A hugely popular and influential figure on the UK culinary circuit, John Torode is best known as the straight-talking co-host and judge of eleven seasons of BBC1’s MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef and Junior MasterChef, as well as the presenter of A Cook Abroad: John Torode’s Argentina and The A to Z of TV Cooking for BBC2. For his latest solo venture, John went back to his roots with a culinary road trip across Australia. His series John Torode’s Australia premiered in March 2014 and was the top performing show of the year on the Good Food channel. The series also aired on Watch from November 2014.
Australian by birth, John is credited as one of the main players in introducing Australasian food to the UK in the mid-1990s. In 1992 he joined the Conran Group, starting out at Pont de La Tour before becoming Sous Chef at Quaglino’s. In 1995, John became Head Chef for the launch of Mezzo in Soho; at the time one of Europe’s largest restaurants.
He opened Smiths of Smithfield in 2000. The four-floor Grade-II listed restaurant, private dining room and café, located in the heart of Smithfield Market, was a roaring success under his leadership and became a firm fixture on both the restaurant and bar scenes during his tenure. John’s second restaurant venture was another popular multi-storey operation, The Luxe, which opened at Spitalfields Market in 2009.
John is passionate about sourcing the best of British produce, particularly within the meat industry, where he has long been a champion of rare breeds. In his quest to source the very best produce whilst at Smiths, he built strong relationships with many small farmers & butchers throughout the UK and aimed to share his knowledge through his widely distributed “Fine Meat List”. John’s third cookbook, namely John Torode’s ‘Beef’ and other bovine matters not only gives us every which way to cook with beef but also gives the history and importance of great and rare breeds, butcher’s recommended cuts and true head to tail eating. The follow-up book, John Torode’s Chicken and Other Birds needs no explanation!
John became a familiar face to TV audiences back in 1996 as the resident chef on ITV’s This Morning with Richard and Judy; a role in which he continued for four years. Since 2004 John has paired up with Gregg Wallace, handing out feedback, criticism and support to hundreds of hopefuls aiming to be crowned MasterChef (or indeed Celebrity MasterChef) and is also the judge and co-host of CBBC’s Junior MasterChef. In 2011 John and Gregg also teamed up to guest host Have I Got News For You for BBC1. They are the first ever duo to co-host the satirical current affairs quiz.
He has championed British beef and Aylesbury duck in the Great British Food Revival, judged bake-offs for the Blue Peter appeal, appeared as an expert panellist on The Apprentice: You’re Fired, is a frequent guest chef and host on Saturday Kitchen and a popular guest on shows such as The One Show, Loose Women, BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, Ask Rhod Gilbert and The Alan Titchmarsh Show as well as numerous radio programmes. He has also read Bedtime Stories on the CBeebies channel and appeared in spin-off editions of MasterChef for Comic Relief and Children in Need. John has travelled internationally to promote his books and appeared on the hit US show Today for NBC and been a guest judge in three seasons of MasterChef Australia.
John’s TV programmes regularly attract a huge audience. Indeed MasterChef’s popularity has placed John & Gregg on the front cover of several magazines including the Radio Times and spawned five cookbooks to date (namely The MasterChef Cookbook, MasterChef At Home, MasterChef Kitchen Bible, MasterChef EveryDay & MasterChef Cookery Course) and there’s even an iPhone app for that! Sainsbury’s Magazine readers even voted MasterChef as the Top TV Food Show of the Decade and it has been included in the Top Ten list of the most Sky Plussed shows of the year. John has also been a hit on Good Food (formerlyUKTV Food). He teamed up with comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli for a 10-part series exploring the diverse culinary communities of multicultural Britain. New British Kitchen — Torode and Hardeep’s Tour aired in May 2008 on UKTV Food. Within the first week the show was already proving a real success, overtaking the rest of the channel’s ratings.
A well-known food writer, John regularly contributes to Olive and BBC Good Food magazines, as well as Radio Times and Red magazine and has supplied numerous articles for the Guardian, Daily Mail andObserver newspapers.
John’s latest cookbook My Kind Of Food: Recipes I Love to Cook at Home was published on 10th September 2015.
Visit John’s website at johntorode.com.
Image credit: Yuki Sugiura