I love cooking. The kitchen is my church, the chopping board my altar, Radio 4 my choir. In fact it's secretly the Great Escape. No other Dad-Task so perfectly combines point winning bravado, zero childcare, and the uncorking of something robust and red quite so efficiently as getting the apron on. I cook a mean Sunday roast. This was not always the case.
As a student, my culinary skills stretched between the fridge and the Breville Toaster – easily the most vital of all student kitchen utensils - an object unique in its ability to breathe new life into objects which had previously been declared utterly dead, such as yesterday evening’s Pot Noodle.
Fortunately my culinary skills have improved since those impoverished days, and thanks in no small part to the increasing popularity of the cookery programmes. I like cookery programmes - good cookery programmes - a lot. Unfortunately for every Floyd there is a Fearnly-Whatshisname, for every Wareing there is a Wallace. And there is a lot of Wallace. Too much Wallace. There is in fact more Greg Wallace than is surely possible for Wallace to provide within known physical laws. Perhaps he has a Thyme machine.
Is it Masterchef? Is it Masterchef Professional? Is it, in fact, Celebrity Masterchef (difficult to tell). The real question should be Is Greg Wallace a chef? No. Not even a cook. In fact his official title on Masterchef is “ingredients expert”. Let’s be clear, Greg Wallace is a fruit and veg salesman.
That said, his unique, mouth stuffing techniques, straining and spilling, plus his impressive ability to rearrange the opinions of his co-host in a much simpler, even childlike way, makes for compelling viewing. That. Is. Laarvely.
The truth is, there is so much Masterchef that alien civilisations observing us from the far recesses of space, could easily be forgiven for thinking that Greg is our leader, maybe even our God. Perhaps Graven images of Wallace, in full tasting crouch, spoon in hand and pesto dribbling down chin, are adorning the altars of extra-terrestrial churches across the galaxy.
There may even be a new version of the Lord’s Prayer, in honour of the Master of the Mouthful:
Our Greg, who art from Peckham,
Portly be thy frame
Thy mouthful come, thy spill be done
On BBC2, is it is on the iPlayer
Rate us this day our lovely pud
And forgive us our soufflé
As we forgive those who parboil against us
Lead us not into elimination
But deliver us from under-seasoning
For thine is the kitchen, the flour and John Dory
For pestle and mortar.