Former Masterchef UK contestant's heartwarming story of cooking for elderly neighbour during lockdown

food for old man next door
"It's nice to share that with somebody." Photo credit: Twitter/Anthony O'Shaughnessy (@anthonyshock)

An ex-Masterchef UK contestant has shared a heartwarming story of generosity in the COVID-19 pandemic, revealing how he cooks delicious meals every day for his elderly neighbour.

Anthony O'Shaughnessy, 28, made it to the semi-finals when he competed in the BBC cooking series in 2018.

O'Shaughnessy, who is staying with his mother in Newcastle during the pandemic, tweeted this week that he's been "feeding the old man next door for about a month now". 

"I ring him before I make dinner so I know to make extra. I just called to let him know what I'm making tonight: Broccoli Parmesan Farfalle and Lime-Frosted Carrot Cake. 'I look forward to this every day' he said."

O'Shaughnessy says it's a pleasure to cook for his neighbour, as "my mam turns her nose up at my cooking most of the time". 

"He's never turned down anything I've made. He loves spices and hot food and has really excellent taste. It's nice to share that with somebody.

"Here’s his dinner tonight anyways - the pasta was delicious!"

The tweet thread racked up over 250,000 likes and 16,000 shares, with commenters praising the heartwarming story. 

"I’m not crying. You’re crying. Wait we're all crying. This is beautiful. Thank you for your humanity!" wrote one commenter. 

"Bless your beautiful heart, that's so lovely of you. And it's so lovely he appreciates your food. It does look gorgeous," wrote another. 

O'Shaughnessy told a local news agency that when the lockdown was announced, he and his mum were a bit concerned about their elderly neighbour, due to his previous health issues. 

"My mum gave him a ring, she normally gives him a call every now and then to make sure he’s alright because he’s on his own," he explained. 

"He said he'd ordered some shopping and they hadn’t delivered it, and kept delaying it, and I think it was cancelled twice so we were getting a bit concerned."

O’Shaughnessy took around a plate of dinner  – and has continued cooking for him ever since.

He says he's been overwhelmed by the response online. 

"It's nice to see other people's comments on it as well, I didn’t expect it to go as far as it did. But people have been saying nice things as well, like they want to help their neighbours and stuff and it encouraged them to check on people around them and I think that's nice, I hope that’s a good thing people took away from it."