Following the last of the semi-finals, John Torode gives the lowdown on the gruelling hurdles the four finalists will have to face and shares his highlights from this year's series of Celebrity MasterChef...

Following the last of the semi-finals, John Torode gives the lowdown on the gruelling hurdles the four finalists will have to face and shares his highlights from this year’s series of Celebrity MasterChef.

Here’s John Torode’s TV Times interview

TV Times: Are you expecting a tense final?

John Torode: “Definitely. These are competitive people and that’s why it becomes so tense. The celebrities always say they want to learn to cook but let’s face it they’re all there to win.”

TVT: How do you think the series has shaped up so far?

JT: “It’s been a brilliant year and we’ve had some fantastic characters. There’s a great diversity of careers, origins and backgrounds. We’ve had more fish stews from around the world than ever before. But on Masterchef we don’t really care who these people are. What we care about is the food. The celeb tag doesn’t mean very much. We’re not going to put someone through just because they’re funny because we’re the ones who have to eat their food!”

TVT: What’s the key to success then?

JT: “It’s getting that balance between knowing what you want to do, not going over the top and doing it well. Often the contestants take too much of a gamble and it goes wrong. For example Angelica made a very pretty apple tart and put loads of pressure on herself but the consequence was it didn’t taste right.”

(L-R) Ulrika Jonsson, Barney Harwood, Lesley Garrett, Nick Moran, Aasmah Mir

TVT: What tasks will you be setting for the final?

JT: “The palate taste this year is all about Asian food. We all know what a dumpling looks like or a chicken satay but can they make them? Then the final is as tough as it gets. They have to impress the best chefs in the country and that’s always the big one.”

 TVT: What’s the most challenging part?

JT: “Conquering their nerves. There’s that great saying ‘Don’t look at everybody else’s ladder or you’ll fall off your own’ and that’s what happens. They’re all watching each other and keeping secrets up their sleeves!”

TVT: What should we look out for?

JT: “It’s about consistency first and foremost and not just cooking with your head but cooking with your heart. If the contestants learn to relax and trust their instincts it works so much better.”

TVT: Who’s surprised you this year?

JT: “What always astounds me is that in real life these people play in stadiums in front of thousands of people or act in front of an audience of millions but then they cook a duck and get all nervous about it. I was most surprised by Ulrika because I didn’t expect her to have so little confidence. And she’s a gifted cook.”

TVT: Any funny moments this year?

JT: “We always have a giggle but the real shock was Becky admitting she’s scared of fish. My reaction was ‘What you’re an Olympic swimmer and you won’t go in the sea? That’s amazing!”

Celebrity MasterChef

Rebecca Adlington feels pots of pressure when she takes part in Celebrity MasterChef

TVT: Nothing beats the finals though does it?

JT: “No. What always happens is someone’s head will just pop up and they produce something amazing. It’s anybody’s game.”

Here’s John’s series highlights...

1.Nick Moran’s beef Wellington

“Nick reinventing the beef Wellington into a Wellington boot with purple mash in the bottom was bonkers. It was a potato pasty. That’s double carbs and like double denim, you just don’t do it.”

2.The skills test

“The contestants always come in thinking they can’t do these tests but as the weeks go by they realise they can. To get people to find that confidence and understand they have the skills is wonderful.”

3.Cooking for the RNLI

“This was organised chaos. It was like walking down the street in Mumbai. It shouldn’t come together but somehow it did.”

Watch Celebrity Masterchef – The Final, BBC1, Friday, 22 September