Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

MasterChef man learning on the job

Larkin Cen, far left, is one of the four semi-finalists in this year's Masterchef competition

A solicitor who has reached the final stages of this year's MasterChef has confessed that he rarely cooked before joining the fiercely competitive BBC One show.

Larkin Cen, 28, has made the semi-final alongside recruitment consultant Dale Williams, 28, finance worker and DJ Natalie Coleman, 29, and housewife Saira Hamilton, 38.

All four will be whittled down to a final three on Friday night.

The Cardiff-born solicitor told the Radio Times that his success on the culinary show came despite the fact that "I hardly ever cook.

"I find it difficult to fit in around work. I've surprised a lot of my friends and family because they've never seen me behind a stove," he said.

The contestant, whose parents have a Chinese takeaway, said: "I was always interested, though: I remember watching my mum chopping away, soaking it all up.

"I daydream all the time about food and dishes I'd like to do, but my ideas rarely make it onto a plate. I have a good palate, what I didn't have is experience or techniques.

"Before I applied for MasterChef, I'd never made a dessert in my life. So I've had to teach myself a lot along the way."

MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace told the magazine that some of the early winners would not have done so well on the more recent series because standards have improved so much.

"All respect to people like Thomasina Miers, our first winner, but I don't think she'd win MasterChef nowadays," he said. "The knowledge and skill of the contestants is rising, year after year."

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