MasterChef joint winner Keri Moss was born and bred in Erith. After blazing to victory on MasterChef: The Professionals 2012, she spoke to our reporter GEORGE SARGENT about why she became a chef and what Erith means to her.
Where did you live and go to school?
I grew up in Church Road and I went to Picadee School in Erith, now Trinity School.
What is your favourite place in Erith?
The Waterfront. On summer Sundays my mum and dad used to get us drinks at the Running Horses and we used to play there.
Why did you become a chef?
Because of my mum. I would come home from school and my mum would always be cooking so I would watch her and try and help out.
That’s how it first started. I still can’t make bread pudding or pastry like my mum!
What kind of food did she make?
She cooks traditional British, hearty food. My dad had an allotment and he would bring veg home and mum would make something from that. And there were always cakes at home.
What do you cook for yourself at home?
I eat a lot of giova which are very healthy Asian dumplings which are steamed. And I do like Eggs Benedict with Cheese and black pepper muffins from Sainsbury’s. They are perfect for the weekend.
What made you apply for the show?
I just thought ‘why not just give it a go’? I did it for an extra challenge. I never thought I’d get through, I applied on a whim.
Has the show tested you?
It got very, very tough. Especially since the quarter finals. The standard just got better and better because we were all so driven to produce the best we could do.
What have been your highlights?
Working at Tom Kerridge’s place really changed how I thought about food. The refinement of it really changed my way of thinking.
Also the chefs’ table. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of that.
What did it feel like cooking for your heroes?
Anton Mosimann and Michel Roux Senior are the greats so when they say amazing things you just can’t believe they are talking about you! It’s hard to take in.
What are the judges really like?
Michel Roux, you just want to hug him all the time, he is just adorable. And Greg is hilarious.
Monica, as scary as she may seem on camera, is one of the nicest woman. She’s very complimentary, helpful and just so proud of us.
How does it feel to have won?
“I’m so proud of myself, this just surpasses everything I’ve done. I’ve worked really, really hard to get where I am now so I’m so happy.”
Have you had more attention now?
There has been a lot. I’ve been stopped in the supermarket, in WH Smith, at the train station, on the tube, on the bus.
A train driver today stopped the train as it was pulling away and said: ‘Oh my god, you’re that girl that was on MasterChef! You did so well. We’re really proud of you.’ I was just so surprised. The feedback has been great.
What’s it like to be one of Erith’s most famous people?
It’s a little but surreal but hopefully I’ve done them proud. I’ve had some great feedback from people I know in Erith. I feel really proud of myself.
So what’s next?
I’m looking into getting a little restaurant in London or the south east. It will be for everybody using our great British produce. It’s really exciting.