Published on June 30th, 2014 | by Martin Aston0
I interviewed Masterchef hosts John Torode and Gregg Wallace over five times. about the challenges and successes of the show. In 2010, I interviewed them about each other…
Gregg on John
What are John’s strengths?
“He has an extraordinary palate and he’s a tried and tested restaurateur. No one knows more about modern food than John.”
What’s the main difference between you?
“John likes to see process and technique – the inner workings of a dish. I don’t care how they got there, or the technique; does it taste good or not? That’s the difference between a chef and a punter, which is what John and I are.”
Is John harder to please than you?
“He’s a harsher judge because he’s trained so many young chefs. I’ve never trained anyone in cookery. We just come at things from different angles.”
Is there any word or phrase John overuses in the series?
“No, nothing irks. If there is a Torode-ism, it’s how he says ‘pusta’ because of his Australian accent rather than ‘pasta’. He does say ‘It needs some oomph’, and gesticulates with his fist. He says ‘unctuous’ a lot too.”
What’s the fastest way to his heart?
“Thai food. But if you don’t make it really well, you’re likely to be knocked out of the competition. But get it right and he’ll give you a kiss. Outside of food, it’s his children.”
What’s John’s guilty pleasure food?
“There’s nothing guilty about food, except too much of it. John’s only weakness is quality wine. My weakness is puddings. I’ve got the sweet tooth of a six year old.”
Tell us something people don’t know about John.
“He’s an enormous softie. They have no idea how emotional he gets when a contestant is knocked out. I’ve seen him in tears at least once a series. If someone really messes up, first of all he’s angry, then sad because he likes them as people. I get emotional Just thinking about it.”
John on Gregg
What are Gregg’s strengths?
“Through his greengrocer business, Gregg has supplied nearly every restaurant kitchen in London, and eaten in their restaurants, so he knows how to spot good food and bad food. I love to prepare food and then hand a dish over, but Gregg loves to sit down and enjoy it. He’s eaten out more times that I’ll ever dream of.”
Any other main difference between you?
“I’m probably a better cook. And a better cyclist. And a better swimmer in the sea because he hates it. I reckon he saw Jaws when he was young! I’ve got hair and he doesn’t. He wears tweed; I don’t. He has his spoon in his mouth longer than I do. I’m circumcised, he’s not! We share a changing room, remember! I’ve even had a Turkish bath with him. Thought we kept our pants on.”
Are you harder to please judge than Gregg?
“I’m harder on contestants in the invention test because I don’t want to deal with the dross. You either stay or you go.”
Has Greg a phrase he overuses in Masterchef?
“‘Cooking doesn’t get any tougher than this!’ Or ‘Pudding, huh huh!’” We did Masterchef Live last year and he’d walk on stage and say, ‘Cooking doesn’t get any tougher than this!’ and everyone would roar! Mine phrase is ‘This could change your life’ but it’s the poor cousin to Gregg’s.”
What’s his guilty pleasure food?
“A takeaway from a well known high street chain.”
Tell us something people don’t know about Gregg.
“I dare say he’s disclosed everything on his own! He’s very vocal about who he is and what he does. Apart from the fact he’s an absolutely adoring father.”
Do you know his Twitter alias?
“Yes, it’s Pudding Face. There’s another difference; he tweets and I don’t. At the end of my work day, I like to go home. What I do outside of my professional life is my own life.”
What’s the fastest way to Gregg’s heart?
“Apple crumble and custard. And every so often, a cuddle. He’s a very affectionate, tactile man.”
Would a special meal for Gregg be apple crumble?
“No, that’s what he cooks. I’d probably make him Thai. Something light and vibrant and spicy, which he wouldn’t eat every day, or maybe even have eaten before. It’s the food I love and cook the best. But I’d have to cook something pretty good or I wouldn’t make it through to the next round.”
John: “Gregg and I are allowed to be ourselves on Masterchef – we’re not scripted, we’re allowed to make our own decisions, and we have good days and bad days, good moods and bad moods. There are strops and shouting at each other – ‘you’re not having your way today!’”
Gregg: “You can’t ask two people to make decisions several times a week and not expect them to fall out. We still argue over the first ever Celebrity Masterchef winner. I still say Hardeep Singh was the better cook; he had more knowledge, the bigger repertoire and the most versatility. But Matt Dawson shared John’s love of Far Eastern flavours, and won.”
J: “We film together around 120 days a year, and each day is quite long. We’re like a married couple.”
G: “We’re the Terry and June of cookery shows!”
J: “What are you trying to say, Gregg? And don’t cross your arms in that way, young man!”