Recommended second chance
After weeks of tension as the stars get creative in the kitchen while racing against the clock, celebrity cookery competiton MasterChef reaches it's lip-smacking finale. Judge Gregg Wallace sets the scene...
Do you watch the show during the week?
No, I watch it on catch-up. I’m always a week or two weeks behind. Do you know why I watch it? It’s to see what it looks like so that I can give the directors better comments next time. So I know what they’re looking for. That’s why I do it.
The other week, we have to admit, we thought you were needling [contestant] Diarmuid Gavin a bit…
Do you know him? Is there history there?
Yeah. I know him, that’s why. When blokes like each other, they take the mickey out of each other. Although, it’s taken me years to work out that if you try it with women, they just get offended. So if you follow me and [fellow MasterChef judge] John Torode on Twitter, we’re at it all the time. [Chef] Tom Kitchin sent me a recipe book and John said, ‘I didn’t get one’. I went, ‘Well, that’s cos you can’t read properly!’ This is going on between me and John, and it’s also true of me and Diarmuid.
The first challenge in the final week is the invention test. Do you think, in general, they’ve been making that challenge tougher this year?
Yes. I think there’ve been some tricky ones. But it very quickly sorts the wheat from the chaff.
There’s also an on-set catering challenge, cooking for the cast and crew of New Tricks. Was that a good day?
Erm… I think the contestants should have pushed themselves a little bit harder — let’s wait and see what happens.
Do you mean in terms of the quality of the food?
In terms of the quality, yeah. They’re wearing a MasterChef shirt, there are standards that should be maintained. Maybe one or two of them could have pushed themselves more.
In general, how does the quality of cooking on Celebrity MasterChef compare with the regular show?
They’re not at the standard of regular MasterChef. But, by the end of it, I think our three finalists would probably get into the semis on the normal show. That’s reasonable, isn’t it?
At the start of each episode of this series, when we’ve had the famous, ‘Cooking doesn’t get tougher than this’ line, you’ve then done a wink afterwards. Now, what’s that about?
It’s because it’s the catchphrase. It wasn’t scripted, the wink. We do a few takes on this and the producer, in her wisdom, decided to keep it in. That line has become… I don’t want to use the word ‘iconic’ about something I do, but it’s become a well-known line. So I said the line and I gave John a wink, because that’s our line, isn’t it? It’s our MasterChef line!
John’s never quite managed to establish as successful a catchphrase, has he? Do you needle him about that?
No, no. What did he use to say? ‘It’ll change their lives’? And he still says, ‘Let’s cook!’ But I don’t think it’s got the same ring as… or it’s not as versatile as, ‘Doesn’t get tougher than this’.