Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing has claimed that while having a good personality helps contestants on MasterChef: The Professionals, it won’t win them the title, as the show is about their cooking skills.
The no-nonsense chef is back alongside co-judges Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace for the eighth series of the BBC show and said viewers can expect a few changes.
Marcus Wareing (BBC/Shine)
“There are more chefs this time around – 48 in total – and while they usually try to pre-empt what’s going to happen next, the set-up is slightly different,” he revealed.
“At the beginning of each episode, Monica and I now present skill-set tasks that will test the chefs at certain points of the process – especially in the early stages.
“Last year, we felt it was very savoury-driven and lacked pastry work, so we’ve decided to ask the chefs to make a style of dessert using just set ingredients. It’s quite a limited larder this year, so we’re really looking to see their basic skills.”
Jamie Scott (Plank PR)
Marcus said that the latest group of contestants was strong and all at different stages of their career. Each will be hoping to take up the baton from 2014 winner Jamie Scott, who was a popular winner because of his cooking and personality.
But Marcus said being likeable isn’t the main factor in success on the show.
Looking back at the last series, he recalled: “During the first stages, we couldn’t predict who would be the champion of the series, but it’s interesting how they evolve. His personality was always very pleasant and while it helps, it won’t win you the title of Professional MasterChef.”
Marcus Wareing (David Parry/PA)
The respected chef, who has three restaurants and has also featured on Great British Menu, said the chefs have to take his advice with good grace on MasterChef.
He explained: “I don’t think they have a choice. They have to respond in a way that is professional, but with eight to 10 chefs set the same challenge, it won’t bring a smile to everyone’s face.
“Each of them is hoping that you set them a challenge they’re familiar with. Once their nerves start to calm and they settle into the kitchen, the chefs tend to come out of their shell.
“We want them to really enjoy the experience, rather than get bogged down after a bad day. It’s a lot more than that.”
Monica Galetti (BBC/Shine)
Marcus is also happy to be working with Gregg and Monica for a second series.
“Last year, we delivered the show and it went down very well, but now we’ve got to know each other better as people and co-presenters, we have a huge amount of respect for one another’s opinion.
“There’s no jostling for positions; it’s just relaxed and comfortable. It’s about cooking food that the viewers can enjoy and try at home.”
MasterChef: The Professionals begins on BBC2 on Tuesday, 8pm.