MasterChef UK champ Chariya brings Northern Thai cuisine to the world
Chariya Khattiyot, a coffee roaster from northern Thailand, made history as the first Thai to win MasterChef UK 2023. Chariya won the prestigious event after a spectacular culinary struggle that lasted several weeks, receiving praise from fans across the board.
Chariya pipped 44 other contestants, including finalists Anurag Aggarwal and Omar Foster.
"This is unbelievable," the 40-year-old winner remarked, ecstatic after her triumph.
"To me, it represents the entire globe, the sun, the moon, and everything. Nothing can possibly beat this. I'm overjoyed. This only goes to show that you can achieve your goals if you work hard and never give up. My grandfather always told me not to give up. He'd be very pleased with me," said Chariya.
Twitter erupted with fans expressing their delight, with some even admitting to shedding tears over Chariya's victory.
One fan made an emotional post, "Crying watching Chariya on MasterChef says her grandad would be proud of her; I'm proud of her, and I don't even know her."
Another fan expressed, "Just occasionally, somebody you really want to win wins! So deserved."
Chariya impressed judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode with her extraordinary flavours.
Wallace characterised her winning offering, which included a Thai lotus tuille stuffed with coconut jelly and fried king prawns, as a "delicate little morsel packing a very big punch”.
She served a classic Northern Thai “khantoke” sharing platter for the main course, which included Wagyu sirloin steak in hang lay curry sauce and minced lamb in a spicy tomato and prawn paste.
Chariya finished her meal with a nostalgic take on strawberries and cream, paying her respects to the United Kingdom and her fond childhood memories with her grandfather.
The judges were overcome with emotion as they declared Chariya the rightful champion.
Throughout the tournament, Torode praised her passionate and honest approach to cooking, praising her great skill and interesting flavours. He declared her, "A proper master."
Chariya's enthusiasm to advocate Northern Thai cuisine in the UK using locally sourced ingredients was clear from the start of the competition.
"Thai food isn't just Tom Yam and Pad Thai; it offers an incredible variety of flavours, layers, and textures," she said.
With dreams of opening a restaurant and earning a Michelin star, Chariya is determined to demonstrate to the world the brilliance of Northern Thai cuisine, as she continues her culinary adventure.