A York singer-songwriter has swapped music for menus to appear on the latest series of MasterChef.

Jess Gardham stars in the first heat of the cooking contest, screened on BBC1 on Monday night (February 26).

She is up against six other contestants in the show.

The award-winning musician isn’t allowed to talk about how she did on the show before it is broadcast. As she tweeted: “I’m super excited to announce that I will be appearing on the new series of MasterChef!

“You’ll have to tune in to see how I do…”

Cooking for winners

Jess as she appears in the MasterChef trailer

In the first episode of the new series, Jess and her kitchen rivals must first take the market challenge.

For this they have to choose their ingredients in just ten minutes and plan a dish on the spot. Ingredients available include beef mince, duck breasts, pancetta, cod and mussels.

They have an hour and 10 minutes to dazzle the judges and prove they are good enough to stay in the competition.

After tasting all seven dishes, show hosts John Torode and Gregg Wallace will decide which four cooks are good enough to stay, while three cooks will be sent straight home.

The remaining quartet of cooks then have another challenge standing between them and a quarter final place. They must cook two courses that will excite not just John and Gregg, but the guest judges.

In this episode these are last year’s MasterChef finalists Steve Kielty and Giovanna Ryan and 2017 MasterChef Champion, Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed.

Only three can go through to Friday’s quarter final – taking their first step towards being crowned MasterChef Champion 2018.

Dollop of purple

According to the preview in the Radio Times, the contestants “serve up weird ingredient combinations (if you’re being polite you could say interesting or eclectic), which don’t always work.

“Several are very rushed, and for some reason one cook is obsessed with putting a dollop of purple purée on his plate.”

The magazine notes that Saliha is a guest judge, “so pity the poor contestant who’s decided to serve curry, a dish that Mahmood Ahmed knows a thing or two about.

“One of the contestants really impresses, though: ‘Knocked it out the park’, ‘Look at the skills on show!’ are among the comments.”