13 March 2019
The Nurtured Way

MasterChef 2019 Chefs – Maria Volkova

This year, Maria Volkova 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.

Maria was born in Russia but grew up in Cornwall. She moved to London for University and now live’s in Camberwell, working for a specialist legal firm as a HR officer. Maria enjoy’s her job but always look’s forward to coming home from work to cook – it’s how she channel’s her creativity.

We spoke to Chef Maria to find out more about her experience on the BBC1 show…

What was the reason in taking part in MasterChef ?

I’ve always been a foodie. My boyfriend and friends encouraged me to apply as I never stop talking about food and constantly posting pictures of my meals. I was shocked to get the call to be honest, as I knew I was competing with over 6,000 people.


Is there a way to handle the criticism from the judges?

Remembering that food is subjective is the main thing – in the round where I cooked for ex-contestants, I was surprised at how conflicting the feedback was when I watched it. Some raved about my dish while another didn’t enjoy it, but you can’t please everyone as we all have different tastes.


What is the atmosphere like in the kitchen cooking alongside other chefs?

In my heat, all the contestants were all really supportive of each other and it didn’t feel like a competition. I was genuinely gutted to see some people go in the first couple of rounds as you’re spending quite a bit of time with them in between filming.


What is your approach to the imagination and creation of your dishes?

I’m not a big follower of recipes. I love to play around with ingredients and try techniques I’ve seen used in restaurants. My favourite thing to do at the weekend is to go to a food market, pick up some ingredients that catch my eye and try and come up with a new dish from it. Like my very own MasterChef market challenge!


What is your cooking style and what can people expect from your food?

I take inspiration from different cuisines and don’t have a specific style although I love Asian flavours. I value how food is presented quite a lot, so far for me it’s making the plate look pretty, modern and intricate.


Has there been any downsides?

For me it was being unable to practice as I was on holiday in Japan pretty much the whole time between finding out I was on the show and the filming starting. Saying that, it made me use my intuition and the cuisine in Japan really inspired me when creating my dishes.


Would there be anything you would change so far and would you recommend to a friend?

Don’t compare yourself to the other cooks in the competition as that will only make you lose your confidence. Everyone has different style and strengths, be true to your own!