Celebrity MasterChef's Amar Latif talks being UK's first ever blind contestant
Celebrity MasterChef’s Amar Latif became a groundbreaker by signing up to the show, as the UK’s first ever blind contestant.
Initially turning the show down, the 45-year-old TV presenter admits it’s one of the greatest challenges he’s taken on in his career – and hopes to dispel viewers who think he’s only on the show as a ‘box-ticking exercise’.
Losing his sight almost completely by the time he was 18, Amar has learned to adjust and still live his best life, especially when people told him he couldn’t do it.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk ahead of the show airing, he explained: ‘I have to take responsibility myself. Yeah, a lot of sighted people who’ve never met me before, they’ll just be thinking that maybe the BBC’s done a ticking box exercise, stuck a blind person in, and then just either watched what’s happened or, given them extra help, or things like that.’
‘It’s not like that at all,’ Amar assured. ‘I lost my sight when I was 18, and, I was depressed for months and I thought that I wouldn’t be able to do anything.
‘Then I realized that that was a dead end street. That there’s nowhere to go if you’re just sat in your house and then I started to realize that the world is moving on and we only have one life, and either I can be depressed at home, or I can say yes to opportunities.’
In the MasterChef kitchen, Amar is given an aide to ‘act as his eyes’ and find items for him around the studio, but apart from that is left to do everything himself – including no extra time, and just as much pressure as his sighted competitors.
‘I was glad that MasterChef said that I wouldn’t have any extra time,’ he insisted. ‘Because, you know, you want the goalpost to be the same, because the achievement’s got to be the same.
‘So I had to work extra hard to make sure that I could fit within those goalposts.’
However, Amar admitted: ‘This was one that I even thought I wouldn’t be able to do. So I know that people will, hopefully they can, see how I adapt and start using and then doing it.
‘I don’t see what the fuss is about, really, because, you know, I just go about my daily life and come across a challenge and find ways around it. It makes life more fun and interesting.’
On tonight’s first heat, Amar goes up against Gethin Jones, Jeff Brazier, Lady Leshurr and Felicity Montagu in the kitchen, before heading off to Mortimer House Kitchen to cook for a lunchtime crowd.
‘I was in the MasterChef studio cooking, I just couldn’t believe I was thinking “what am I doing here?! I just can’t believe that I’m in here with sighted chefs!”,’ he laughed.
‘It’s the most ridiculous thing ever. I’m a very positive person, even more so that, you step outside your comfort zone, and I realised that your world totally becomes bigger.’
Celebrity MasterChef continues Thursday and Friday on BBC One.
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