Masterchef winner talks about her Hackney links
- Credit: PA
A part-time DJ from Hackney who was crowned MasterChef champion last week said winning is “like a fairytale”.
Natalie Coleman became the third woman to triumph on the BBC One show in nine years with a winning menu featuring dishes of lobster and pork.
Natalie, who works as a credit controller, was told over a week ago by judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace that she was “destined for great things”.
The 29-year-old, who was born in Hackney and moved to Chingford at the age of five before moving back at the age of 21, said: “This is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.
“It’s like a fairytale really, the girl from Hackney done good.”
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Viewers of the BBC1 show have watched Natalie battle through from 50 contestants to the final three over the past eight weeks.
Speaking to the Gazette about the experience, Natalie said she never expected to win, saying: “I just wanted to get through to the next round. Winning was a bit of a shock.”
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During the series, she said she spent all her time at Borough and Broadway markets preparing and writing recipes. Her grandfather, who is Irish and lives in Hackney, was the guinea pig for her culinary experiments.
Natalie learned to cook from her late Irish grandmother, who worked at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hackney Road.
Recalling childhood memories of learning how to make fayre such as fairy cakes, she said: “Food brings back happy memories.
She remembers wanting to be a chef at the age of 15, but then later “went off the idea”.
Her mum advised her to do something in finance as she was good at maths, which is how she ended up in her job as a credit controller.
Describing her job, she said: “I’m quite good at what I do, but it’s not what I love.”
Natalie, who also DJs at a techno/house night Mooch at various east London venues including Cargo and Dalston Superstore, said she was also “packing up DJing” to focus on a culinary career.
She plans to work across different kitchens across London, saying “I want a permanent job in a kitchen.”
Talking about her favourite places to eat in Hackney, she mentioned Tramontana Brindisa in Curtain Road, Shoreditch, and “the stretch of Vietnamese restaurants in Kingsland Road”.
“Hanoi Cafe is my favourite”, she added.
If she could cook for any three people, actresses Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Kathy Burke would be at the top of her list. “I would have to write special recipes as it would be a special meal”, she said.
n Natalie will be appearing at the BBC Good Food show at NEC Birmingham in June and a MasterChef: The Finalists recipe book will be out in stores this October.