This year, Jilly McCord takes on MasterChef cooking and competing through a variety of heats, quarter finals and knockouts until the ultimate winner is crowned. Gregg Wallace and John Torode judge the dishes being served – with all the action, tantrums, successes and burning disasters caught on camera. The winner goes away with a trophy and the prestige of being The MasterChef of the series.
Jilly McCord is originally from the border area of Scotland from a place called Langholm. She works as a history and politics teacher at Dollar Academy which is a school in Clackmannanshire and currently lives in Edinburgh.
We spoke to Chef Jilly to find out more about her experience on the BBC1 show…
What was the reason in taking part in MasterChef ?
I applied to MasterChef on a bit go a whim after years of watching it and people telling me I should go on. I really didn’t think it would take me this far!
Is there a way to handle the criticism from the judges?
The judges are very fair and if they do criticise it is for a good reason. I was more annoyed with myself if I messed something up and then the judges giving me confirmation on something I already knew. They are also very supportive and really care about the contestants and the show.
What is the atmosphere like in the kitchen cooking alongside other chefs?
The MasterChef kitchen is a pretty daunting place, but I loved it. The other contestants were great and I know I have made friends for life. It was really refreshing to meet people just as enthusiastic about food as I am.
What is your approach to the imagination and creation of your dishes?
The briefs were always interesting and it forced me to be creative. I really enjoyed making up the recipes and think I came up with some good stuff.
What is your cooking style and what can people expect from your food?
The kind of food I love to cook is everything with great ingredients. I love French food and Scottish produce, so a lot of my dishes were influenced by this.
What was your greatest accomplishment during your time on MasterChef?
My best moment was probably my venison dish for the critics. Grace Dent said if she won the lottery she would hire me as a private chef!
Has there been any downsides?
No downsides at all!
Would there be anything you would change so far and would you recommend to a friend?
I would recommend entering MasterChef to anyone. It is tough, but really the most amazing thing I have ever done.