Stars and their eyes… celebrity MasterChef Amar Latif

British TV personality Amar Latif is the first blind contestant in the UK’s 2020 Celebrity Masterchef.


Born in 1974, Latif was diagnosed early with retinitis pigmentosa and had lost 95% of his vision by his late teens. Aged 18, having just started a mathematics, stats and finance degree at Strathclyde University, he said he woke up blind. “I couldn’t see the Madonna poster at the end of my bed. All I could see was light fog. I closed my eyes, rubbed them and opened them again, thinking it’d be okay. But it dawned on me that this was it, and I was now blind,” Latif told the Mirror.


Having finished his degree and pursued a successful career in finance, in 2004 Latif decided to start his own travel agency, Traveleyes, specialising in tours for blind and partially-sighted travellers. His interest in travel and can do-attitude got him on the first series of the 2005 BBC Two documentary Beyond Boundaries, as one of a group of travellers with various disabilities on a trek of 220 miles (350 km) from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts of Nicaragua.


Having crossed rivers, cut through dense jungle and climbed a 5,000ft active volcano, you could be excused for thinking a cooking show should be a piece of cake for this adventurous man. But as the Celebrity Masterchef’s first blind contestant, Latif said, “it’s the most terrifying thing I have done”. But away from the cameras, he said the ongoing lockdown has given him ample time to enjoy his newfound passion; “I forget I’m blind when I’m cooking.”


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