by LAUREN CODLING
A SEMI-FINALIST on the BBC’s MasterChef has reflected on his time on the popular cookery show following his elimination last week.
Jasmeet Dial impressed viewers with his Asian-inspired cuisine, including his Vegan Aubergine 3 Ways Thali dish. The meal saw him being crowned ‘Cook of the Day’ after it won over MasterChef judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode and food critic William Sitwell.
Despite his success, the Slough-based chef admitted he was “disappointed” to be eliminated from the TV show a week before the final on Friday (17).
“There was a certain element of disappointment that I didn’t reach the final, but I am so pleased with the achievement overall that I was one of the final seven contestants,” he told Eastern Eye last Thursday (9).
“That is an amazing achievement.”
Keen to support his fellow competitors, who he has described as “close friends” and “extended family”, Dial promised to watch the final rounds when they air on BBC One this week. “I’m rooting for everyone,” he said. “They are all amazing chefs and all deserve to be there.”
The 37-year-old described the experience as something he would “truly remember and cherish” for the rest of his life. Having been a fan of the show before he applied to appear, it was “great” to meet Wallace and Torode, who have hosted the programme since 2005.
Although Dial admitted he had always had a passion for cooking, he lacked confidence. It was only when his wife Kamaldeep kept encouraging him to apply for the show that he sent in his application.
“We’ve been married for more than nine years, which means she’s been eating and trying my food for a long time,” he laughed. “She just kept telling me to apply.”
Since his appearance on the show, Dial revealed the level of positive feedback he had acquired from the judges – and on social media –had given him a “boost of confidence”.
However, the graphic designer is uncertain whether he wants to carve out a career in the culinary business. “At the moment, I’m not sure,” he said. “Applying to appear on MasterChef was just a passion for cooking at home. To take it forward, it’s a little bit unknown, but I would like to use the platform to do something in the future.”
Citing his mother as one of his biggest influences in the kitchen, Dial said he has been cooking for around 15 years. His love of cooking started at home when he was studying at university. At weekends, he would be given responsibility in the kitchen and would cook for his family. “It sparked my love and interest in food and my passion for cooking grew from there,” he recalled.
As MasterChef was filmed late last year, Dial admitted it was “slightly odd” watching the series now – especially as the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way of life across the world. “It has definitely been a bit strange watching the series at the moment,” the father-of-two said. “But the other contestants and I are taking it as a positive – people are at home, watching the show and they are getting familiar with the people on MasterChef.”
Being in lockdown means that Dial has been juggling working full-time, as well as looking after his two daughters Priyana and Jesryn. But it has also given Dial the chance to practise his cooking and keep up with his new-found fame.
His Instagram account @jasmeetcooks has more than 1,800 followers and has continued to grow since his appearance on the show. “It has been pretty busy on all fronts,” he laughed. “But I’ve been trying to cook as much as I can – that will definitely continue. Cooking is my passion so that will not ever stop.”
MasterChef, The Finals, airs on Wednesday (15), Thursday (16) and Friday (17) at 7.30pm, BBC One. The series is available on iPlayer.