The Samoan-born MasterChef judge describes her perfect day – and why now seems like her time…
◆ It’s my ninth year on MasterChef:The Professionals, but Marcus Wareing and I keep finding amazing talent. This year we have a mixed bag of mostly young chefs and some of them just take off. But you can never predict from year to year what the chefs will be cooking. One year they were all smoking food, then they were cooking in paper bags, then playing with chemistry sets. ◆ My favourite line from MasterChef fans is always “You’re much nicer in person” and “Is Marcus really as scary as he is?” and I always answer, “Yes, Marcus is as scary as he seems!” I think it does surprise people that in person I’m quite maternal. I can’t show too much of that on MasterChef, but I do give hugs out and console the contestants when the cameras are off. ◆ In March this year my husband and I opened our own restaurant, Mere, which is a dream come true. We wanted to do it 10 years ago, but then I got pregnant, so it’s my time to open now; that’s when it was meant to be. At the same time I have a great television career, which a lot of chefs would love to have as well, so I feel very grateful, even if I am working flat out. As long as you enjoy what you’re doing, exhaustion’s not an issue.
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the show MASTERCHEF:THEPROFESSIONALS IS CURRENTLY ON TUESDAYS, WEDNESDAYS AND THURSDAYS AT 8PM ON BBC TWO