Scottish teacher just misses out on MasterChef title

Dollar Academy teacher Jilly McCord comes close but is pipped at the post in prestigious TV cooking contest

Henry Hepburn

Scottish teacher named MasterChef champion

A teacher from Scotland has just missed out on becoming this year’s champion of MasterChef.

Jilly McCord, who teaches history and politics at Dollar Academy and is also a head of year, looked to have a shot at victory after judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode told her that her final menu represented her "brilliantly well".

Ms McCord, one of three finalists, also received widespread public support, with some good-natured suggestions that she had been "robbed" after Irini Tzortzoglou was named the winner.

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Ms McCord, who lives in Fife and is a former Scotland rugby international, said before the final: “I have always had confidence that I was a decent home cook, but you realise very quickly in this competition that there are other excellent cooks out there.

"There were lots of cooks who could have made it to this stage, but I was able to hold my nerve and have a bit of luck along the way, and here I am.”

In the final, she made a tuna niçoise with olive tapenade and tuna carpaccio for her starter, followed by roast partridge and black pudding pithivier, and a lemon tart for dessert.

Shortly before the final, Ms McCord’s school tweeted: “The whole school is right behind you and so proud of what you've achieved.”

Ms McCord also received plenty of praise from viewers. One tweeted: “Jilly is one of the nicest cooks that has ever been on MasterChef. She is humble, kind, calm and an amazing cook.”

After Irini Tzortzoglou was announced as the winner, Ms McCord tweeted her congratulations and pride at being part of a "phenomenal final".

Another viewer said: “How utterly humble and lovely and ace and brilliant is Jilly on MasterChef? I just love her so much!”

Other viewers praised her improvement over the course of the competition, with one tweeting: “The progress that woman has shown, particularly in her presentation, is nothing short of phenomenal.”

In 2016, Gary Mclean, a senior chef lecturer at City of Glasgow College, won MasterChef: The Professionals. He was later named national chef of Scotland by the Scottish government.

Mr Mclean told Tes that social media “went mad” after he raised the trophy just before Christmas 2016, with thousands of messages arriving from supporters.

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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