MasterChef semi-finalist Christian Day has told of his disappointment at leaving the show after cooking his mother’s “bloody delicious” shepherd’s pie.

The former Northampton Saints rugby player had to choose a dish which was inspired by someone they love or admire, and he picked his mum Sue’s traditional home-cooked recipe.

But his efforts on Wednesday night’s programme were not enough for him to reach the final.

“Mum was the chef when I was at home,” the Blackpool-born player told the PA news agency. “She made me what I am today.

“I remember coming home from cold rugby training and she’d made it – it was something to look forward to. It was bloody delicious.”

Day cooked his mother’s traditional recipe and plated it up with a fine lamb dish alongside.

But it was not enough to see him through to the final of the popular BBC competition.

John Torode comments
John Torode gave some positive – and negative – feedback to Day (Ian West/PA)

The 36-year-old said: “I thought I performed okay. John (Torode) gave some positive and some negative comments and the next thing I know they chucked me off.

“But I’m proud to have made it to the last six. I always liked MasterChef, and always watched it because I loved cooking.”

Day’s mother will have had a surprise on Wednesday night, however, because he did not tell her that the shepherd’s pie would be making an appearance on prime time television.

“At first I didn’t tell her I was filming the show at all,” he said.

“Then MasterChef started using me in an advert and people started messaging me.

“I wasn’t going to tell my mum I was going to be in it, but eventually had to. But I didn’t tell her about tonight.”

Day admits he is cooking even more at the moment as his wife Kirsty and his two daughters, like everyone, are experiencing lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve cooked more in lockdown, we’ve had some really nice meals,” he said.

“Maybe out of all this, something we learn is to spend more time at home with people we love. And do more cooking.”

:: MasterChef semi-finals continue on April 9 on BBC One at 7.30pm.