The BBC has revealed some of this year’s MasterChef contestants and there’s a woman from Birmingham included in the lineup.

Fateha will don a MasterChef apron in Heat 1 on the BBC show.

But who is Fateha and why did she enter? Speaking to the BBC, she shared that following her father’s death in 2011, she wanted to be on the show “as a sort of tribute to him.”

Who is MasterChef contestant Fateha from Birmingham?

Fateha is a 41-year-old IT teacher who was born in Birmingham and lives there with her husband and two young daughters.

When asked about her style of cooking, she said: “I enjoy cooking Bengali dishes and like to experiment with other cultural dishes for my family. I love to batch-cook meals. I am so busy with work and looking after my family, so as long as there is a home-cooked meal at the end of the day then everyone is happy.

“My biggest cooking inspiration was my late father, who was a chef and ran his own Indian restaurant in Wolverhampton for over 25 years.”

Fateha described her earliest cooking memory, saying: “I remember as a teenager, I started off learning the basics of a Bengali curry - I had to peel ginger and garlic to make a paste for my mum to cook at home, then learnt how to chop onions.

“I started to cook meals when I was in my early 20s and really enjoyed experimenting with different flavours and infusing Eastern and Western cultures.”

MasterChef turns 20 this year and Fateha says she remembers watching the show as she was growing up.

She said: “MasterChef is very special to me as it was the one show I used to love watching with my father as a child on a Sunday afternoon - back when it was the first version with Lloyd Grossman.

“My father’s commentary was always entertaining to hear when dishes were served as he always used to speak in Bengali with his famous tagline ‘nothing beats Bengali food’.

“I remember, there was one series I watched with my father avidly when the contestants went to India for their Finals Week. This made me realise British culture could and does easily embrace other food cultures; and that I could, as a British-born Bangladeshi, showcase some of my Bengali heritage and culture too.”

Fateha said applying for the show has been on her mind for a long time: “I’ve thought about applying for MasterChef for over 10 years after my father died in 2011.

“It baffled me growing up, why my father cooked Indian dishes at his restaurant and not our Bengali dishes, which are totally different in terms of flavours and use a range of fruits and vegetables unique to Bangladesh. 

“I want to showcase a different type of South Asian food and the variety of Bengali dishes out there. I also wanted to challenge myself and show what my father enjoyed eating at home, that he could not cook at his restaurant.

“I felt like he’ll be with me throughout this surreal and once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m doing this as a sort of tribute to him.”

When asked about her food dream, she said: “I believe cooking is a life skill that everyone should know. I would love to teach people how to cook from scratch using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients.

“I hope to write my own cookbook showcasing British Bengali dishes and I have many ideas about cross-regional and fusion cooking which I have been experimenting with at home kitchen.”

A contestant from Redditch, Worcestershire will be taking part in Heat 2 of MasterChef this year.

Olivia, 21, is a bartender and lives in Worcestershire with her parents and sister.

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How to watch MasterChef 2024

Across eight weeks, judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace will set out to find the UK’s best amateur cook, serving up surprises and extra special occasions along the way.

MasterChef returns for its 20th series on Monday, April 1 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Viewers can watch the second heat on BBC iPlayer from April 1 and on BBC One from 9pm on April 3.