Winner of MasterChef Champion of Champions announced

Ping Coombes has said winning MasterChef Champion of Champions brought back “so many good memories and it makes me feel alive”.

The 40-year-old won MasterChef in 2014 with Malaysian-inspired dishes including coconut and pandan rice with sambal lemongrass prawns.

On December 31, she returned to the kitchen alongside other former champions – Tim Anderson (2011), Saliha Mahmood Ahmed (2017), Kenny Tutt (2018) and Irini Tzortzoglou (2019) – where she won the MasterChef plate again.

Ping Coombes holding the MasterChef plate and smiling.
Ping Coombes with the trophy (BBC/PA)

She said: “Being back in the MasterChef kitchen brings back so many good memories and it makes me feel alive.

“Everything is the same as it was and it’s all happening again. I am so relieved. You are putting yourself out there again, open to criticism, so to get those comments was out of this world.

“I can’t really believe it all… it’s like a dream. I’m really, really happy.”

During one of the challenges, Coombes made Malaysian claypot chicken and her version of an ais kacang, which featured shards of rose-flavoured meringue and salted sweetcorn mousse.

Judge Gregg Wallace took a particular liking to her dessert and said it was “absolutely delicious”.

Fellow judge John Torode said: “You see two sides of Ping in her food – the first is the very serious, very technical side, the other is the fun one. Her food today was delicious, no two ways about it.”

After winning MasterChef in 2014, Coombes wrote cookbook Malaysia in 2016 and appeared in John Torode’s Malaysian Adventure that same year.