Former teacher from Leeds is competitor on Masterchef 2021

A former high school biology teacher from Leeds is a competitor on the 2021 series of BBC show Masterchef.

Sunday, 28th February 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 1st March 2021, 10:38 am

Self taught cook Jo Mills, 51, was one of just 40 people chosen out of 7,000 applicants to compete in the show, which was filmed during lockdown in November 2020 and is due to start airing at 9pm on BBC1 on Monday March 1.

Judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode are once again hosting the show, with new episodes being screened on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Mum of two Jo, of Lumby, east Leeds - who retired early from teaching around three years ago - said: “2020 was such a difficult year for everybody, but I was lucky enough to have cooking as my focus and it resulted in me being able to compete in this fabulous TV competition.

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Masterchef contestant Jo Mills Photo: Tony Johnson

"I have always cooked and been pretty obsessive with food, but 2020 meant I had so much more time to dedicate to my cooking.

“I started an Instagram page and began developing my own recipes. I applied for Masterchef and it was a dream come true to be accepted.

"It (Masterchef) was brilliant. It was hectic, but it was so much fun. I was quite nervous recording it."

Jo, whose husband Jonathan died in 2013 after suffering from a brain tumour, added: I know first hand that life is very short.

Masterchef contestant Jo Mills Photo: Tony Johnson

“Lockdown and Covid just reinforced my view that people need to chase their dreams."

“So after Masterchef I decided to do the one thing I have always wanted to do - write my own cookery book.”

"I enrolled in a qualification in nutrition and I coupled this with my own cooking knowledge, and my journey on Masterchef to write my first book.

"The book is due to be released in the next couple of months.

Masterchef contestant Jo Mills Photo: Tony Johnson

"I am also about to launch a website that provides a bespoke recipe planning service.

"People can ask for a certain type of diet, type of cooking, particular food, occasion, family cooking etc and I will provide personalised recipe plans direct to their inbox, including easy step by step instructions and full nutritional breakdown of the meals.

"So it has really been quite an incredible year for me, despite the dreaded lockdowns."

Mrs Mills, who is from Garforth, hopes to write a series of ‘Mrs Mills Cooks’ books.

To see Jo's work, go to @mrsmillscooks on Instagram and mrsmillscooks on Facebook.