INTERVIEW: Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace talks ahead of Lancaster show

Gregg Wallace
Gregg Wallace
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“I may say don’t put that Rolo in the duck’s bum...however you cooked the duck well.”

This is the potential advice culinary TV judge Gregg Wallace could give you if you are attempting to impress with an unusual dish.

Gregg Wallace. (Photograph by Jamie Hughes)

Gregg Wallace. (Photograph by Jamie Hughes)

Gregg has been a part of BBC television competitive cooking show, Masterchef for more than 13 years.

The 53-year-old is known for his love of desserts but what is he like behind the camera?

Fans have a chance to find out when he visits Lancaster next month.

“I’ve never been to Lancaster before, I’ve heard the Lancaster Grand is the oldest theatre in the country, which is quite amazing,” said Gregg.

“The tour is something I have been thinking about for a while.

“I want to discuss the TV that everybody is watching and answer people’s questions.”

During the show, Gregg On Food’, Gregg will be giving out culinary advice, behind the scenes tales and answering questions from the audience.

Probably the most popular question is Gregg’s favourite choice of pudding.

“My grandmas’ rhubarb crumble, it’s very hard to beat it,” he said.

“It would be crumbly and toasty and contrast with the sweet, sharp rhubarb, it was wonderful.

“There is no such thing as a foodie, food is something like breathing and cuddling, we all share a love of it.”

A spoon is never far from Gregg’s mouth and several viewers have picked up on his judging technique.

“Ahh, the spoon, somebody else mentioned this,” he said.

“An Irish lady in Waterloo Station mentioned this, I didn’t even know I was doing it.

“I’m not very clever so I keep the spoon in my mouth to find all the different levels of textures and think of a way to tell everybody how delicious it is.”

Before his TV fame Gregg was a former greengrocer and left school at just 14-years-old.

Born in Peckham, Gregg began his career in Covent Garden Fruit and Veg Market, but in 1989 he started George Allan’s Greengrocers and built that company up to an eventual turnover of £7.5m.

The success of that business led him to become co-presenter of Veg Talk on BBC Radio 4 and then in 2002 he became the original presenter of Saturday Kitchen.

Currently Gregg has six hit TV shows, Masterchef, Celebrity Masterchef, Masterchef The Professionals, Eat Well For Less, Inside The Factory and Supermarket Secrets.

He shares the Masterchef screen with chef, John Torrode – the duo have been working together for 15 years.

Before their TV partnering Gregg was John’s green grocer.

Their relationship is one of the many topics discussed during the Lancaster show.

His relationship with the press and topics on wine and food are also up for discussion.

“How can you be a judge when you are not a chef?” said Gregg.

“What’s the worst thing you have eaten?

“These questions come all the time.

“I think people think the worst thing is going to be an unusual concoction but it’s always something that’s not cooked properly. Weird dishes have been quail on top of a chocolate cake and even a fish head omelette.”

People often believe you are eating lots of food on Masterchef but in reality it’s mouthfuls, explains Gregg.

“Normally I never eat more than six mouthfuls of food during filming, which is less than one plate, it is not huge.”

Gregg is married to Anne-Marie Sterpini, whom he met in 2013, and has two children Tom and Libby.

He says he often finds it hard to find a balance between work and home life.

“It is not unique to me, it is shared by many people,” said Gregg.

“Is it right to not spend time with your children in order to fund their life or is best to have less money and be at home more?

“I don’t need more money, I am just terrified of poverty so I keep working. It is a nice idea to slow down but when I suggested that to my wife she just looked at me and raised her eyebrow.”

Gregg will be sharing more during his show at the Lancaster Grand on Saturday January 27, 2018 at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £20 on 01524 64695.