British paralympic champion Kadeena Cox said she is “absolutely buzzing” after being crowned winner of BBC’s Celebrity MasterChef.
The 30-year-old, who has represented Britain in both sprinting and cycling events, impressed judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace in a final that saw the three remaining contestants attempt to cook a “flawless” three-course meal in two hours.
Reality star Megan McKenna and former EastEnders actor Joe Swash both also made it to the final on BBC One but missed out on the trophy.
After being announced as the winner, Cox, who has multiple sclerosis, said: “I gave everything I could today. I am absolutely buzzing. This smile is not disappearing from my face for a while.
“I am just proud of myself for doing it. I didn’t change who I was, I learnt along the way, but I was still Kadeena right to the end.
“It has just been a great journey and one that I am never going to forget.”
Her winning menu began with a starter of torched salmon marinated in lime juice with caviar, tempura prawn topped with a crab meat mayonnaise, asparagus salad and a Bloody Mary granite.
Her main consisted of a French trimmed rack of lamb, Caribbean curried goat pie, roasted carrots, spinach, silver skin onions and a lamb curry sauce, while dessert was Choux au Craquelin, a type of pastry, filled with mascarpone whipped cream, with hazelnut praline crumb and tempered chocolate.
Torode said: “So many times during this year’s competition I forgot Kadeena had multiple sclerosis and was not only battling for the trophy but had her own personal battle going on.
“She just never let up, she didn’t stop! For me she is a true inspiration. Her food is special, not just because it is technically brilliant but also because it has heart, it’s got soul and it’s got love.”
Wallace said: “What a lovely, lovely final. Today from Kadeena we got very special dishes. It’s not just the quality of Kadeena’s cooking, it’s the originality of the ideas.
“There is a reason she has a bedroom full of medals – she is a serious competitor.”
The final followed four weeks of heats, one week of semi-finals and a final week that saw the contestants produce a pie at Holborn Dining Room’s Pie Room with chef Calum Franklin.
Later, they returned to the MasterChef kitchen to create a dish inspired by the flavours of the sweet shop, before facing the judges’ table of Michelin-starred chefs including Tom Kerridge, Michel Roux Jr and Lisa Goodwin-Allen.
Blue singer Duncan James, Britain’s Got Talent finalist and comedian Nabil Abdulrashid, and The Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant were also among this year’s contestants.
The 2020 series of Celebrity MasterChef was won by Irish-Iraqi broadcaster and YouTube star Riyadh Khalaf.