Originally from Thailand, Chariya lives in Basingstoke (Farnborough during filming), with her fiancé Adam, whom she met in Japan whilst studying there in her early twenties. After moving to the UK, Chariya spent seven years as a district manager for a national coffee shop chain before setting up her own coffee roasting company and becoming a Master Coffee Roaster. 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.
MasterChef judge, John Torode, said: “Chariya’s food has always been honest and from the heart. It’s always exciting, it’s always unusual and it’s always been beautiful and addictive. And not just punchy, exciting Thai flavours that we saw at the start, but also exceptional, innovative and exciting technique all the way through. A proper master.”
MasterChef judge, Gregg Wallace, commented: “Chariya is outstanding and one of the best MasterChef contestants I can remember. Chariya has delighted and amazed me in equal measure. Some of her creations are absolutely beautiful - almost with an artist’s touch. She is one of the most creative, skillful cooks I’ve seen on MasterChef for a long, long time.”
An emotional Chariya reacted to her win: “This is unbelievable. It means the world, the sun, the moon and everything to me. I don’t think anything can top this. I’m so happy! This just proves that if you dream something and you work really hard and you never give up, you can get it. That’s what my grandad said to me - never give up. He would be so proud of me!”
Catch up now on BBC iPlayer.