MasterChef’s John Torode tells TV Times magazine why his standards are going to be set so high in the new series of Celebrity MasterChef

What can we expect to see from the celebrities in this series?
“This year’s lot have brought a true sense of competition we haven’t seen before. It’s like they’ve joined forces against us to say, ‘You’re not kicking one of us out!'”

You’ve got celebrities like Aggie MacKenzie, Linda Lusardi, Kirsty Wark and Colin and Justin coming into the kitchen. Who should we be looking out for?
“Colin and Justin for pure entertainment value, and Linda Lusardi is a surprise. They’ve all got a lot to live up to as we’ve had some cracking past winners!

“We’ve tweaked the show too, so now they walk into the kitchen, having never met us and we ask them to cook us something in 10 minutes. You can imagine what celebs are like under that pressure can’t you!”

And what about some of the past winners of Celebrity MasterChef?
“Nadia Sawalha [now John’s co-presenter on Junior MasterChef] was one of my favourites, for knowing instinctively how to make people happy with food. Last year’s winner, Lisa Faulkner, was a great cook, too, although she didn’t know it. The standard’s even better this year – although not initially!”

How did you meet your co-presenter, Gregg Wallace?
“I was working in a kitchen in Chelsea when a white Escort van pulled up and Gregg got out, saying, ‘Awight?’ like a proper Cockney wide-boy. He was looking for business and I said if he could get me coriander with the root on, which was hard to find, I’d buy all my fruit and veg from him. Two days later he showed up with some. He’s the best salesman I know!

“Gregg and I have our differences – we’re like an old married couple at times. Yet despite working together for six years, we’ve never been to each other’s houses. We have different lives, but we’re close friends and respect each other’s opinions enormously.”

Have you got any plans to hang up your MasterChef apron any time?
“As long as I’m able to walk into the studio and pick up a knife and fork I want to still do it. I love it.”