Gregg Wallace and John Torode have been presenting MasterChef since 2005, and as they return with the series, they sat down to talk to OK!
As we all know, even a well loved show needs to make sure it doesn’t go stale – and this time, MasterChef will have a new audition round where the contestants go in first. For this, Gregg and John simply watch before tasting.
“I wasn’t sure at first, because I don’t like change,” says Gregg. “But I liked how the most important thing was the plate of food – unadulterated by chat.”
Fans will also enjoy the contestants leading up to the grand final, where they will cook a lunch for the war veterans of the Royal British Legion. “It was humbling,” says Gregg.
And in our exclusive chat, the pair spilled the beans on what goes on in their kitchens when the cameras aren’t rolling…
Hi Gregg and John. If both of you could invite 3 famous people to a dinner party you were hosting, who would they be?Gregg: “I’m going to go with Augustus Caesar, Alexander the Great and Napoleon… although it might be tricky chat over the table. Not sure what language we would speak!”
Well, what on earth would you cook for that party?
Gregg: “I’d roast them some lamb, roast potatoes… they’d love it.”
John: “Interesting dinner party… who would survive the end of it?!”
John: “I’d actually just love to have my family over…. But I’d always liked to have talked to Peter Ustinov as I think he was quite creative. He did Orson Welles and War of the Worlds – that was quite crazy what he did with that. Uma Thurman – I just watched Pulp Fiction again. What a film. And lastly, why not Jeff Bezos!”
Do you bet with each other early on which contestants are going to make the final?
Gregg: “No! That would be completely immoral! I do regularly say to contestants though, the good news is I’ve put a £20 bet on you. But the bad news is John Torode’s given me 5 to 1. Ha ha!”
John: “There is this thing that Nick Hewer said, which is the same for MasterChef. In the early rounds of MasterChef, Gregg and I have picked the winner by round three and by round six they’ve gone home. You can never ever know with MasterChef. If you were trying to bet on the winner on MasterChef you’d be losing a LOT of money.”
Do amateur MasterChef contestants tend to cook different meals to the pros and the celebs?
Gregg: “No. They all cook the same. They all cook what they’re into and what they like to eat – just with different levels of skill.”
John: “That’s absolutely right. They all cook the things they love and the things that they’re influenced by in their life and the only difference is the level of skill.”
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If you were cooking a meal to impress, what would be on your menu?
Gregg: “I’d cook some stuffed pasta to start because that is tricky to do. I’d do a dessert – a panna cotta or tarte tatin, because they’re classics. Main course to impress someone with…. I’d roast some meats perfectly, which can be tricky on MasterChef! I think I’d do roast lamb with mint sauce and gravy.”
John: “I’d always cook Thai and probably cook eight or nine dishes. I just love it”
When you go out with your wives for dinner, can you both guess exactly what each of you will order?
John: “Lisa knows exactly what I’ll order. If there’s a pigeon on the menu, or a veal chop, that’s what I’ll have. And I always know what Lisa will order – lots of different things. She’ll eat a tiny bit and I’ll have to finish it!”
Gregg: “I never know what Anna’s going to order. It always surprises me. My go to is fish – shellfish or fish.”
What has been your worst culinary disaster?
Gregg: “I made a lovely French onion soup with croutons, and it was just beautiful. I thought when my son comes round, I’ll make a big batch of it. So he came round and I started hitting the red wine, messed up the recipe and just served this enormous grey sludge. And the only thing anyone could eat was the cheesy croutons. The time before, it was almost clear like a consommé, just lovely. I really wanted to make it for my son, but got drunk, doubled the recipe, put too much flour in and it was just filth.”
John: “1993. First New Year of Quaglino’s. Twelve o’clock. There were 320 people having dinner. Out were going the desserts – soufflés and various things. They’d installed balloons in the ceiling. At midnight, they detonated the balloons, and inside them, was metal glitter. No-one had worked out that metal glitter goes into everyone’s food. Every single person with food had to send their food back to the kitchen to be redone. We stayed there until 3.30 in the morning, remaking all these Grand Marnier soufflés. It was horrendous!”
MasterChef returns on Wednesday 23rd March at 8pm.
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