MasterChef 2020 champion Thomas Frake has said that his win feels “less like a dream and more like reality” after finally receiving his trophy in the post.
BBC One bosses aimed to send the prize by courier after the pre-recorded final aired last month, but were unable to reach it due to the lockdown.
The south London-based banking and international finance worker said he could now “look forward to the future, whatever it may bring”.
Opening the packaged trophy in a live video on Instagram, he said: “It’s been a crazy experience and it hasn’t quite felt that real because of the coronavirus lockdown.
“I hadn’t really had a chance to spend time with friends and family, and really celebrate.
“But for me this is, I think, the symbol of how real this is. And I think from this point forward, it’s going to feel less like a dream and more like reality.”
He added: “Thank you so much, genuinely, to everyone on MasterChef and involved in the show. It was absolutely incredible.
“Doing it with all the other contestants, who were all awesome as well, it’s just been a fantastic journey and this has just made it very real and super exciting.
“Now I have got this I can start to look forward to the future, whatever it may bring.”
Frake also thanked his followers for “keeping him company” over the last four weeks.
He added: “It’s been quite special. I’m going to go and find a nice place to put this on the shelf, pride of place somewhere, and probably celebrate with a little glass of fizz as well.”
Frake competed against digital security manager David Rickett and technology consultant Sandy Tang in April’s final.
Despite botching his dessert in the three-course finale, judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode chose him as the show’s 16th champion.
Explaining what it meant to finally hold the gong, he said: “The trophy is the real symbol of success and finally having it in my hands and being able to put it on the shelf at home has made winning the competition suddenly feel really real. I’m over the moon to have it.
“Winning MasterChef was a strange enough experience, but being on lockdown has made it extra bizarre.
“It’s given me time to take it all in, and I’ve been in contact with friends, family and the public through social media, but I can’t wait to celebrate properly once the pubs are back open.”