Chariya Khattiyot has been named MasterChef Champion, making her the 19th amateur cook to claim the coveted title on BBC One’s prestigious cooking competition.
After seeing off 44 other ambitious contestants, Chariya triumphed against the exceptional remaining finalists, Anurag Aggarwal and Omar Foster, during Thursday evening’s show.
Chariya, 40, a master coffee roaster before taking part in the show, was subsequently awarded the revered MasterChef trophy by judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace.
Reacting to her win, she said: ‘This is unbelievable. It means the world, the sun, the moon and everything to me. I don’t think anything can top this. I’m so happy!
‘This just proves that if you dream something and you work really hard and you never give up, you can get it. That’s what my grandad said to me – never give up. He would be so proud of me!’
Well done: Chariya Khattiyot has been named MasterChef Champion, making her the 19th amateur cook to claim the coveted title on BBC One’s prestigious cooking competition
All yours: On an emotional night, both judges also shed a tear as they announced this year’s winner
On the very emotional night, both judges also shed a tear as they announced this year’s winner, with Chariya sweetly apologising as they all became overcome with emotion.
Torode said: ‘Chariya’s food has always been honest and from the heart. It’s always exciting, it’s always unusual and it’s always been beautiful and addictive.
‘And not just punchy, exciting Thai flavours that we saw at the start, but also exceptional, innovative and exciting technique all the way through. A proper master.’
Co-host Wallace added: ‘Chariya is outstanding and one of the best MasterChef contestants I can remember. Chariya has delighted and amazed me in equal measure.
‘Some of her creations are absolutely beautiful – almost with an artist’s touch. She is one of the most creative, skilful cooks I’ve seen on MasterChef for a long, long time.’
Delighted viewers were quick to take to Twitter to gush over her victory, with some admitting they were reduced to tears, while others called it the best final in years.
One person wrote: ‘What an amazing series this has been. What a worthy winner Chariya was. Her food was top notch all the way through.’
Another said: ‘That has got to be the best #MasterChef final in years. All three were brilliant.’
Streets ahead: After seeing off 44 other ambitious contestants, Chariya triumphed against the exceptional remaining finalists, Anurag Aggarwal and Omar Foster
Thrilled: Delighted viewers were quick to take to Twitter to gush over her victory, with some admitting they were reduced to tears, while others called it the best final in years
Tasty: Chariya’s winning menu started with a Thai Lotus Tuille, filled with Coconut Jelly, Fried King Prawns, Pomelo Fruit Salad, flavoured with Honey, Palm Sugar and Coconut
A third penned: ‘Why am I crying with happiness about a cooking competition,’ while a fourth tweeted: ‘Fantastic result. Well done Chariya! Book me into your restaurant along with Monica please.’
Another added: ‘Absolutely cannot describe what a fab series Masterchef has been.
‘Congrats to Chariya obviously (incredible) but seriously, all three finalists were worthy of a trophy. So, fly free Omar and Anuurag too.’
While someone else gushed: ‘Probably the greatest EVER winner of Masterchef.’
Speaking ahead of the last cook-off, Chariya said: ‘From a little girl who cooked in a kitchen with no walls, to lift that trophy is going to be the story I can tell to inspire a lot of girls who have a hard life. If you work really hard, I’m sure you can achieve something.’
‘You really want to succeed in something, you set a goal and you go for it, that’s what my granddad told me,’ she added.
Thursday’s episode saw the final three take on the most intense challenge of the competition – cooking the best three-course meal of their lives.
Chariya’s winning menu started with a Thai Lotus Tuille, filled with Coconut Jelly, Fried King Prawns, Pomelo Fruit Salad, flavoured with Honey, Palm Sugar and Coconut.
On tasting it, an impressed Wallace said: ‘That’s fabulous. That’s a delicate little morsel, packing a very big punch.’
Ten out of ten: For her main course, Chariya served a traditional Northern Thai ‘Khantoke’ Sharing Platter of Wagyu Sirloin Steak in Hung Lay Curry Sauce, Minced Lamb in a Spicy Tomato and Shrimp Paste, Jackfruit and Scallop Salad, Sticky Rice and Scallop Crisp Crackers
Sweet treat: Chariya finished her menu with her take on Strawberries and Cream – a Strawberry Jelly and Vanilla Cremeux Ring, filled with Macerated Strawberries in Strawberry Liqueur, Pistachio Sponge, Strawberry Shards and a Strawberry and Thai Basil Sauce
Bird’s eye view: The three dishes that helped Chariya win the 2023 MasterChef crown
For her main course, Chariya served a traditional Northern Thai ‘Khantoke’ Sharing Platter of Wagyu Sirloin Steak in Hung Lay Curry Sauce, Minced Lamb in a Spicy Tomato and Shrimp Paste, Jackfruit and Scallop Salad, Sticky Rice and Scallop Crisp Crackers.
‘I could eat that all day long,’ Torode admitted after sampling the dish.
Chariya finished her menu with her take on Strawberries and Cream – a Strawberry Jelly and Vanilla Cremeux Ring, filled with Macerated Strawberries in Strawberry Liqueur, Pistachio Sponge, Strawberry Shards and a Strawberry and Thai Basil Sauce.
The desert was both a nod to the UK and a love of strawberries that stems from her childhood in Thailand, where she would look forward to eating strawberries once a year with her grandfather.
After experiencing her menu, Wallace told Chariya: ‘Since the first time you walked into this kitchen, it’s been dish upon dish of exciting, beautiful food.
‘What I really admire about you is just how hard you work in pursuit of perfection – to really uncover new technique, to find bigger and bigger flavour.
‘Do you know who else has those qualities? Top professional chefs. You are the real deal. You’re an amazing cook.’
Chariya emotionally broke down in tears at the touching feedback, saying that her grandfather would be ‘so proud’, with Wallace reinforcing that he definitely would.
She was sweetly comforted by her co-stars as she cried behind the scenes, appearing overwhelmed by her positive feedback.
Runner-up Anurag also received glowing feedback from the judges for his dishes – a starter of golgappa, a main course of a roast cauliflower curry and a halwa lentil sponge pudding.
Although he missed out on the trophy, Wallace gushed: ‘I find your food highly addictive.’
Inspirational: ‘If you work really hard, I’m sure you can achieve something,’ said Chariya following her win on Thursday evening
Triumph: The Basingstoke based amateur chef conjured up the meal of her life to impress the judges and win this year’s coveted trophy
Well travelled: MasterChef viewers have seen Chariya travel to Istanbul, Turkey, for culinary inspiration during her time on the BBC1 show
While Torode added: ‘You’ve found where your culinary heart truly is.’
Meanwhile, Omar also impressed the judges with a mango and scallop starter, a main course of beef cheek in a black bean and cherry sauce and a parsnip split dessert.
Torode told Omar that he ‘admired’ him for taking a huge risk with his parsnip twist on the standard banana split, while Wallace also heaped praise on it.
Wallace said Omar had challenged their minds and tastes throughout, adding: ‘I hope you walk away from here knowing you are a very special cook.’
A tearful Omar then said: ‘I’ve given everything to this competition, to have the amazing feedback at this end point was perfect, I’ll never forget that.’
MasterChef viewers have seen Chariya travel to Istanbul, Turkey, where she got a taste of centuries-old cuisine, cooking traditional food for discerning locals in their historic village, mentored by one of Turkey’s best known chefs, Refika Birgül.
Then at two Michelin starred Istanbul restaurant, Turk, Chariya was tasked by chef Fatih Tutak to recreate a dish from his celebrated tasting menu during a busy service.
The trip ended with a challenge at one of Istanbul’s most exclusive addresses – Pera House – home to the British Consulate General.
The amatuet chef worked under immense pressure to meticulously create her dessert – a Turkish delicacy of chicken breast pudding, which delighted her lunch guests, including the British Consul General Kenan Poleo, Fatih Tutak and Refika Birgül and the three MasterChef Turkey judges.
The penultimate challenge of the week saw Chariya face the once-in-a-lifetime culinary test of Chef’s Table, hosted at Core – the three Michelin starred restaurant run by one of the most celebrated chefs in the world, Clare Smyth MBE.
Here we go: Chariya is seen serving up another treat during Thursday’s episode of the show
High praise: Both John Torode and Gregg Wallace compared her food to that of any professional chef
On her MasterChef experience, Chariya said: ‘I’ve loved watching MasterChef for many years and decided to enter the competition so I could showcase Northern Thai cuisine.
‘In some ways I’ve been mentally preparing for this for a while. I was initially nervous to cook for John and Gregg, but they were so supportive and they made me want to be the best! I’m also very competitive by nature and I think that’s helped with my mindset in the competition.’
She added: ‘I hope there will be opportunities to work with food and I’m excited about getting experience and turning this love of cooking into a profession.
‘Long term, my dream is to open a restaurant – and eventually multiple restaurants – where I can showcase the food of my homeland in Northern Thailand – and hopefully work towards earning a Michelin star!
‘I want to show the world that Northern Thai food is amazing, because it really is. I just love to see people’s faces light up when they eat my food.’