved MasterChef for so many years and always secretly harboured a dream to enter and I finally felt brave enough to apply. Going on MasterChef is all about the experience, the pressure, and the opportunity to learn from some absolute industry pioneers and it has delivered on every one of those beyond my wildest dreams. I have never felt nerves like I do when cooking for John and Gregg! I have such admiration for both of them and for the legacy they have built with the show, so to be able to part of that - even if it had been just for 15 minutes (which luckily it wasn't) - was an honour I won't ever take for granted.

"I will genuinely look back discovering I'd made it through to the Finals as one of the proudest moments of my life. To know all your hard work has been worth it is something I will never really be able to put into words. Getting to this point means I've been able to experience every stage in the competition so far, which is all I wanted when I applied."

Cooking influences/ passions

"In terms of my cooking influences, I spent my teenage years watching MasterChef and it was so inspiring for me to see so many different types of people earn the title - from Tim Anderson to Shelina Permalloo to Ping Coombes. They all have such different viewpoints on food, which MasterChef has celebrated, so the realisation to me that - whoever you are and whatever you do has a place in the food industry - is really inspiring. Outside of MasterChef, the first cookbook I ever bought was The Art of Eating Well by the Hemsley Sisters. I must have cooked everything in that book at least twice. It opened my eyes to cooking, which then led me to discover people like Samin Nosrat, Kristen Kish and Fuchsia Dunlop who have really inspired the path my food has taken over the last few years. Also, let's never forget Queen Nigella! The creativity that comes with cooking is really what drives me. Every day in the kitchen is a new learning experience and I love teaching myself new skills."

Cooking ambitions

"Coming into the competition, I never really thought I could have a career in food but now, that has all changed. I work in product development and love bringing new products and experiences to market, so if I could do this within the food industry that would be amazing - as a development chef or working for a food brand to innovate. Also if the opportunity to write a cookbook popped up I'd be delighted! If I can use MasterChef as a platform to make cooking and food my career, I will be a very happy man."


Region: Warwick, originally from Northern Ireland

Age: 30

Profession: Assistant Management Accountant

Personal: Lives with long-term partner and their dog Louie

Cooking Background

"I grew up in Country Down in Northern Ireland and studied in Belfast, but have lived in Warwick for seven years. Since graduating from university, I have worked in finance in some capacity and currently work for a manufacturing company based in Warwick.

"Cooking is something I've always shown an interest in, since before I was tall enough to reach the cooker! It's been approximately 25 years since I flipped my first pancake and got a taste for the kitchen. My dad was also a chef, so I guess you could say cooking runs in my family, but since he passed away I'm the only one of my siblings - I have two sisters and brother - who has carried on the cooking gene.

"Although I can't pinpoint the exact moment I discovered my passion for cooking, I've always wanted to make things from scratch. I remember speaking to my Home Economics teacher in school, when I was 11 or 12, about using jars of sauce in cooking class because I wanted to be able to make my own."

On MasterChef

"After years of watching MasterChef and being a couch critic, I decided to give it a go myself. I would always proclaim the dishes I would make in an invention test if I were on the show. Turns out it's so much easier sat in front of the TV than it is in the MasterChef Kitchen! Cooking for John and Gregg is terrifying but amazing all at the same time. They have the best job in the world! They are really supportive, funny and, most of all, honest. In the kitchen I'm a perfectionist, so I was probably harder on myself than the judges ever were.

"Finding out I'm through to the Finals feels like I'm having an out of body experience! I'm not sure it will ever sink in that I'm a MasterChef Finalist. Being a fan of the show, I remember all of the Finalists through the years and to think that I have joined that list of amazing cooks is unreal."

Cooking influences/ passions

"We used to have lots of cookbooks when I was a kid - people like Jenny Bristow, Delia Smith and Gary Rhodes featured on the bookshelf. However, the first TV chef I remember watching as a young adult was Jamie Oliver, until I was old enough to watch Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen.

"My favourite cookbook was a gift, as most of my birthday or Christmas presents are food related, and it's Tom Kerridge's Outdoor Cooking as I'm a massive fan of a BBQ and cooking outdoors in general - be it the back garden or whilst away camping. So this book is my go to for something different. Long gone are the days of barbequed burgers and sausages in my house!

"Other passions of mine in cooking include blurring the line between sweet and savoury dishes, developing recipes and coming up with new and exciting tweaks to classic flavours."

Cooking ambitions

"It would be amazing to carry on cooking and use this opportunity to forge a career in the food industry. I would also really love to cook for Grace Dent. I listen to her podcast and love the idea of simple, satisfying food. There doesn't have to be bells and whistles for something to be delicious and that resonates with me."

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