Nine amateur cooks have made it to the semi-finals of MasterChef.
Among them are a hospice volunteer, garment technologist and rugby liaison officer.
These are their best quotes.
Hospice volunteer Beverley, 61, from Kent
“I have watched MasterChef since the day it started and I have thought – I can do that, I am good enough.
“I applied 13 years ago after my husband had a liver transplant. I didn’t get a place and then suffered some years of ill health. Then at 61, with all the kids out of home, I felt – why not – so here I am. I have never regretted a thing.
“It’s thrilling to get through to the semi-finals, and the experience has been amazing.”
Insurance product development manager Charlotte, 34, from North Wales
“In my mid-20s I was very keen for my now husband to propose to me, so I thought I would start showing him what an amazing wife I would be.
“Given his love for food, I started to be a lot more adventurous in the kitchen. What started as a cunning plan ended up igniting what is now my most passionate hobby.
“It obviously worked and we were married a couple of years later.”
Graphic designer Jasmeet, 37, from Slough
“I enjoy watching all kinds of TV chefs, from MasterChef to Jamie Oliver, to Nigella Lawson to the Indian and Pakistani chefs on international channels and YouTube.
“And instead of treasuring particular cookbooks, I have lots of keepsake notes, saved recipes from YouTube, and bookmarked pages from lots of websites. It’s nice to be able to collate ideas from all over the place.”
Banking and international finance worker Thomas, 32, from London
“My love for food started after travels to Greece and Spain, experiencing the Mediterranean diet for the first time.
“I can remember the first time trying freshly grilled fish and tzatziki right by the sea, and then I realised what food was all about.
“I love to understand why and how ingredients are cultivated where they are, the people that farm them, how food then influences the culture, the origin of recipes – that’s why I love the classics.
“Understanding process and ratios is very important for me. It’s as much about the chemistry as it is about the passion and art. ”
Cybercrime and fraud prevention worker David, 31, from London
“My love for cooking only started three years ago when I tried a celeriac puree during my first ever visit to a fine dining restaurant. I didn’t even know what a celeriac was, never mind how to cook it. From that moment on, I was on a personal mission to learn more about food.
“I used my artistic background, which I had developed whilst studying fine art at Leeds University, to create beautiful looking and tasty dishes. Having worked in banking for seven years, expressing very little creativity, I’ve finally found my new art, in cooking.”
Technology consultant Sandy, 24, from Reading
“With an equal understanding of Western and Eastern cuisine, I would like to introduce foreign cuisines to the public. I would like to show people in China how to make a shepherd’s pie or Szechuan spicy chicken for people in the UK.
“I would love to train properly in both France and Japan. Then complete a food tour along the Silk Road starting from China for a year. By that time, I think I will be a good chef.
“I’m currently considering a change in my career path to the culinary industry.”
Garment technologist Natasha, 32, from Essex
“I love cooking for people and pleasing them with my food. I especially love hosting BBQs, cooking big joints of meat and making my own marinades and sauces.
“I love to learn new recipes and I usually buy cookbooks every month, but also use Pinterest as inspiration to try and make my own recipes.”
Rugby player liaison officer Christian, 36, from Northampton
“When I left home, I was thrown in at the deep end, so to speak.
“The biggest awakening came as an academy player at Sale Sharks when we were sent to work in a hotel on our day off for eight weeks.
“Working in the kitchens, we were taught how to cook basics and practise good hygiene. It really awakened a sense that I could cook better food.”
Interior design and landscape artist Claire, 35, from London
“I’ve wanted to do MasterChef for some time, and always talked about it. I’m single and whilst all my friends are married and having children, I wanted to do something for me.
“My best friend said to go for it… and I did. I was honestly shocked when I got through to the semi-finals.
“The level of competition was so high, and I was amazed to even get through the first few rounds. I’m also my harshest critic.”