Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off

Tuesday:Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off; (BBC One, 8pm)

John Torode and Gregg Wallace
John Torode and Gregg Wallace

For many of us, Christmas is a time to get together with old friends.

So deck the halls, stuff the turkey and break out the Christmas fizz, as 10 of the most memorable celebrities from past series come back to the world-famous MasterChef kitchen to compete in two festive themed specials.

Tonight, Gregg Wallace and John Torode welcome the first five competitors back.

First up, Strictly professional Oti Mabuse will return to the cooking competition to face scrutiny of judges Gregg and John.

Oti originally appeared in Celebrity MasterChef’s 14th series back in 2019, when she claimed she had “never poached an egg before”.

Meanwhile, TOWIE star Joey Essex is also back after appearing on back in 2019 when he failed to impress the judges with his ‘stirotto’ dish, which was supposed to be a cross between a stir fry and a risotto. Gregg commented: “It’s like a cold rice pudding.”

Also in that series, Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock tried to win over the judges with his giant cheese-filled meatballs, but they were also a disappointment. “They are so huge they are like asteroids,” John declared.

Nevertheless, the larger-than-life former footballer is also back to try his luck again in the kitchen. In addition, comedian Judi Love, and actor and national treasure Su Pollard are also back to battle it out for the all-new Celebrity MasterChef Golden Whisk trophy.

In Thursday’s second show is reality star Gemma Collins. The Celebrity Big Brother, Dancing on Ice, Celebs Go Dating and I’m A Celebrity star made it to the semi-finals in 2018, before her sea bass, which she presented on unsightly grease-proof paper, left a bad taste in the judges’ mouths.

Also in tonight’s first show is actor and TV presenter Joe Swash, who made it through to this year’s final despite serving slightly raw duck, as well as actor and entertainer Les Dennis, who lost out to funnyman Ade Edmondson for the crown in 2013. Singer Mica Paris will be trying to forget about her crepe with sour cream, chocolate and strawberries which lacked technical skill in 2015, while broadcaster the Reverend Richard Coles, who was given the boot in 2016 after his Queen of Puddings, completes the second line-up.

Craig Revel Horwood was crowned last year’s Christmas Cook-off winner, 13 years after he narrowly missed out on victory in the main Celebrity series when he lost out to Nadia Sawalha.

The Strictly judge beat off competition from TV presenter Amar Latif, Made In Chelsea star Spencer Matthews and actress Crissy Rock, and admitted he was determined to taste victory this time around.

He said: “I really went in there to win it this time. I thought ‘I’m not going to be beaten’ and I really enjoyed it.”

As in last year’s show, the celebrities will be aiming to show off their (improved) culinary skills by cooking up an array of festive treats for the judges to feast on.

Expect plenty of laughs, Christmas banter, a bit of sing song and, who knows, some surprisingly decent food.

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