Belfast Telegraph

MasterChef final 12 turn up heat

An ex-doorman, a woman studying for a PhD in quantum physics, a plasterer and a Marks & Spencer sales assistant have made it through to the MasterChef final 12.

The contestants have been whittled down from 24 this week, and will face each other for the first time on next Tuesday's BBC1 show.

They will have to cook for a selection of previous MasterChef winners, as well as last year's finalists.

The final 12 include Emma Russell, 30, from London, who was a contestant on Junior MasterChef when she was 14.

Now a charity programme manager, she said her job had taken her in a different direction.

But she said: "Desserts are my strong point and I bake every week."

Another contestant, Jay Tinker, 40, from Southport, is a security director who says he picked up a few tips from his Chinese ex-wife.

Also competing will be Iranian-born Afsaneh Kaviani, 50, from Leeds, a widowed sales assistant with three sons. She said: "During the many difficult times in my life, my kitchen has been my sanctuary."

The show will feature Tom Rennolds, 26, a plasterer from Silsden, west Yorkshire; Ashvy Dale, 34, a doctor at an A&E centre; Andrew Kojima, 32, a research analyst from London; and Aki Matsushima, 25, a PhD student in quantum physics from London.

The other finalists are account director Jonathan Dale, 34, from London; Matthew Frost, 30, a mechanical engineer from Norfolk; Shelina Permalloo, 29, a former diversity manager from London; Charlie Wethered, 23, an advertising intern from London, and Eamonn Hunt, 47, specialist joiner, from Lincolnshire.

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