The BBC has revealed some of this year’s MasterChef contestants and there’s a woman from Worcestershire included in the lineup.

Olivia from Redditch will don a MasterChef apron in Heat 2 on the BBC show.

But who is Olivia and why did she enter? Speaking to the BBC, she shared why she “took the risk and applied” to be on the 2024 series.

Who is MasterChef contestant Olivia from Worcestershire?

Olivia is 21 years old and grew up in Redditch but spent much of her childhood on her uncle’s farm in Eastern Poland.

She left home at 19 and went to work on the tiny island of Carriacou, Grenada where she trained and worked as a scuba diver.

Olivia stayed there for a year and a half and met her boyfriend there but due to mssing her family too much, she moved back home to Worcestershire where she now lives with her parents and sister.

She works as a bartender and her boyfriend visits as often as possible.

When asked about her style of cooking, she said: “I wouldn’t say I have a specific style of cooking, whatever I’m feeling on that day, I’ll usually make. I’d say my creativity flows into my food.

“I’ll always try to make my food full of colour and flavour. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t - but that’s the fun of cooking!

“I’ve had many allergies since I was a baby, but dairy has been the one that defines my cooking the most. I don’t cook with dairy, so Middle Eastern food has been key to my cooking as many staples typically don’t contain dairy products. Mediterranean food, with its colourful dishes and bold flavours, is also a big inspiration.

“My mum switches between being vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian, depending on whether she’s craving an egg or fish - or not. Her tastes influence mine and I will always make a vegan option for her.

“My mum is also the best baker. Her love for cooking and baking has always inspired me. She jokes that I’m the cook and she’s the baker and together we’re pretty cool dinner party hosts.”

Olivia added that her dad “eats anything and everything as long as there’s meat involved”.

MasterChef turns 20 this year and Olivia says she remembers watching the show as she was growing up.

She said: “I’ve grown up watching the show, so it feels surreal that I’m on it. I can’t pinpoint the exact first memory as I was young when the show came out, but I do remember watching the show and thinking ‘how does anyone cook something that looks this good?’

“I think MasterChef has inspired people to take pride in what they cook and has challenged people to step out of their comfort zone and try something new and daring. It’s shown us that celebratory cooking isn’t only for the professionals - us amateurs can cook some pretty good food too.”

Olivia said applying for the show came about when joking around with her parents: “My parents and I were watching MasterChef last year and I joked that I’d be going on the show. My dad said I should actually apply and my mum agreed!

“I’ve always tried to grasp every opportunity given to me with both hands, no matter how scary and intimidating it might be, so I took the risk and applied.

“I was really nervous but in life I always try to have fun, no matter how far out of my comfort zone I get, and I thought this would be a cool story to tell.”

When asked about her food dream, she said: “One day I would love to own my own café or bakery somewhere sunny, preferably by the beach, cooking delicious food with fresh seasonal ingredients.

“It doesn’t get much tastier than that! I would love for it to be a communal space where friends and family get together, either for a quick lunch or a big celebration.

“Life is about the small pleasures, and sharing food with people you love is a joy that I want to spread.”

A contestant from Birmingham will be taking part in Heat 1 of MasterChef this year.

Fateha, 41, is an IT teacher and lives in Birmingham with her husband and two young daughters.

Recommended reading:

How to watch MasterChef 2024

Across eight weeks, judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace will set out to find the UK’s best amateur cook, serving up surprises and extra special occasions along the way.

MasterChef returns for its 20th series from Monday, April 1 at 6.30pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Viewers can watch the second heat (featuring Olivia) on BBC iPlayer from April 1 and on BBC One from 9pm on April 3.