After four heat weeks, one week of semi-finals and an impressive final week, Kadeena Cox MBE (30) has beaten 19 celebrities to be awarded her trophy by judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace.
Gold-medal winning Paralympian, Cox, says: “I gave everything I could today. I am absolutely buzzing. This smile is not disappearing from my face for a while. I am just proud of myself for doing it. I didn’t change who I was, I learnt along the way but I was still Kadeena right to the end. It has just been a great journey and one that I am never going to forget.”
John Torode says: “So many times during this year’s competition I forgot Kadeena had Multiple Sclerosis and was not only battling for the trophy but had her own personal battle going on. She just never let up, she didn’t stop! For me she is a true inspiration. Her food is special, not just because it is technically brilliant but also because it has heart, it’s got soul and it’s got love.”
Gregg Wallace added: “What a lovely, lovely final. Today from Kadeena we got very special dishes. It’s not just the quality of Kadeena’s cooking, it’s the originality of the ideas. There is a reason she has a bedroom full of medals, she is a serious competitor.”
In the final episode, Kadeena, alongside other finalists Megan McKenna and Joe Swash, had two hours to present a flawless three-course meal, cooked to the very highest standards to impress the judges.
Her winning menu was a starter of torched salmon marinated in lime juice with caviar, tempura prawn topped with a crab meat mayonnaise, asparagus salad and a Bloody Mary granite; a main course of French trimmed rack of lamb, Caribbean curried goat pie, roasted carrots, spinach, silver skin onions and a lamb curry sauce; and to finish Choux au Craquelin filled with mascarpone whipped cream with hazelnut praline crumb and tempered chocolate.
The final followed a week of intense pressure where the celebrities were immersed in a culinary tradition that’s been part of British culture for over 600 years – the pie. Working at the Holborn Dining Rooms Pie Room with chef Calum Franklin they all had to produce a pie fit for the dining room of experts. They then went back to the MasterChef kitchen, where the final five created one exceptional dish inspired by the flavours of the sweet shop. Finally, they faced the formidable Chef’s Table which was hosted by legendary chef Tom Kerridge in the MasterChef kitchen. The finalists delivered food of an exceptional standard to impress some of the best chefs in the country – Michel Roux Jr. (2 Michelin stars), Lisa Goodwin-Allen (1 Michelin star), Paul Ainsworth (1 Michelin star) and Aktar Islam (1 Michelin star).
Kadeena Cox MBE follows in the footsteps of previous winners Riyadh Khalaf, Greg Rutherford, John Partridge, Angellica Bell, Alexis Conran, Kimberly Wyatt, Sophie Thompson, Ade Edmondson, Emma Kennedy, Phil Vickery, Lisa Faulkner, Jayne Middlemiss, Liz McClarnon, Nadia Sawalha and Matt Dawson.