MORE ABOUT CHARIYA
Chariya’s love of cooking stems from growing up in Northern Thailand with her grandad who, with limited means, taught Chariya how to make the most out of what they had and get the best flavours from food. They grew their own vegetables and cooked on a fire outside to create simple but tasty meals. During her childhood Chariya also often loved to play restaurant, and remembers warmly that her grandad would always be her customer.
Commenting on her style of cooking, Chariya says: “I am very passionate about bringing Northern Thai cuisine to the UK, while making use of local ingredients. Thai food is not just Tom Yam and Pad Thai. It has so many flavours, layers and textures and that is phenomenal. In many ways, my dishes are a fusion between South East Asian and Western food. I spend hours and hours in the kitchen perfecting my recipes, but I also love to have fun with them.”
On her MasterChef experience, Chariya added: “I’ve loved watching MasterChef for many years and decided to enter the competition so I could showcase Northern Thai cuisine. In some ways I’ve been mentally preparing for this for a while. I was initially nervous to cook for John and Gregg, but they were so supportive and they made me want to be the best! I’m also very competitive by nature and I think that’s helped with my mindset in the competition.”
Looking to what’s next, Chariya said: “I hope there will be opportunities to work with food and I’m excited about getting experience and turning this love of cooking into a profession. Long term, my dream is to open a restaurant – and eventually multiple restaurants - where I can showcase the food of my homeland in Northern Thailand – and hopefully work towards earning a Michelin star!
“I want to show the world that Northern Thai food is amazing, because it really is. I just love to see people’s faces light up when they eat my food.”