Gregg Wallace has promised that the new series of MasterChef – complete with a shiny revamped set – won’t disappoint fans.

The TV judge is once again joining John Torode to front the hit BBC1 show, which will feature a reformed vegetarian who slaughters his own chickens, a classical cellist and a model.

Gregg described the new series, which is being broadcast in 15 hour-long programmes, as: “Flash new set, but it’s still the same – an Aussie, a bald bloke and some fantastic food.”

Among the contestants is Peter Saville, from Birmingham, who started cooking because he was fed up of being served stodgy lentil bakes.

He said: “My ability has progressed somewhat since those early days, and now I grow my own vegetables and keep hens for eggs and a few chickens for the table, which I slaughter, pluck and gut myself – needless to say, I am no longer vegetarian.”

The 39-year-old former lecturer is one of 20 foodies who passed a daunting audition cooking for Gregg and John on the BBC1 show.

Among the other shortlisted contestants are 33-year-old Kennedy Leitch, a cellist who said he fantasises about cooking while playing concerts, and model and mum Alice Taylor from Swansea.

In future episodes, the selected chefs will have to cook for previous winners of the show including 2010 MasterChef Dhruv Baker and 2005 champion Thomasina Miers.

The next episode is on Wednesday February 23 at 9pm on BBC1.