Two talented Welsh amateur chefs will go head to head this week in the battle to secure a place in the prestigious Masterchef final.
Larkin Cen and Dale Williams, both from Cardiff, are among the four chefs looking to win a place in the final three when it is announced on Friday night.
Solicitor Larkin, 28, has made the semi-final of the BBC show alongside recruitment consultant Dale Williams, 28, finance worker and DJ Natalie Coleman, 29, and housewife Saira Hamilton, 38.
The Cardiff-born solicitor told the Radio Times that his success on the culinary show came despite the fact he rarely cooks at home.
“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.”
Meanwhile, fellow contestant Dale said that he was not aiming for a job as a chef.
“I’d like to get into food production or the restaurant trade.
“I’ve a lot of respect and admiration for chefs but it’s never been a desire of mine; I couldn’t do what those guys do and work 15 hours a day in a kitchen,” he said.
Coleman said that she was “addicted to cookery programmes”, admitting that on “some weekends I’d watch them from the minute I woke until I went to bed”, while Hamilton said she was “sad that so many people lack confidence in the kitchen”.
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.”