MONTEVIDEO – Venezuela’s Dr. Maria Gracia Sosa is the new champion in Uruguay’s second season of the world-famous TV program of amateur gastronomy, “Master Chef,” something that in this small country of 3.3 million inhabitants has sparked a storm of conflicting emotions.
A native of the central Venezuelan city of Valencia and a graduate in medicine, this young woman left for Uruguay in 2014 to find a “better life,” while escaping the economic and political turmoil of her own country.
Sosa told EFE in an interview that aside from medicine, cooking is her “great passion,” and that she assiduously followed the TV reality show that airs in a number of countries.
Encouraged by her partner, she set off on this culinary adventure and won a place in 18 weeks of competition, and “so began a very beautiful experience,” she said, because the program shows “if you want it, you can do it.”
After her victory on “Master Chef,” which has one of the biggest audiences in the South American country, Sosa received countless messages of support from Uruguayans and also complaints from others for being a foreigner.
“The fact I’m a foreigner might be controversial, but after all this is a cooking contest so I don’t see why my nationality should matter,” she said.
Sosa noted, however, “the immense” displays of affection shown by the public in the country she now calls home.
As the reigning queen of the culinary program, she will soon visit, get to know and spend time with Spain’s world-famous chefs, the Roca brothers.
“For me this is the greatest prize of all. It’s something you dream about. Of the Roca brothers, I’m a fan not only of Joan but also of Josep and Jordi. They’re like my rock stars, they’re all geniuses, they’re scientists... It’s incredible for someone who loves gastronomy to be able to go meet them,” Sosa said.
News of her victory in Uruguay won cheers from her compatriots in different parts of the world. She particularly thanked them, she said, because she knows the troubles they’re going through in other latitudes.
She said “Venezuela is always in my heart and it hurts me to think what they’re suffering... and if they couldn’t or didn’t want to leave their country, I wish them much strength, courage and the will to make things come out well.”
“My land is always with me,” she said, adding that she misses the summer weather all year long, the beach, her family and also the “ripe bananas.”
Sosa did let the chance escape her to thank the country that received her “with open arms,” as well as the “warmth of its people,” her new Uruguayan friends, but above all, the peace in which she is now able to live.