MasterChef Announces 1 Major Twist For This Year's Christmas Special

The show's resident critics are finally set to get a taste of their own cooking...
John Torode and Gregg Wallace get ready for Christmas
John Torode and Gregg Wallace get ready for Christmas
BBC /Shine TV

After years of critiquing contestants’ culinary skills, the UK’s top food critics will finally be put to the test themselves for this year’s MasterChef Christmas special.

For the first time in the reality cooking show’s history, five critics will be feeling the heat in MasterChef: Battle Of The Critics.

In a bid for the title of MasterChef Critics Champion 2023, Grace Dent, Leyla Kazim, William Sitwell, Jay Rayner and Jimi Famurewa will be stepping into the kitchen for two “demanding” cooking challenges.

They’ll be judged by the show’s very own John Torode and Gregg Wallace, alongside returning champions Ping Coombes (2014), Kenny Tutt (2018) and Nikita Pathakji (MasterChef: The Professionals 2022).

“Will the diners show them any leniency, or do they have scores to settle?” the BBC teased in a press statement. “Who will receive positive reviews and who will crumble at being critiqued? Only one critic will be crowned champion and take home the coveted Golden Cutlery trophy. It’s the ultimate showdown.”

The cast of MasterChef: Battle Of The Critics 2023
The cast of MasterChef: Battle Of The Critics 2023
BBC /Shine TV

Don’t know what you wanted for Christmas, but here’s what you’re gonna get: a @MasterChefUK special in which us critics cook off against each other,” the notoriously sharp-tongued restaurant critic Jay Rayner joked on X.

“I know. I know. it’s all your Christmas wishes come true.”

Also announced as part of MasterChef’s festive programming is Celebrity MasterChef: Christmas Cook-Off 2023, which will see judges welcome back four of the most “memorable” celebrities from past series.

Battling to take home the Golden Whisk will be All Saints’ Mel Blatt, soap star and comedian Richard Blackwood, Blue singer Duncan James, and Love Island finalist Faye Winter.

“Christmas sunshine is guaranteed as the celebrities must create a dish reflective of Australia during the festive season – each with a recipe to follow and a set of ingredients from their Secret Santa Mystery Box,” the BBC shared.

The special episode will welcome Peter Andre on the judging panel as stars cook up their best Christmas dinner.

Celebrity MasterChef: Christmas Cook-Off 2023 will air on BBC One at 9pm GMT on 20 December. The air date for MasterChef Critics Champion 2023 is yet to be announced.

You can find more information on the BBC’s Christmas programming here.

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