TV preview - Masterchef: The Finals

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If Nigella’s cooking techniques leave you feeling as sickly sweet as the homemade treacle sponge she lovingly paws over, and the military-style commands of Gordon’s kitchen quite frankly leave you cold, there’s good news for the domestic bods among us – MasterChef is about to launch another eager amateur chef upon us, and perhaps it’ll be their cookbooks we’re buying as Christmas presents this year.

Okay, we might be getting a bit ahead of ourselves there (it’s not even summer yet, after all), but whoever is crowned champion in tonight’s final, we can at least rest assured they’ve been brought up to scratch by some of the best in the business. Judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace take no prisoners.

This final is tougher than ever, and if the contestants are feeling nervous, they ought to be. After a formidable eight-week competition, the three finalists must push themselves to the limit one last time, before John and Gregg crown their champion. But just how much have they learnt? We’ll soon find out, as they have three hours to demonstrate what sort of cooks they have become.

The finalists’ challenge is to produce three exceptional courses for the palates of the two head honchos – and this isn’t something to be entered into lightly; they need to be looking to break through culinary boundaries and provide a taste that’s like nothing they’ve sampled before.

For MasterChef, tonight’s episode marks the end of a tenth hugely successful series. But just what is the winning recipe for such a well-loved format? Torode thinks it could be the programme’s simplicity and a lack of drama among the contestants – everyone involved is purely focused on the food.

He told TV Choice: “At the end of the day, I’m a cook and as a cook, that’s what I do. My job is not to put drama in. It’s just to tell people what’s really going on. I’m the narrator, and also I’m the person who’s there to teach and push the competitors.

“What I do is celebrate success, and great food. I don’t celebrate mediocrity and I don’t celebrate bad food. Everyone needs to remember that Gregg and I have to eat what’s created on the show. We’ve got to eat it! Why the hell do we want the drama of bad food?”

Torode moved to the UK in the 1990s and after first appearing on television on ITV’s This Morning, he’s been presenting MasterChef since 2005. But don’t mention the words ‘TV chef’ in front of him.

Torode explains: “I wasn’t on TV to become a chef. I became a chef and was a chef for 21 years before I did MasterChef. So people can call you ‘celebrity chef’, or whatever, but I’m a celebrated chef and that’s how I’d rather be referred to.”

In tonight’s final the spotlight isn’t on Torode, it isn’t even on the three finalists – it’s on the food. It is crunch time – somebody is needed to succeed last year’s victor Natalie Coleman...

MASTERCHEF: THE FINALS, BBC1, Friday 8.30pm

Masterchef returns to BBC One.

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