MasterChef finalist Giovanna Ryan reveals ‘nonna’ who inspired her love of food has passed away

MasterChef finalist Giovanna Ryan has revealed the heartbreaking news that the grandmother who inspired her passion for cooking passed away after the show was filmed.

Music teacher Giovanna, 29, credits her ‘nonna’ as the inspiration behind her love of food, and says that she taught her many of the recipes she’s made for hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode on the show.

Speaking to MailOnline, she said: ‘We spent weeks and weeks with my Nonna, and [my grandfather] Nonno, when we were little. Her and my mum really taught me how to cook.

‘Food is such a huge, huge part of Italian culture. It’s such a family-based thing. Unfortunately between filming and now she passed away. She lived a very full and excellent life. She did know I was on [the show], and she will actually appear in the final, so she is forever immortalised.’

On her website, Little Brixton Kitchen, she added: ‘My passion for food definitely comes from my family.

‘My Italian Nonna taught me the importance of cooking from scratch and the basics of traditional Italian cooking at a young age, and I’m still very influenced by her and the food of Italy in my cooking.’

Giovanna is joined in the final by music producer Steve Kielty and doctor Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed, who will battle it out for the culinary crown at 8:30pm this evening on BBC One.

In an interview with the show ahead of the big day, she said that if she wins the competition, she’d love to open a restaurant with boyfriend Marcus, a butcher.

Steve echoed her sentiments, adding that ‘his dream’ would be to have a restaurant that combined delicious meals and music, whilst Saliha, meanwhile, hopes to turn her professional knowledge into a range of healthy cookbooks to help people manage symptoms of conditions like IBS.