For those of us who struggle to recognise one end of a spatula from the other, or can’t even knock up a salad without burning it, the Beeb’s signature culinary effort has kept us entertained for years.
But now that MasterChef has hit its 10th series, we’re left with little choice but to sit up and learn a thing or two, as John Torode and Gregg Wallace return with a new batch of amateur cooks keen to prove their worth.
As we’re constantly reminded, cooking doesn’t get any tougher than this - and indeed, every series seems to crank up the heat just a little bit, so that by now we must be on about Gas Mark 20.
Luckily, over the years we’ve picked up enough to spot a fallen souffle or a split sauce when we see one, so we should be able to keep up - but what about the contestants?
Well, the first six hopefuls take on a new challenge as they prepare their Calling Card, a dish which represents who they are and showcases their talent. They then get one more chance to impress in the Invention Test, before two of them are sent home.
The remaining four then replicate the conditions of restaurant service as they rustle up dinner for 2005 MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers, 2008 winner James Nathan and 2010 finalist Alex Rushmer. The final four ought to consider themselves lucky that the ultimate decision of who reaches the quarter-final lies with big pussycats John and Gregg.
There’s something about the interplay between chef John and former greengrocer Gregg that just works. Regularly dubbed a ‘bromance’, the pair go together like fish and chips - or should that be beer-battered line-caught Atlantic cod and rustic, hand-cut organic maris piper frites? It helps that they worked together before they found fame on our screens, after the latter impressed the former by tracking down a particularly rare ingredient for his kitchen and won his whole supply contract in the process.
Surprisingly, though, John doesn’t think they’d be mates if they didn’t work together. He told The Sun, “I don’t think [we would be friends]. We have different thoughts on life and that’s why it works.
If we were the same, it’d be really dull. We’re not scripted, so we say what we want.”
Well, either way it’s a winning recipe - and we wouldn’t change it one bit.
Masterchef, Wednesday, BBC1, 9pm