A part-time DJ from Hackney, Natalie Coleman, inspired in the kitchen by her late grandmother, has won this year’s BBC’s MasterChef final.
On national television the Judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace said she was “destined for great things.” She “not only understands finery of great food but… cooks for the people, food that people want to eat. She makes people smile. She also has a great palate and understands flavour combinations,” they said.
Natalie, 29, has battled through an eight week series of the BBC One show to come out top in a field of 50 contestants.
In the final week she had to compete with two other finalists Larkin Cen and Dale Williams cooking in Florence and on the Amalfi Coast in Italy with rustic chef Mamma Agata.
The contest moved onto cooking a three-course menu designed by Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan for four of the world’s leading chefs and then finally they had to prepare a menu for the show’s hosts who concluded: “Natalie’s got it. She is a very, very clever woman and her food is fantastic.”
The Masterchef final can be seen on the BBC’s iPlayer until 9 May 2013.
Natalie told the BBC: “It’s like a fairy tale really, the girl from Hackney done good.”
But the media coverage the day after her triumph, Friday 3 May, began to focus on references to a tragic incident in her past when at the age of 16 she had been riding pillion on a motorcycle that collided with a couple.
In August 2000 Sarah Coles and her partner Robin Bull were struck by a 750cc bike driven by Allen Shord near their home in Chingford, Essex.
They were dragged 16 metres along the pavement. Bull, a car valet, 32, died from head injuries and Coles was in intensive care for three days.
Shord, who had been drinking, was later jailed for three and a half years although the collision left him severely disabled.
However, The Mail on Sunday 5 May published a warm profile of Natalie in a feature article entitled “The Eliza Doolittle of MasterChef: She’s the cockney who melted our hearts and became the queen of posh nosh. Or, as she puts it, ‘Yeah, the girl from Hackney done good!'”