AND LO, Celebrity MasterChef returns to British screens just in time to take the baton from the Olympics in a bid to guide the nation through its crippling sporting comedown. Competitive cookery doesn’t get more thrilling than this – so let’s take a closer look at some of this series’ potential winners and what it takes to claim the coveted title.
Five celebs to keep an eye on:
In a parallel universe, Javine Hylton is the lead singer in Girls Aloud and a judge on The X Factor. As it is, she’s a mediocre pop star, but a wonderful cook. How do we know this? Because she was once on Celebrity Come Dine With Me and did a great job. Keep a close eye on her.
You probably know Laila from Footballers’ Wives or Strictly Come Dancing, but in her everyday life she once dated James Petrie, who works at The Fat Duck – the bonkers restaurant run by Heston Blumenthal. Did he teach her some tricks? We bet he did.
Like Javine, Diarmuid has already wowed the nation in an episode of Celebrity Come Dine With Me – hence he clearly knows his way around a kitchen. Plus he’s a famous gardener, so presumably knows a thing or three about edible leaves. Expect lots of salads.
He’s a confident guy that Theakston, with a taste for the high life. He also has the look of a man who likes to don an apron, sear a tuna fish and zip up a tasty little jus in a blender. He could be the dark horse.
Rebecca is a former rower and cyclist, who has also studied nutrition at university. That makes her an expert in healthy eating. Plus she’s half Spanish, so is probably schooled in making small plates of prawns in garlic overcoats or potatoes drowning in a sea of tomato sauce.
How to win:
1. Don’t mix meat and fruit
Don’t take the Invention Test literally. It isn’t all jelly helicopters, pork with strawberries, and chicken ice-cream smothered in rich chocolate sauce – they’re just looking for something promising and edible. So when you look down and see a massive steak placed directly next to some oven chips, take the hint.
2. Get John on your side
Each time you make a meal for Gregg, he’ll vanish to a little side room to shout opinions at John. And, as a rule of thumb, when it comes to these Torode/Wallace stand-offs, John’s opinion always wins. That’s because John is a trained chef with an eye for talent, while Gregg is a lovable greengrocer with a craving for another jam roly-poly.
3. Stay calm in the professional kitchen
There is a stark contrast between impressing your friends at a dinner party with some lovely Thai prawns and squeezing even the faintest of smiles from a crazed chef who hates your stupid stories about foraging for mushrooms. He just wants to shout “AWAY TABLE THREE” in your face over and over again to see if you’ll cry. Which you probably will. But don’t worry, it’s OK to fail here.
4. Bake Gregg a cake
Your finely honed technique and deft cookery skills might get John singing your praises, but, in the latter stages, you’ll need to get Gregg in your pocket. There’s just one thing for it: a big sticky cake swimming in a sea of custard. Think of him as your cheerful rotund friend at school to whom seconds was just a meal you had before thirds.
5. Use buzzwords and key phrases
It’s not all about the free dinners for these guys – they also want to get to know the real you. This means you’re going to have to speak, so it might be wise to have a few things jotted down, otherwise you could end up blathering inanely. Use phrases such as “honest cooking”, “rustic food”, “hearty fare” and “simple ingredients”, and they’ll be eating out of your hand. Gregg might even shed a tear.
Follow these rules and you will definitely win Celebrity MasterChef.
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