'Exciting learning curve': Plaistow accountant talks MasterChef semi-finals

Newham resident on MasterChef

Letitia has made the final ten, after six weeks of competition saw 40 of the country's best amateur cooks put through their paces by judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace. - Credit: Endemol Shine

A talented cook from Plaistow has reached the semi-finals of this year's MasterChef.

Letitia Tish's performance in the penultimate round is set to hit TV screens on Thursday (April 1), with the 32-year-old refusing to reveal spoilers to the Recorder: "I can't say too much, but what I will say is that this has been such an exciting learning curve - I've improved a lot, particularly on timings."

The accountant confessed she applied for the show on a whim, having been a fan for most of her life: "Being in lockdown sort of inspired the idea. I was cooking more, experimenting more and I just thought I’d go for it.”

Employing a nothing ventured, nothing gained approach, Letitia was shocked to receive a phone call months later to say she was going to appear on the show: "The reality didn’t really set in until I arrived at the studios to film – that was a bit surreal."

Newham resident on MasterChef 2021

Newham resident Letitia Tish, a semi-finalist in MasterChef 2021, set to air next week on BBC One. - Credit: Endemol Shine

After surviving a number of brutal heats, the mum-of-one has made it to the final ten.

She has managed this while juggling a day job and taking care of her 11-year-old daughter.

Maintaining normality during the filming process was important to Letitia, as was simply enjoying the experience: "It was a little bit stressful, especially preparing and managing the timings.

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"But on the actual day of filming the challenges, I took myself to my happy place. When I’m in a good mood my food always tastes better.” 

Finding this happiness wasn't a challenge for the chef, who has loved cooking since she was young: "When I was three or four I asked my parents for a food processor – not many kids ask for that!” 

Regular visits to her grandparents' house allowed that passion to thrive, with Letitia's love of all things culinary enduring ever since.

Plaistow chef on MasterChef

Letitia said the entire experience was a huge learning curve, with the chef valuing how much she learned from her fellow contestants. - Credit: Endemol Shine

With the semi-finals all this week, Letitia is keeping schtum about the outcome. 

"You meet so many other fantastic talented cooks in this process who all have their own specialties," she said. 

"When we were waiting to film we’d speak to each other and have a laugh. I learned so much from that, and really enjoyed myself too."

MasterChef continues tonight (Monday, March 29) at 9pm on BBC One.