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‘Nothing short of genius’: Suffolk MasterChef contestant Hannah makes quarter finals

PUBLISHED: 19:00 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:21 13 March 2020

MasterChef continues with Hannah’ Gregory of Bury St Edmunds in the quarter final. Picture: MASTERCHEF/BBC

MasterChef continues with Hannah’ Gregory of Bury St Edmunds in the quarter final. Picture: MASTERCHEF/BBC

Archant

A passionate cook from Bury St Edmunds who took the plunge to follow her dream is cooking up a storm in the kitchen as she competes in BBC One’s MasterChef.

Hannah Gregory left MasterChef on April 1 during Knockout Week Picture: BBCHannah Gregory left MasterChef on April 1 during Knockout Week Picture: BBC

Hannah Gregory, 33, a creative producer for music festivals, earned her apron for quarter finals after impressing judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode in the episode on Wednesday, March 11.

Hannah's lamb stew, couscous, hummus, baba ganoush and flat bread were described as 'nothing short of genius' by Gregg, while John was impressed with the skills she managed to demonstrate in a short period of time.

She secured the last quarter final place of the episode after cooking up a porcini-crusted fillet of beef followed by toffee apple cake.

Hannah, who has been a fan of the show for 10 years, said it was 'just a dream' to take part, adding she would be 'eternally grateful' to Gregg and John for boosting her self-esteem.

Hannah (far left) with her fellow contestants in Wednesday's episode Picture: BBCHannah (far left) with her fellow contestants in Wednesday's episode Picture: BBC

'It's given me so much confidence that I was lacking,' she said. 'I think everyone goes into that show as a nervous wreck and I was so self-conscious and really panicking.

'If someone who knows what they are talking about thinks your food is really good then it gives you self-belief.'

At the start of last year Hannah thought: 'I don't know what to do with my life,' so went travelling with a friend who encouraged her to 'just apply, see what happens'.

'It was one of those things,' Hannah said. 'I applied, and then I had a telephone call and then an audition, and it just snowballed really.'

She said filming the show had been all-consuming with rehearsing or thinking about her next dish, but made her realise cooking was something 'I could do every day for the rest of my life and not get bored of it'.

At home with her partner she is very much the cook, hosting dinner parties and serving up three-course meals at the weekend.

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'I think my boyfriend thought he had struck gold when we got together,' she joked.

She credits famous TV chef Jamie Oliver for inspiring her love affair with food after he burst onto the scene when she was about 12 and she met him at a book signing.

'I was completely blown away by him,' she said. 'I had been brought up by a family where you sat down for dinner and it's all formal. He reinvented the wheel, and did it with cocky charm.'

Hannah, who is keen to work professionally with food, said her travels around the world were a huge influence on the dishes she creates.

This has certainly come across on MasterChef, which was filmed last year.

She described being involved as 'one of the best experiences of my life'.

'It was so much better than I could have ever imagined it would be. You are there for such a concentrated period of time, for long days, and when you are not filming you are in the green room with the other contestants.

'We became this little unit so we just want each other to succeed. It's weird because you are competing against each other, but you want each other to do well.

'I think the friends I have made on the show are going to be lifelong friends.'

Hannah will watch tonight's episode with friends. But there won't be any cooking involved - she said it's time for a takeaway.

Hannah's Instagram handle is @WanderSups

MasterChef is on BBC One at 8pm.

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