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MasterChef hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode reveal show secrets before return

Tag:MasterChef health culture 2021-03-01 11:45

 

MasterChef hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode reveal show secrets before return

 

MasterChef returns for its 17th series tomorrow night with hosts Gregg ­Wallace and John Torode still reeling from the show being the third most requested boxset on BBC iPlayer last year, after hit dramas Normal People and Killing Eve.

Here Gregg, 56, and John, 55, reveal the secret of its success, how they’ve coped with life in lockdown and their hopes for the future.

GREGG WALLACE
How is it still so popular?

It works as a cluster of programmes and also every programme works on its own individually. That’s the absolute genius of it. You get hooked.

Is Tracey from Durham going to get that steam pudding out? Is Kevin from Southampton going to manage the risotto on time? You just want to see the outcome. There are little outcomes, and then a big outcome. It is addictive.

 

MasterChef hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode reveal show secrets before return

 

What’s the standard of cooking this year?

We think the earlier rounds were a better quality than we’ve ever seen before. Everyone’s working from home and I suspect the MasterChef contestants have had way more chance to practise.

How is your fitness regime going?

I work out five times a week. I’m as fit as a ­butcher’s dog. I’m fitter and stronger now at 56 than I was at 26. I’m 12 stone. And less than 18% fat.

It’s about how good you feel when you're fitter and have confidence in how you look. You realise that the price of a bad diet – a bottle of wine a night and takeaway kebabs and takeaway pizzas – isn’t worth paying. It’s far too expensive a cost on your health.

 

MasterChef hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode reveal show secrets before return

 

Your home set-up sounds fascinating?

I’m there with my wife, our baby, her parents and my older daughter. It works because there is plenty of space. It’s a matriarchal family I live in – the girls run the family.

There are defined roles. It’s terribly old-fashioned, but I think it definitely works for us. I brought my children up on my own and I didn’t get to give them this big family vibe. And I know now as young adults, they really love it.

Would you let the cameras in?

We could do a documentary, At Home With the Wallaces. I’d love to do it. I’d like people to come and ­experience it, to see it, because it’s not a typically British thing. But my wife’s family being Italian, it is a typically Italian thing.

 

MasterChef hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode reveal show secrets before return

 

Are you loving being a dad in your 50s?

Sid is nearly two. I used to have ­splish-splash bath time with him when I was home but I don’t anymore.

It got too exhausting because he climbs out the bath at the tap end, runs around the other side, and wants me to drop him into the slippery slanty bit.

But I play with him a lot. I’m not there all the time, so when I’m home, I want at least half an hour, no matter how tired I am.

Did you know Victoria Wood spent her last days watching MasterChef?

I didn’t know that. I wish I’d have known because I could recite some of the Victoria Wood sketches back to her. I’d have sent her a message. (Breaks into rendition of Let’s Do It – The Ballad of Barry and Freda...)

 

MasterChef hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode reveal show secrets before return

 

Why did you quit Eat Well For Less?

I’m 56, and I was just getting tired, very, very tired. Because I was finishing one shoot and then going off to another, it was lots of sporadic days.

Whereas with the Channel 5 travel thing, it’s blocks of time I could set aside. Every day you wake up to another ­adventure. I’d like to do more.

Are you looking forward to having your vaccine?

Yes. Why are people nervous of it? Let’s all have our vaccinations and then we can get some semblance of normality again. I can go to a rugby match and have a pint of beer.

I think it might be an idea to open the pubs and put it in beer. How about that? Isn’t that a brilliant idea? And then the whole nation could get it really quickly.

What are you looking forward to most about lockdown ending?

I really want to go on holiday with Anna [his wife]. One of the provisos of having a baby was we’d have a fortnight holiday, on our own, every year. I look forward to just spending time with her.

 

MasterChef hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode reveal show secrets before return

 

JOHN TORODE
Why do people still love MasterChef after all this time?

There’s this great ambition. It’s not just about winning a competition, it’s about a complete change of life. It’s not like Strictly where you learn to dance and then you stop all over again. ­Restaurants aren’t open and I think people are looking for inspiration.

Do you still get excited after 17 series ?

I absolutely love it. I mean, I love it. I love it, love it, love it. A. I think it’s ­incredible what they’re doing. B. I get to eat
really good food a bit of the time.

I mean, it can start off a bit ropey, but it usually ends up being pretty good. And I love people. They’re fun, and they’re interesting, and they’re ­excitable.

Impressed by the contestants?

I love the fact that now we’ve got all these people coming to us who are really proud of their culture and how they’re fusing it with British food, and we’ve got this incredible sort of melange of stuff going on.

We can have a Iranian dish, next to a dish from North America, next to a South ­American dish, next to a classic French dish. Our culinary world is so fantastic and so varied.

 

MasterChef hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode reveal show secrets before return

 

What’s it like working with Gregg for so long?

Gregg and I do pretty well together for a couple. We’ve been together for 17 years, and I think we have a magic that happens, and why would you not want to love that magic?

Television’s like holding a grenade with the pin pulled out already, and if you let go of it, you’re finished. One day you’re here, the next day the ­commissioner decides you’re not here. It’s finished. Done. Resigning from something which is successful I think is probably foolhardy.

Will you do another 17 years?

Let’s hope so. Until such time as my teeth fall out then I suppose I can keep on going. They can wheel me in and whatever!

 

MasterChef hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode reveal show secrets before return

 

How much do you worry about how you look on TV?

I’d never have grown my hair like this before because I’ve always been concerned about the camera. I’m trying to get to the stage where I don’t put on masses of weight while I do a series.

A few years ago I’d ­probably put on a stone during a series, and then I’d take it off. But for this one, I cycled every day to and from work – about 20 miles.

I’m getting to the stage when my body will not move as fast as it used to. The metabolism starts to slow, and you’ve got to be a bit more clever about it.


How is your other work going?

I get to do work with my lovely wife on John and Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen. We wanted to do a TV series where people actually could cook the food. I’m not being awful about a lot of the programmes, but not everybody has access to fresh scallops and red mullet.

What are your hopes for this year?

The vaccines are going to bring us more freedom. I feel really sorry for the schoolchildren missing out on all those essential interactions. So 2021 for me, it’s what I call hope.

I hope that I might be able to travel a little bit. I hope that Lisa will be able to hug her dad. I hope that the sun comes out, and I hope the kids are not too affected by the fact that they haven’t been to school for almost a year.

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