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In Pictures: Meet the contestants on BBC Three's Young MasterChef

Take a look at the 15 contestants taking part in the first series of BBC Three's Young MasterChef.

Young MasterChef, the latest addition to the MasterChef franchise, arrives in the new year on BBC Three.

The show will feature 15 novice chefs aged between 18 and 25 being put through their culinary paces by Michelin-trained internet star Poppy O'Toole and acclaimed London chef Kerth Gumbs.

With nay a Gregg or John in sight, the rookie cooks will be gradually whittled down until just one is crowned the inaugural Young MasterChef champion.

Scroll on to meet the contestants!



Adriana for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Adriana

Age: 22

From: London via Catembe, Mozambique

Occupation: Engineer

Cooking Style: "I grew up in Mozambique and moved to London when I was six years old. I feel for someone quite young I've experienced lots of different cuisines and foods and this is all reflected in my cooking. I love nothing more than introducing people to the flavours of Mozambican food."

Cooking Idol: "My family. I haven't yet gone to a restaurant that make better food than my family. My parents and sisters all know how to cook, and they always make such delicious food. Everyone's always so excited to come to our family parties because there's always different dishes, all made with so much love. My parents come from a very poor background but they always made sure we all ate delicious homemade food. I am forever grateful and truly inspired and driven by them."



Beth for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Beth

Age: 21

From: Swansea

Occupation: Midwife

Cooking Style: "I love a whole range, the first things I remember making were jam tarts, but then I quickly got into BBQing with my dad when I was a bit older. If I had to say one type of food I'd say quite classic British cooking but I do like to mix it up too. I make food that brings people together as I love how it can help transform how you feel in yourself. I love how food has no limits just by using a few ingredients you can make something sensational."

Cooking Idol: "At home it's my mum, and then celebrity wise, I love watching Gordon Ramsay, Rachel Ray and The Hairy Bikers I've watched them growing up and always tried to copy their recipes when I've been learning to cook. As I've become a little more experienced in cooking I've started putting my own spin on my favourite recipes which I love the challenge of."



Bobby for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Bobby

Age: 19

From: Dunstable

Occupation: Mechanical Engineering Student

Cooking Style: "I cook almost every day. Whether it's a small midday snack, repurposing leftovers, or a full-course meal. The day just doesn't feel right without whipping something up. I make a real effort trying to reduce the amount of food waste I create, after working in kitchens it's so sad to see how much is just thrown away.

"I cook a whole range of food from all different parts of the world. That's one thing I really love about food, how it connects people from all over the globe. Particularly, I love Southeast Asian cooking, it's so fast and really easy to put your own unique spin on it and tastes way better than takeaway!"

Cooking Idol: "It's hard to pick one, I look up to Nadiya Hussain, J. Kenji Lopez Alt and of course my parents. But, I think the main one is Andrew Rea, founder of the YouTube channel Babish Culinary Universe. As an internet chef without any formal culinary training, seeing him improve his skills, create amazing dishes and work alongside chefs with years of experience is inspiring. As well as this, I admire the way he fused his love of TV, movie and video games into his cooking, recreating dishes from them. For me, the most inspirational thing is he still was able to make a career in food even after studying something unrelated at university."



Charlie for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Charlie

Age: 23

From: Coventry

Occupation: Student and DJ

Cooking Style: "I mostly choose to cook food that I know will challenge my skillset and will also impress my family and friends. I offered to cook for a dinner party my parents were hosting when I was 14. I remember making beer-battered prawns with sweet chilli dip, risotto and cheesecake - everything from scratch and I'd never cooked these dishes before. I even own a sous vide that I got from Aldi.

"Because of my low boredom threshold, I like to cook whatever cuisine I'm feeling at that time, anything from egg yolk ravioli from Italy to bao buns from China. My cooking style throughout is quite haphazard. I normally start with an idea of something I want to cook, research recipes then get distracted by more recipes, finally settle on a dish and have a vague idea of how it may turn out. I then go shopping, and then just go for it and hope for the best. I like this method as then I'm not disappointed if it doesn't turn out exactly as intended, as long as it tastes good and looks nice then I'm happy."

Cooking Idol: "I follow A LOT of restaurants, chefs and bloggers on Instagram and so I get inspired by seeing dishes they post. I imagine what the dish would taste like, the ingredients used and processes followed to challenge myself to try to make a similar looking dish at home.

"I really like @essexeats on Instagram as I don't think he's a trained chef but he posts food that he's made at home that looks delicious as though it is from a restaurant. I also love Ottolenghi due to my love of Mediterranean food as he is all about showcasing the highest quality ingredients in a simple way.

"Wherever I get inspiration from I always use this as a starting point and then I research the dish in great detail by searching different recipes, watching YouTube videos and looking at hashtags on Instagram. I then take my favourite elements/techniques/presentation from the sources I've found and try to make my own recipe as I don't like being confined to just one."



Elysse for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Elysse

Age: 24

From: Dundee

Occupation: Social Media Manager

Cooking Style: "For me, food is about family, friends and having a good time. I've cooked since a young age but since having my son my cooking has adapted. I love cooking food that we can enjoy together, family sharing food, that feels comforting and homely when you eat it."

Cooking Idol: "Well I'd have to say Gordon Ramsay! I love his 'straight to the point' attitude and the fact his food always looks so beautiful. He's worked insanely hard for what he's achieved, and I think that's something to be admired."



Jaheel for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Jaheel

Age: 20

From: Streatham via Farnborough

Occupation: Hospitality Worker and Student

Cooking Style: "I cook a whole range of dishes on my social media channels and can be inspired by lots of different things, day or the week, how much time I have, what I've seen recently on TikTok so it really does range. At my heart are Caribbean flavours and I love cooking dishes that showcase thing. Overall I'd say my style is simple, achievable but delicious."

Cooking Idol: "Gordon Ramsay is my idol, I respect his problem solving skills and his determination for helping people become better versions of themselves. His general work ethic is the reason he is my cooking idol."



Jordan for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Jordan

Age: 21

From: Knebworth via Stevenage

Occupation: Vegan Entrepreneur

Cooking Style: "When it comes to the flavours of my food, it's a blend of soul food, and world cuisine. I love vibrant colours, interesting textures and find joy in foraging for my ingredients.

"My overall food ethos is inspired in many ways by the Indian diet and Ayurvedic medicine which originated in India over 3000 years ago. It uses plants and food as medicine, and I like this principle. I try to reflect this in my food and incorporate ingredients with proven natural health benefits eg. ginger, turmeric etc."

Cooking Idol: "I don't have a particular favourite as I take inspiration from lots of chefs. I follow pages on Instagram that post different chefs showing techniques or recipes, like @gronada.eu or @chefs_eye as I feel these give me a wide range of ideas rather than how just one chef does everything.

"From a business side of things, Gordon Ramsay has always been a big inspiration to me. I loved watching Kitchen Nightmares when I was younger and it's amazing to see how he has opened restaurants all over the world.

"There is a small place in London called En Root - an Indian inspired vegan restaurant run by Nish and Harsh, two creative guys whose message is the same as mine! Spreading healthy nourishing food that tastes great and does good for the planet too. I take lots of inspiration from them."



Kara for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Kara

Age: 25

From: Hapton via Blackburn

Occupation: Social Media Assistant

Cooking Style: "I cook everyday for my partner and daughter, so it's so varied in what I cook. When I started to wean my daughter to food I'd try all sorts of cuisines and now she loves food, which I am so grateful for. My partner was such a fussy eater, now he eats all sorts of my homemade cooking! If I had to pin point it, I would say homely, family food with a unique Kara surprise to them!"

Cooking Idol: "My biggest icons are people such as Tommy Banks - who was on Great British Menu - his passion he has for cooking is amazing and I feel I want to progress my career like himself. Who also doesn't love a little bit of Gordon and Gino too!"



Keziah for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Keziah

Age: 21

From: Nottingham via London

Occupation: Law Student

Cooking Style: "I cook every day so I do a whole range. My grandparents and mum taught me a few things when I was younger, but a lot of the recipes I make now are experiments that end up tasting really good. I love comfort food and food inspired by my Caribbean roots. I once made a curried goat pie - it was a mix of Jamaican curry goat and a shepherd's pie so there was creamy mashed potatoes on top. I was proud of dish because it felt like home. Home being the UK with the Shepherd's pie and home because of my Caribbean roots. It was comfort food to the max!"

Cooking Idol: "Definitely my grandparents, especially my grandad. They have a way of making even the simplest dishes taste amazing and so full of flavour, the food in the Caribbean is so fresh and perfectly cooked and I definitely try to achieve this. I draw a lot of my inspiration from social media as well because there's always going to be something you've never seen."



Lea for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Lea

Age: 24

From: Tower Hamlets

Occupation: Lash Artist

Cooking Style: "I like to cook all different types of food but If I had to pick a favourite it would be Indian cuisine as I love playing with different spices and learning more about my Bangladesh heritage. I love experimenting with the dishes that I grew up eating and then adapting them for my friends, family and my son."

Cooking Idol: "From a personal side my mum. My family consists of lots of great cooks but by far my mum stands out to me. She taught me a lot of what I know today and she created the fire in my belly for food and cooking from before I could even remember. In terms of someone I've followed for years, I love Ree Drummond, she has her own cooking show called The Pioneer Woman and her show is all about her cooking for her family. She has so many amazing recipes and tips and tricks, but for me it has to be the atmosphere of being around family in her show and her main purpose for cooking is to put smiles on their faces which again takes me back to my childhood and a big part of why I love cooking."



Myles for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Myles

Age: 19

From: West Bridgford

Occupation: Carer

Cooking Style: "Anything and everything! I love going out to eat food with my friends and then I'll try and recreate it at home. Food is about fun for me, it's about the sociable side of things, just bringing good vibes."

Cooking Idol: "My dad's mum, I remember her homemade curry made using our family spices and naan so vividly as a child. My nana is definitely my cooking idol."



Nathan for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Nathan

Age: 22

From: Leintwardine via Ludlow

Occupation: Acting Student

Cooking Style: "Quite traditional in many ways, I like taking classic dishes and then putting my own take on them. I like classic flavour combinations but then like to introduce different elements and techniques to try and help my food stand out. Essentially, I love good British ingredients cooked in an interesting way."

Cooking Idol: "From a personal level, my beloved nan, she taught me to bake and it's a skill I'm forever grateful for. From a chef side of things, I love Jamie Oliver for his influence on healthy eating. However, I aspire to be like Heston Blumenthal and introduce unusual combinations and use molecular gastronomy in my dishes."



Nazia for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Nazia

Age: 22

From: Birmingham

Occupation: Paediatric Nurse

Cooking Style: "My style of cooking is very diverse. I enjoy cooking a range of different foods from all cuisines. This can vary from a bulgar rice to a hot and sour soup. Although I was brought up in a Bangladeshi household where we love to cook big pots of traditional Bengali foods, I do really enjoy cooking healthy food. I started this journey by changing traditional foods and making it healthier. This was when I began Preppedbynazia, as I wanted customers to eat tasty, homestyle food as well as it being healthy. I also absolutely love to binge on sweet treats to calm the nerves. To bake something in our kitchen always meant that there was something to celebrate. It gave me more of a reason to experiment with ingredients, sweet and savoury."

Cooking Idol: "I loved watching Nadiya Hussain. She has such an infectious personality. Seeing someone from the same background as me doing what she loves doing makes me really happy! I've always supported the fact that a Muslim woman had the confidence to show the world what she loves to do. I really admire her for that. If I can do something like this, then that would be amazing, and I know I will be making the community as well as my family proud."



Oscar for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Oscar

Age: 22

From: Gloucester via Bristol

Occupation: Waiter

Cooking Style: "I like to challenge myself with as many cuisines as I possibly can as each area opens up so many opportunities. I enjoy taking classic recipes and using locally sourced produce and adding my own modern inspiration into my food. The same applies with the food I like to eat I don't say no to anything and I'm just open to experiencing all varieties of food."

Cooking Idol: "My earliest food influencer comes from my first memory of watching MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef to be exact. Look back to 2010 a 11 year old Oscar watching ex Gloucester, England and British and Irish Lion Phil Vickery triumph his way to champion. Coming from a farming and rugby background myself I was in ore watching a legend of the game create such fantastic and delicate food got me hooked.

"Massimo Bottura is a chef who completely re-opened my eyes to what food can be the way he defied the normal and redesigned classical Italian cuisine and the art that he presents on his plates is outstanding. And of course Marcus Wareing is someone I look up to into his style of cooking and with every dish I see him create I tell myself that is the food I want to be able to create. And most importantly I can't forget my dad, the man who brought me up to enjoy and understand great food who helped me respect the ingredients we use and really make each element flourish."



Xavier for Young MasterChef series one© BBC

Xavier

Age: 20

From: Stoke Newington

Occupation: Psychology Student and Content Creator

Cooking Style: "I grew up in a vegetarian household, so this has always inspired by style of cooking, but when I went to university I started to cook a lot more variety. I taught myself to cook these dishes from watching TikTok and YouTube and just by making mistakes.

"I like to cook a whole different types of dishes from Caribbean inspired by my nan's cooking as well as Mexican and North African cuisine. I still cook lots of vegetarian food as this reminds me of the food I grew up with but also travelling and anything with a bit of spice. So like I said, a whole range!"

Cooking Idol: "I have a few, the main one being Gordon Ramsay, I just love his passion he has for food and it really inspires me. Also many social media cooks such as TheGrubWorksKitchen for example. He creates incredible dishes and you can see he genuinely enjoys what he does. That genuine joy inspires me to cook. He constantly displays his versatility and I have been able to learn so much from him by watching his videos."


Young MasterChef begins Monday, January 2 at 8pm on BBC Three.

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