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‘Celebrity Masterchef’ Has a New Champion

Eight remained, and one triumphed, as the “cooking that doesn’t get tougher than this” does indeed get tougher

Celebrity Masterchef 2020 semi-finalists stand outside in a bright, grassy area
The Celebrity Masterchef 2020 semi-finalists
BBC/Shine TV

The Celebrity Masterchef 2020 edition is drawing to a close, with Gregg Wallace and John Torode judging the eight remaining contestants to decide who will have the great honour of being the best chef who is a celebrity, rather than a celebrity chef. The remaining contestants are the...

Celebrity Masterchef 2020 semi-finalists

  • Riyadh Khalaf, Queer Britain and Unexpected Fluids presenter, influencer, and YouTuber.
  • Matthew Pinsent, Olympic gold medal amasser, sports presenter, and member of the “I’m sure he’s already done this show” club.
  • Amar Latif, TV presenter and entrepreneur, and the first blind contestant on Masterchef U.K.
  • Gethin Jones, Blue Peter presenter turned non-Blue Peter presenter.
  • Sam Quek, former field hockey player and Olympic gold medal-winner.
  • Phil Daniels, longtime Londoner-playing actor and ‘Parklife’ monologuer.
  • Judi Love, comedian and Loose Women panellist.
  • Thomas Skinner, erstwhile Apprentice contestant.

The first semi-final is another mass catering challenge, with the eight split into two teams of four and tasked with cooking for 120 people at the Guide Dogs for the Blind. Honestly, forget the cooking for a minute:

Much like the excruciating “picks” on school playing fields, the celebrities make the Sporty People their captains, Matthew and Sam squaring up. Then, it’s just another mass catering challenge, with some light jeopardy — pork chops being deboned, tarts being burned — causing some heavy jeopardy — being late for the people who train dogs who help people live their lives would surely be the greatest crime in Masterchef history — that resolves into no-one being late and everything being absolutely fine.

Meanwhile, Gregg’s wardrobe is causing some concern. What a rig:

So it’s back to the Masterchef kitchen, and the judges couldn’t quite resist a sketchy challenge this year: the contestants are tasked with making their favourite takeaway! May the white gaze bless naan and kebabs for ever more. The stars, as they have been throughout, are Sam, Riyadh, Matthew, and Judi; Phil puts in a noble performance; Gethin, Amar, and Thomas are the ones at risk. While Gethin’s dish is confused and Amar’s fritters are burnt, it’s Thomas, who has fumbled his way through the competition, who makes the exit. But, whatever, here are some dogs:

Next up... It’s Aldo Zilli! Just the famous-ish, slightly retro chef for the job of challenging celebrities to cook signature dishes. What this challenge does is showcase what viewers have known for a long time: there’s a significant skill gap in the field, with Sam, Matthew, and Riyadh a few steps ahead of Gethin, Judi, and Phil. There are three final places. Can you see where this is going?

The tension is sustained by Gethin and Amar doing well in Aldo’s signature challenge, but the former has to drop out with illness for the inspiration challenge, and again demonstrates the gulf. Sam, Matthew, and Riyadh are the finalists.


Miso scallops, sesame-ginger sauce, noodles, soy
Prawn toast, prawn vermicelli, and deep-fried aubergines stuffed with prawn
Mango and passion fruit pavlova, vanilla cream


Chicken mousse ravioli, mushroom, cabbage, mushroom broth, truffle
Venison, cavolo nero, pumpkin, pickled walnut, peppercorn and pear gravy
Rhubarb and custard tart, lemon verbena


Monkfish scampi, wild garlic mayonnaise, watercress
Beef fillet, celeriac, king oyster mushroom, port sauce
White chocolate fondant, rhubarb, elderflower, pistachio

And the winner... Is Riyadh, who is probably the right call: he showed a touch more development in skill across the weeks, despite making a strong start alongside his fellow finalists, all of whom were, from the very beginning, set to make the final. That’s one of the things about Celebrity Masterchef — it can veer more easily towards the predictable than its other formats. Whho knows what 2021 might bring.