Billy Wright, from Clapham, started cooking as a child, from baking cakes with his nanny after school or during the school holidays, to creating desserts for his mum’s dinner parties and being sous-chef for his dad over the BBQ or wok. It’s fair to say that a love of good food started early and has been dominant throughout his life.
“After leaving my hometown of Nottingham to move to Clapham, my love affair with high-end food really started. I tried to recreate the dishes I saw on the Great British Menu and then went to eat in the featured chefs’ restaurants. With time on my hands and the incredible ingredients available in London, I had the opportunity to experiment.”
Armed with cook books and completely self-taught, Billy began practising new techniques, trying out different flavour combinations and more. After numerous home dinner parties with friends, and their consistent encouragement for him to try out for MasterChef, he finally decided to go ahead and apply for the 2016 contest. “I had no expectations, as I was fundamentally a recipe cook, only just starting out on creating my own dishes. It was the MasterChef invention tests which filled me with fear, and which were probably the reason why it took me so long to pluck up the courage to enter!”, says Billy.
“I can’t reveal details of the audition process although my dish is within my posts on Instagram. When I received the call to say that I’d made it onto the show, I’d just started working at Randell Commercial Ltd on Northcote Road. Knowing my skills had been acknowledged gave me real confidence to develop great relationships with many food and drinks retailers who are amongst the occupiers we represent. It’s brilliant to be based in the midst of so many great foodie outlets, both for the personal enjoyment of eating from their menus, and also keeping up with what’s out there, what’s popular and the latest food trends and ideas.”
Billy is feeling quite apprehensive about his debut on BBC1. “Does anyone actually enjoy hearing their own voice back or seeing themselves on film? I haven’t seen the episode, and it really was a blur during filming. I was really pushing myself and no doubt ended up with too much to do!”
Whatever happens, and not even the local grapevine knows, we’ll be rooting for our very own local MasterChef!
Billy Wright appears in BBC One’s MasterChef on Wednesday 13th April at 8pm.
MasterChef is on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC1