A former MasterChef contestant has been making fresh pasta for NHS workers to take on their way home from their shifts – free of charge.
Marla Liguori, who appeared on the 2020 season of the BBC show, has been putting her cooking skills to great use by making pasta for NHS workers who pass her house.
The chef is now regularly making pasta at her home and lowering it to people using a piece of string – to ensure that she adheres to social distancing measures.
Marla lives close to St Bartholomew’s, University College and St Thomas’ Hospitals, so NHS workers frequently pass her house on their way to and from work.
She’s urging healthcare workers to message her on Instagram, stating when they finish – so she can have the pasta ready to be lowered to them, after their shift.
Marla said: ‘I’m known as the chef amongst my friends and family back home.
‘When all the Covid-19 stuff happened, I quickly realised I couldn’t host dinner parties anymore so I started making food.
‘It wasn’t even pasta to start – but just anything I was making for dinner or baking I would give it to my friends through the window.’
Marla explains that her two future sisters-in-law – who will soon become nurses – inspired her to turn her attention to healthcare workers.
She says: ‘They are going to be working long shifts, so I thought what would I do to help them if I was in Vancouver? Making pasta seemed like the natural thing.’
Marla says she used her MasterChef network to spread the word of her pasta-making project – and it worked a treat.
So far, she’s made 40 batches of tagliatelle in just 10 days.
Due to its popularity, Marla’s also running short on supplies – so much so, that she’s just ordered 50kg of double-zero flour from Italy.
Masterchef contestant Marla Liguori is doing her bit for NHS heroes
The homemade pasta is totally free for NHS workers, which means costs are covered by the 30-year-old, but Marla says she isn’t worried about the money.
She adds: ‘It doesn’t concern me at this point. I did some maths and I worked out that hosting two dinner parties for eight of my friends – which I would normally do on the weekend – is the cost of feeding about 100 doctors, nurses and pharmacists.
‘I’m just reallocating funds to something far more valuable – not that I don’t love hosting for my friends – but if I can feed 100 staff who are tired after a long day, that to me is super impactful. That’s how I rationalised it.’
Marla says some people have urged her to start a GoFundMe page, which is something she might consider in future – but for now she is happy footing the bill.
She adds: ‘I’m happy to keep doing this as long as doctors nurses, NHS staff are at capacity.
‘Until this thing flattens out – I think I’ll still be making pasta for the next couple of months.’
Marla also stresses that she chose the three London hospitals because they are within walking distance from her house.
She says: ‘A lot of people are reaching out to ask if I deliver but I don’t want to be adding any more risk to the current situation.’