36 year-old Terry, originally from Mayo, credits his wife with helping him to expand is palette and try new things. He has completed cookery courses in Cooks Academy and Ballyknocken House. He plans to own his own business one day that revolves around food and using local produce. He is understated but passionate about food. He loves to travel the world and draws inspiration for his cooking from his travels.
Cathy (43) says that while her job is creative, it is not physical and this is why she is attracted to food. Before applying to MasterChef Ireland, Gerrard worked for the Citizens Information Board. She lived in Italy for three years and while she is influenced by Italian cooking she likes to experiment with all types of cuisines such as Middle Eastern, Scandanavian, Mexican and Asian food. She says that she is a cerebral cook - she likes to think recipes out in her head before she tries them.
40 year-old Nick is originally from London but lives in Swords. Although currently unemployed but previously worked as a medical evacuation co-ordinator for peace operations companies in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East. Nick is very interested in food and is interested in cooking different types of cuisines. His work has allowed him to travel all over the world and experience other food cultures. His dream would be to open a gastro pub in Dublin. He does not like to cook or eat cheese but is hoping that this is something he can overcome!
Nichaphat is originally from Thailand but has been in Ireland for 11 years. She is 35 years old and currently lives in Navan, Co. Meath. Her goal is to continue to run her business’ successfully. She cooks every day for her family because she wants them to eat nutritious meals. She loves to cook Thai food for her family and friends, but doesn’t like to limit herself and also loves to experiment with other foods and cultures.
30 year-old Simon Morris from Dublin is a Lecturer of business in The Carlyle Institute. Simon’s passion for food began when he left home and went to college. His mother is a big influence on his cooking as she likes to show off and this rubbed off on him! While he enjoys his teaching job, he thinks about food night and day and would love to open his own restaurant/ food stall one day. His biggest food influence is travel and he has been all over the world. He likes to come home and recreate the dishes he ate while abroad. He has a certificate in wine appreciation.
Simon spent some time living in Barcelona and uses influences from here and in his travels in his cooking. One of his biggest passions are fresh fish and seafood.
Danielle (29) from Kildare is really interested in food. When she was younger she worked as a galley cook on a charter fishing boat in Australia and as a private cook in a villa in Majorca. She also spent time as a private cook on a yacht in Italy. Seafood is Dani’s greatest passion and love in life. She would like to open a fish restaurant with a view to reviving the fish culture in Ireland which she believes is lacking at present. She learned how to cook from her mother and grandmother and her father taught her about butchery and the idea of head to tail eating.
29 year-old Deirdre (Dee) is a Business manager for Bank of Ireland from Ballinteer, Dublin. As a working mother Deirdre makes everything from scratch and is proud of the fact that her children have never eaten anything from a jar! She wants to become an accomplished chef and hopes that MasterChef will allow her the platform to build her own organic baby food business. She married into a large family and cooking for so many people has been a huge challenge. She dreams of working in the food industry.
Andy is originally from Yorkshire, but the 49 year-old now lives in Dalkey, Co. Dublin. Currently unemployed, he previously worked as senior manager in the UK banking sector. He likes to cook seasonal food when it’s at its best and cooks every day for his wife. He likes to go to restaurants and replicate the dishes he eats when he is out. He used the money from his redundancy to relocate to Dublin and has been here ever since. Andy describes himself as a proud Yorkshireman, but having lived in Ireland for the past 13 years, he feels very much part of his local community.
Sean Buckley is the head chef at Hotel Meyrick, in the heart of Galway City on Eyre Square.
"Each menu will vary at different times of the year, due to the seasonality of fresh produce but we like to keep traditional favourites alive while adding our own little twists to them" Buckley explains.
I always try to bring alive the flavours of our customers favourite dishes. For the Christmas Specials, we decided to focus on warm and nourishing dishes. The hotel is so warm and welcoming when you enter through the doors in front the cold and we wanted our food to reflect this also! On a personal level, I wanted to choose dishes that remind me of Christmas as a child, something that gives me that warm feeling! And ultimately, that is what I want for my customers- to be a happy and content guest with a really enjoyable meal!”
31 year-old Fidelma's mother is the main influence on her cooking and she has always helped her in the kitchen. Darina Allen is also a big influence as she grew up watching her on the television. While she is proud of her accountancy qualification, her greatest ambition is to own her own cafe and she is always collecting ideas and recipes in the hope that this will become a reality. She loves being creative and recently designed and arranged the flowers for her friends wedding! Fidelma loves to cook for friends and family and loves socialising through nice food. Boyce continues to work in PricewaterhouseCoopers and took time out to be on the show.
Ruth is a fourth generation baker whose family ran a bakery for 60 years and she grew up with the smell of fresh baked bread and cakes. The lessons she learned in the family kitchen with her mum Lynda and dad Allan paid off as Ruth came second in the Great British Bake Off in 2011. She impressed judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood with everything from her chocolate cookies to sweet tarts and savoury pies.
37 year-old Jacinta is from Monaghan. She is really interested in organic food and enjoys learning about growing the food she loves. Her mother never enjoyed cooking so Jacinta began cooking at an early age and has been hooked ever since. Cooking for her children is a challenge as she is always encouraging them to try new things. She previously owned her own bridal shop and won the title of Bridal Designer of the Year in 2000. The shop is now closed and since giving up her fashion career her creativity comes out in her cooking.
Jacinta says her favourite part of a meal is dessert, and her favourite food of all time is chocolate. She says that similarly to trends in fashion, she has always been ‘a little unorthodox’ when it comes to food.