Q&A: Paralympian Stef Reid on swapping athletics for MasterChef
CELEBRITY MasterChef 2018 contestant Stef Reid is a double Paralympic silver medallist and the reigning world champion in the T44 long jump. Born in New Zealand and brought up in Toronto, Canada, she has strong Scottish roots thanks to a Glaswegian father.
Reid, 33, took up para-athletics after she lost her right foot in a boating accident as a teenager. She competes for Great Britain and is married to Canadian T53 wheelchair racing star Brent Lakatos who is a Paralympic gold medallist and 11-time world champion.
Tell us about your cooking background?
When you are an athlete, unless you have the means to employ a full-time private chef, you need to learn how to cook. The only way to control what you eat is to make it yourself. The further down the road I’ve gone in my career, the more important food has been as a performance tool. MasterChef was an opportunity to take that to another level. I wanted to become a better cook.
Does being an athlete change your approach to the show?
It is easy to make something taste delicious when you load it with butter and salt. I have never cooked that way. I come home starving after training and I don’t care how it looks. Being on the show has challenged me to think about food differently.
You grew up in Toronto – a city with a real melting pot of cuisines – did that have an influence?
At my school there was a heavy Asian influence with people from China and Korea, so a lot of that food is familiar to me. I had friends with roots in the Middle East, such as Egypt or Armenia, and would go over to their houses to eat. I have always had different influences and I like exotic food.
Your father is from Glasgow. Has he introduced you to any Scottish delicacies?
He did try to sell me haggis, but it never quite worked. The one thing that sticks was when we would go to the Scottish bakery in Toronto and would have square sausages on a delicious roll. Then, if we were really lucky, my dad would bring home some Irn-Bru occasionally.
It’s date night. What’s on the menu?
The real winner from MasterChef is my husband Brent. Now if we have a date night, I would maybe do some duck with a fancy sauce. Perhaps a beef Wellington.