A BELFAST Beer Bike Tour guide will participate in this year’s MasterChef series.
Rachel Newhouse (22), from Derry, hopes to find her way to success when she cooks in the first episode of the hit BBC One TV show tonight.
With a love of “using interesting ingredients”, including nettles from the garden, Ms Newhouse is one of 45 home cooks aiming to impress judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace and win the right to wear a coveted MasterChef apron.
“I never thought I would be on the show and even getting the chance to cook for John and Gregg is such an achievement,” she said.
Over the next seven weeks, Torode and Wallace will put the passionate and talented home cooks to the test, with new challenges this year for fans to overcome to progress in the competition.
Their first test is an audition – where the top three cooks automatically earn a MasterChef apron – guaranteeing their place in the competition.
To give them every chance of succeeding, the judges ask them to audition while cooking their signature dish.
But Torode and Wallace won’t be watching them cook in the MasterChef kitchen, instead they’ll taste every dish in the new MasterChef tasting room and judge each contestant’s food solely on the plate in front of them.
After tasting all nine plates, the judges will choose their three favorite dishes, giving these cooks a MasterChef apron and immunity to cooking in the next round.
However, for the remaining six candidates, the competition is not over.
They all have another chance to impress the judges by creating another signature dish and will be watched by Torode and Wallace. Only four cooks will be able to join the three already accelerated for the next set of challenges.
Ahead of tonight’s episode, Ms Newhouse, who lives with her fiancé in Belfast, shared the inspiration behind her cooking and why she decided to enter the MasterChef competition.
“I love using interesting ingredients,” she said.
“My dad once drove 80 miles to drop off fresh nettles from his garden for me to cook.
“My grandmother was a baker by trade and my mother is a fantastic cook. My fiancé’s mother was a chef when she was young and she has definitely been my main inspiration for cooking.”
She added: “I thought of getting into MasterChef as a personal challenge to test my limits and prove to myself that I could actually cook.
“I never thought I would be on the show and even getting the chance to cook for John and Gregg is such an achievement, especially at my age.”
MasterChef is on BBC One tonight at 8 p.m.