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Inverness-born mum Sarah Rankin shines on her MasterChef debut

Sarah Rankin on tonight's episode of MasterChef.
Sarah Rankin. Picture credit: Shine TV/BBC.

Inverness-born marketing consultant Sarah Rankin proved cooking up a storm comes as second nature during her first appearance on BBC1’s MasterChef.

Sarah, 47, left celebrity hosts John Torode and Gregg Wallace impressed with her cooking abilities as the second week of Heats in the amateur cooking competition continues.

The married mum-of-two, who was born and raised in Inverness before relocating to Kinross in 2006, was joined by eight fellow amateur cooks.

John Torode and Gregg Wallace. Picture credit: Shine TV/BBC.

All arriving with both their dreams and ingredients, Sarah successfully made it past the Heats round thanks to her flair and determination in the MasterChef kitchen.

MasterChef is now in its eighteenth series and will run for a further five weeks.

There are 45 of the UK’s most talented home cooks being put through their paces this time around with only one being crowned MasterChef Champion 2022.

Flying the flag for Scotland

This year the judges are mixing it up – introducing a whole new set of challenges that the passionate amateurs must complete to progress in the competition.

Tasked with cooking a Signature Dish to kickstart their MasterChef journeys, it was important for Sarah to calm her nerves and show who she is as a cook.

With nine contestants featuring in the episode, they cooked in groups of three.

Sarah, among the second group to take to the kitchen, has previously proclaimed her love for Scottish ingredients and aims to deliver food that boasts “a big punch of flavour”.

Sarah Rankin to compete in this years MasterChef competition.
Sarah bagged herself an apron in the Heats round. Picture credit: Shine TV/BBC.

With that said, she took to her workstation and started pulling together her Signature – venison loin coated in porcini mushroom powder with butternut squash puree, skirlie bonbon, hasselback potato, cavalo nero, pickled cherries and a port red wine sauce.

Sarah described the environment as “intense” while cooking, but was happy with her venison. And although admitting there was a lot going on, on her plate, the cook said the ingredients compliment each other.

John and Gregg tucked into the plate in the new Tasting Room and did not witness the action in the kitchen.

This allows them to judge each contestant’s food solely on the plate that is put in front of them.

While the venison proved too rare for Gregg’s liking, both judges were wowed by other aspects of the dish including the hasselback potatoes.

Gregg thought the skirlie bonbon (referred to as porridge balls by him) were delightful.

John said the sauce needed more flavour, however commended Sarah on respecting the ingredients.

After finishing the dish, Sarah was left feeling discouraged. “I’ve made it better at home a hundred times,” she said. “That’s a bit frustrating.”

Second chance

Despite Sarah’s efforts, three other contestants were handed MasterChef aprons and immune from cooking in the next round.

The six remaining chefs were tasked with creating a sweet dish in their last attempt to win themselves a coveted apron.

It was a coconut pannacotta for Sarah, served with rum-soaked pineapple with lime zest and coconut shavings, macadamia and coconut brittle and a pina colada made from coconut cream and rum.

Under the watchful eyes of John and Gregg in this round, the talented home cook was happy with how her sweet dish turned out.

MasterChef returns tomorrow night at 8pm. Picture credit: Shine TV/BBC.

Gregg described the dish as “absolutely delicious”, while John complimented her ambition.

With that, Sarah finally earned herself an apron among another three contestants.

“It’s great having the apron,” she said. “It kind of spurs you on as well.

“I have plenty more boozy desserts in my head.”

MasterChef, which is now in its eighteenth series, continues tomorrow night on BBC1 from 8pm.

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