Who are the MasterChef finalists? From vet to circus performer

A fire-breather, a vet, a farmer and a salad seller have all made it to the 20th MasterChef final.

John Torode and Gregg Wallace are judging MasterChef.
John Torode and Gregg Wallace are judging MasterChef. (BBC)

The 2024 MasterChef finals are being served up on TV screens this week. Four cooks remain in the BBC cooking competition battling it out in the kitchen to be named this year's champion.

Past MasterChef winners have gone on to become award-winning chefs, successful food writers and head national restaurant chains. This year the cooking show has celebrated its 20th anniversary on screen and four finalists have made the cut after rounds including controversial comeback week, serving a 20th anniversary banquet to past judges and winners, cooking gourmet dishes on an open forest fire and making a menu from a food they hate.

So who are the final four hoping to claim the title of MasterChef 2024? From a fire-breathing pig to a salad sales person - here's a taste of what to expect from the finalists.

Circus performer Chris was a quarter-finalist in MasterChef 2023. (BBC)
Circus performer Chris was a quarter-finalist in MasterChef 2023. (BBC)

Age: 44

From: Oxfordshire

Chris is a comeback contestant who previously made it to the quarter-finals of MasterChef in 2023. He works as a professional fire-breather and performs dressed-up as a pig. He grew up on a farm, rearing pigs which they ate and keeping chickens for eggs.

He said: "I’ve always been fascinated by cooking. It probably started from watching my grandma cook a great Sunday roast pork and being fascinated by how she would do it and make things taste so nice. Being mindful of where good food comes from is something I learnt at a young age."

Chris lives with his partner Kim, an interior designer, who he has been in a relationship with for seven years. He said: "He has been so supportive throughout my two journeys in MasterChef. He does a lot of the washing up when I’ve been cooking!"

Chris loves travelling and likes to blend Asian ingredients with traditional British recipes. He inspired by classic chefs Mary Berry, Gordan Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, but as a fire breather admits, "I can’t get enough of cooking on flames and open fires."

He aspires to be a food writer and direct his own immersive dining experience. During the theatrical food challenge he wowed John Torode and Gregg Wallace with his fire breathing but upset some viewers with his Jack the Ripper theme.

Salad salesperson Abi has made it to this year's MasterChef final. (BBC)
Salad salesperson Abi has made it to this year's MasterChef final. (BBC)

Age: 22 (21 during filming)

From: Yorkshire

Abi works in sales for her family salads company. She has only been cooking for four years, and admitted: "My cooking was born out of frustration for not being able to spend time enjoying food at restaurants and food markets during lockdown 2020."

She looks for inspiration online and then likes to develop her own recipes. Abi confessed: “My mum pushed me to enter and really believed in me. I was nervous to apply. I knew that it could be a lot of pressure but I wanted to prove to myself that I was talented and it wasn’t family bias!"

Abi, who has been with boyfriend Eddie for seven years, likes to blend Asian flavours with French techniques and dreams of travelling to Japan to cook. her speciality is her beef tataki.mShe said: "My mum is a great cook, my dad loves to BBQ, but my mum has always told me I got my cooking abilities from my nana, who was a natural."

MasterChef finalist Brin works as a vet. (BBC)
MasterChef finalist Brin works as a vet. (BBC)

Age: 29 (28 during filming)

From: Essex, lives in Bristol

Brin moved to Bristol to study to become a vet at university, and there he also discovered a love of cooking. He said: "My love for food and cooking started to properly develop when I went to university. My student budget didn’t allow for fancy food, so I wanted to learn to make delicious meals myself without breaking the bank." Brin's parents grew up in Sri Lanka and he says their influence brings flavour to his cooking.

Brin confessed: "I’ve watched MasterChef for as long as I can remember. The show is one of the reasons I’m the cook I am today. This year I felt I might finally be good enough to apply and I decided to pluck up the courage."

Despite training to become a vet he revealed: "I’d love to have a future in the food industry." Brin is due to get married this summer to fiancee Anna, who he calls his biggest fan. Although he told the elite guests at the MasterChef 20th anniversary banquet in the semi-final: "It was the biggest honour to cook for you guys. I'm getting married next year and I don't think it's going to be as big as today!"

MasterChef 2024 finalist Louise is a farmer. (BBC)
MasterChef 2024 finalist Louise is a farmer. (BBC)

Age: 44 (43 while filming)

From: Staffordshire, lives in Exmoor

Louise runs a 25-acre farm where she specialises in breeding and rearing native rare breed animals inlcuding pigs, sheep, goats and poultry. She said: "I’ve been cooking since I could walk! My mum would always get me involved in preparing the family meals. My father would take me fishing to catch our supper and would teach me to prepare and cook the fish."

Louise - who is married to military helicopter pilot, Ally with whom she shares 8-year-old daughter Ophelia - said her friends and family have been "badgering" her to apply for MasterChef for 15 years. She was finally prompted to enter the show five years after being diagnosed with cancer.

She said: "I was diagnosed when my daughter was 18 months old and our world imploded. My diagnosis and intense treatment took a long time to come to terms with and changed me. A positive change was to try to embrace all of life’s opportunities fully."

The farmer specialises in seasonal British food made with home-grown veg and home-reared meat and dreams of running supper clubs. She said: "I would like to show that cooking with the seasons can be as simple - or complicated - and delicious as one chooses, but it can always be accessible... A dream would be to cook for people and then to be able to enjoy chatting with them about food, ingredients and cookery over a glass of wine."

The 2024 MasterChef final begins on BBC One at 8pm on Monday 20 May.