This story and photograph are reproduced by courtesy of our regional daily newspaper “The Courier”, whose journalist Michael Alexander caught up with local man Brodie Williams on his quest to become this year’s BBC MasterChef.
Pot Noodle, spaghetti bolognese and baked potatoes might be regarded as the not so-secret ingredients of every student’s cheap lifestyle.
But when Cupar-raised Brodie Williams, 27, started studying architecture at Glasgow School of Art nine years ago, he decided that he was not willing to survive on those staples – taking it upon himself to “raise the bar” of student cuisine by cooking Thai curries, cottage pie and roasts of lamb in his student flat instead.
Now, having worked for a couple of years as a design architect for lingerie company Agent Provacateur in London, he is turning up the heat on his cooking credentials with an appearance as a contestant on the BBC’s big food show MasterChef.
The former pupil of Newpark School in St Andrews and the Loretto School, Musselburgh, isn’t allowed to say how he gets on in the pre-recorded show.
However, the son of well-known Cupar solicitor Douglas Williams confirmed to The Courier that his efforts will be screened on BBC One at 8pm on Thursday.
“I’ve always been quite keen at cooking – basically I was inspired by my mum,” explained Brodie.
“So when I was 18 and leaving home, because my mum was not there anymore, I decided to teach myself to cook to a good level.”
Brodie admits that his culinary creations made him a “hit” amongst his student friends in Glasgow.
“The ultimate accolade came when a friend of mine said he’d be willing to pay for what he’d eaten – it was so good,” he laughed.
It was when he moved to work in London, however, that Brodie took his home cooking to another level.
And two years ago, with his creative juices needing fulfilled, he decided to start writing a cook book which he is illustrating as well. His favourite creations include haggis, made from scratch.
Now, with renewed ambitions to become a professional chef, he decided to apply for the MasterChef show 11 months ago because he was interested in getting a “professional critique” of his skills.
“You go through the stages of trying to go on the main show,” he explained, “then you don’t hear back for months.
“My mum, Sue, actually applied a few years ago and didn’t hear back at all.
“But then I got the call to say I had been shortlisted on to a list of 500 to cook for the producers. I was one of the 64 people who made it on to TV from there.”
Whilst his close family, including girlfriend Angela, know the outcome, Brodie says it has been “one of the hardest things” keeping his participation secret from wider friends.
“I didn’t realise how secretive the process is until I got involved,” he added.
“I’m now allowed to say I was a contestant, but I’m sworn to secrecy as to how I get on. People will just have to watch!”
The MasterChef kitchen has been back on our screens since the end of March.
TV’s biggest culinary competition has seen John Torode and Gregg Wallace return to search for the UK’s best amateur cook – across 25 episodes and spread over seven weeks on BBC One.
Brodie appears in Episode 11 as part of the last group of eight amateur cooks trying to prove they have the potential to be the 2017 MasterChef Champion.
In this heat the contestants must attempt to impress 2006 Finalist Daksha Mistry, 2016 Finalist Juanita Hennessey and 2012 Champion Shelina Permalloo.
The stakes are high in this round with John and Gregg deciding which five cooks are good enough to stay for the next round, while three of the cooks will be sent home.
It’s not the first time, however, that Courier Country cooks have gone for culinary glory.
In 2014 Jamie Scott, now of The Newport, was crowned winner of MasterChef The Professionals.
And in 2015, former St Andrews University student Flora Shedden, from Perthshire, came close to winning that year’s edition of the BBC One show the Great British Bake Off.
*Brodie is on MasterChef, Thursday April 20, 8pm, BBC One.