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 Hannah Gregory says appearing in the BBC’s MasterChef food challenge was incredibly rewarding, though not all the judges were kind
joy as I can – it’s a lot easier to pull yourself out of bed in the morning when you genuinely have something to look forward to. Cooking is a huge part of that.
I think your partner has been a big help behind the scenes?
He is! We are complete opposites - he balances me out. He is so level-headed and calm and I have tendencies to be slightly all over the place. I get frustrated with him for being so laid back but it is definitely what is needed in our relationship. It also helps that he is the world's best sous chef so I get cheap labour at my supper clubs.
Did ME/CFS fatigue hold you back while competing in MasterChef?
I don’t think it held me back, in fact, if anything, it drove me forward - I wanted to be able to say ‘I have ME/CFS and I maintained a full time job and competed on MasterChef’. I wanted to prove to myself that anything is ‘do-able’ - I just had to shape my lifestyle to make it work.
What was that experience like. Can you tell us about Gregg Wallace and John Torode?
I have watched and idolised the show for 10 years so to be in the MasterChef kitchen, with John and Gregg was just a dream come true. But it’s not very dreamlike because you are under the most pressure, thinking “I just want this dish to work, I really want to get through to the next round and I hope my make-up hasn’t run”. The nerves are huge - when you line up to go back into the studio after you have cooked to hear if you are through to the next round. It is like lining up for a rollercoaster. John and Gregg are the kindest, nicest, most knowledgeable people. John said to me “your biggest threat in this competition is your own self- doubt” and he was so right, it has really stuck with me. To have the pair of them telling me that I am a good cook has given me so much confidence and I will always be grateful for that.
I think ex-Waitrose editor William Sitwell
wasn’t very flattering?
Ah, William. He did not like my tofu and I can’t say I blame him to be honest. I’m yet to meet anyone who really likes tofu. I have a lot of respect for him. He says it how it is but does so with a certain wit and charm - that’s my kind of man.
But you reached the quarter final stage so that must have been very satisfying and rewarding?
Incredibly rewarding. I would have loved to go all the way to the end, anyone who enters that competition and says otherwise is lying.
But, in a funny way, I think it has worked out quite well leaving the competition when I did as it has given me even more drive to succeed as a cook.
Was it a big learning experience from both a food and cooking perspective, as well as being in the public eye/on camera?
Yes - I picked up so many tips and tricks through the whole journey, I was ‘
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