Masterchef Radha Rü: The ‘spicy flexitarian’ who has made it to Masterchef Final

A Yorkshire law graduate who only started cooking in earnest during lockdown has defied the odds by earning a spot in Masterchef's finals week.

The 23-year-old Radha Rü admitted earlier in the competition that she had never cooked a dessert before going on the show, but has impressed judges with her food all the same.

The University of Huddersfield law graduate moved to Bradford from Durham when she was a young girl, and spent much of her formative years at a boarding school in North Yorkshire.

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She said some weekend activites at the school including cooking, but it wasn't until she graduated from university and moved back in with her parents that she began to cook in earnest - driven partly by the coronavirus lockdown.

Radha has come into her own while cooking in the Masterchef kitchen (Pic: Shine TV / BBC)

Her food has been inspired by her dual heritage background and combines her father's love of baking British classics with her mother's Punjabi recipes. However, she has admitted to eating mostly takeaways and toasties while at University.

But while lockdown led her back to the family kitchen, she has also found inspiration from Yorkshire chef James Martin.

And despite her law degree, Radha says she sees her future in food, and she is passionate about reducing meat consumption having been a vegetarian for most of her life.

She has set up her own private dining business, The Spicy Flexitarian, in the wake of her Masterchef success story.

Radha will get the chance to cook with Gordon Ramsay if she makes it through to the final four in Masterchef (Pic: Shine TV / BBC)

Here's everything you need to know about Radha, in her own words.

Radha on her cooking background

“I was born in Durham and my family then moved to Bradford when I was little and I attended boarding school from the age of seven in North Yorkshire, where boarders’ weekend activities included cooking in the Headmaster’s kitchen with his wife.

"We would make fresh pasta and soups and it was so much fun to be free and make a mess in the kitchen. I then went to Repton School as a boarder in Derbyshire for senior school and completed my law degree from The University of Huddersfield in 2020 – where I mostly survived on takeaways and toasties.

Radha cooking in the Masterchef kitchen (Pic: Shine TV / BBC)

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“Having a very large extended family, food becomes a focal point at family gatherings where there is always a banquet! It’s one of my earlier memories, seeing so much food beautifully presented for everyone to help themselves, including friends and neighbours.

"Being of dual-heritage I’ve had the privilege of understanding classic British baking and pudding recipes with my father’s parents, and also learning family recipes and traditional ways of Punjabi cooking from my NaniJi, my mother’s mum. At that age I was probably more interested in eating the end product rather than creating it!

“I only properly started cooking during lockdown - as a means to alleviate some of the stress from my final exams at university and help out at home. I got plenty of time to cook and the occasional guiding hand from my parents, and I realised that I have a great passion for food and cooking in the kitchen.

"Although I’ve recently finished a law degree, and I haven’t been cooking very long, I feel like my heart lies in food.”

Radha on her Masterchef experience

“I love watching MasterChef every year so being on it was a dream come true. I wanted to find out how good I am and push myself to see how far I can take my cooking – as well as compete against other cooks.”

“When I got through to the finals I was in pure shock. MasterChef has been an emotional roller-coaster ride for me. I couldn’t believe that the judges thought that my food was good enough for a place in the finals and I feel so blessed and honoured to have served food for renowned critics.

“Being dyslexic, I have always had to work very hard at my academic studies. So hearing from both John and Gregg that my food is good enough for a place the finals, I felt a huge sense of warmth that I had finally found what I’m good at and I love doing it too.

"The lack of confidence I had at the start of MasterChef was my biggest challenge and I’m so proud to be able to say that I have overcome it.

"MasterChef has not only given me the opportunity to test myself, my cooking ability and see how far I can push myself but it’s allowed me to believe in myself and gain the confidence that I have always looked for.”

Radha on her cooking influence and passions

“I like to show my fun personality through food and these two food influencers have inspired my cooking adventure.

"Nadia Hussain not only inspires fun in food, but also demonstrates female empowerment and self-confidence with her positive affirmations of ‘I can, and I will’ and never placing boundaries around myself.

"Another chef who gives me inspiration is Yorkshireman and TV presenter James Martin, for his no-nonsense style and dry sense of humour and bringing together of diverse cultures to celebrate food – inspiring me to give it a go.

“Drawing on my dual Indian-British heritage, my style combines Indian cuisine with Western adaptations. I also love pairing my food with cocktails! I love to recreate classic British desserts as they remind me of the puddings I ate at boarding school.

"I’ve been a vegetarian for the majority of my life, so this inspires me to cook with plant-based products, elevating a humble vegetable and giving it a spicy twist by pairing it with flavours of my Indian heritage.”

Radha on her cooking ambitions

“My own cookbook would be amazing. Alongside that, it would be brilliant to have a TV show where I can help others cook delicious nutritious plant-based healthy dishes (including puddings) and show how easy, nutritious and cost effective my food is.

"I’d focus on how to use vegetables in new ways as the younger generations have a firm mindset of increasing vegetables in their diets as a way of reducing meat consumption.

"Sustainable food is becoming a critical topic and chefs need to take the lead to showcase high-quality food that is cost-effective to help tackle issues of food poverty.”