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Gidea Park MasterChef contestant talks plans for the future and life on the programme

PUBLISHED: 10:10 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:10 08 April 2020

Natasha Sealy has competed in MasterChef until episode 19. Picture: BBC

Natasha Sealy has competed in MasterChef until episode 19. Picture: BBC

BBC

Gidea Park’s Natasha Sealy shares her whirlwind experience on MasterChef and her culinary plans for post-lockdown.

Episode 15: Contestants Claire, Beverley, Sam, Natasha, Jack and Renata. Picture: BBCEpisode 15: Contestants Claire, Beverley, Sam, Natasha, Jack and Renata. Picture: BBC

“It’s a good thing I’ve got an indoor hobby!” she said, “it’s like being in MasterChef kitchen right now, having to try and use all what you’ve got in your cupboard!”

Growing up, Natasha, a garment technologist originally from Chelsea, got her inspiration from her grandma, who as well as making regular cakes for their local church, cooked up feasts inspired by their Bajan roots.

“I’ve always enjoyed following recipes and trying to make something pretty,” said Natasha.

“When I got a bit older I took over, I started to take the reins from my mum and tell her what to buy.”

Natasha Sealy and previous MasterChef winner, Simon Wood. Picture: BBCNatasha Sealy and previous MasterChef winner, Simon Wood. Picture: BBC

Natasha, who buys two or three recipe books a month, says rather than have a preference for one particular cuisine, “a lot of my cooking is quite ad hoc, with unusual flavours. My boyfriend is my guinea pig!

“I like French, I also like Vietnamese and Bajan, a mix of everything.”

For her boyfriend, who she lives with, she makes a lot of stews, slow cooks and they enjoy having friends around for barbecues.

Initially, Natasha had imagined going on a programme like MasterChef aged 40 or so, after settling down. But now only 32, she has found herself down to the last 10 after deciding to apply last year on a whim.

MasterChef contestants, Thomas, Natasha, Jasmeet, former winner Simon Wood, Claire and Beverley. Picture: BBCMasterChef contestants, Thomas, Natasha, Jasmeet, former winner Simon Wood, Claire and Beverley. Picture: BBC

After MasterChef, Natasha likes the idea of either getting experience of working in a professional kitchen, or supper club or private dining. She has also researched doing a street food truck.

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“I do like hosting parties and serving people and I had looked into doing that. I guess we’ll see where this takes me, having the experience of working in a professional kitchen. I did really enjoy that although it was incredibly stressful!” she explained. “If you can do your own menu, more like private dining or supper club, you have a bit control and it’s more intimate.”

Natasha described a great sense of solidarity between contestants on the show.

“I hit it off with the other contestants. It’s an unusual exclusive experience, only they can understand it. Automatically you become really close – even though you might not know anything else about them apart the fact that they’re cooking and they’re scared too!”

“It’s more a competition with yourself, I wasn’t even seeing it as competing with the others,” she said.

She describes judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace as making the contestants feel comfortable and relaxed, even as they feel like rabbits in the headlights on their kitchen counter islands.

“All you can do is hope that they like what you do!”

Although Natasha says she got most of her inspiration from her family, and from trying out recipes and experimenting, she admires the work of Kerth Gumbs, head chef at the Ormer restaurant in the Flemings Hotel.

Having said this, when she’s not dining at Mayfair’s finest, she’s partial to some simple fried chicken, naming it her desert island must-have.

“It’s really bad isn’t, not even something posh!”

Don’t worry Natasha - we can relate.

From 6,000 applicants, Natasha made it to the final 10, but unfortunately on Monday April 6, her journey on MasterChef came to an end. MasterChef continues tonight, Wednesday April 8 at 9pm on BBC One.


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