BBC MasterChef winner admits to 'disappointing' aspect of show: 'It was quite brutal!'

BBC MasterChef winner admits to 'disappointing' aspect of show: 'It was quite brutal!'

WATCH HERE: BBC MasterChef clip from current series featuring Gregg Wallace

Olivia Gantzer

By Olivia Gantzer

Published: 22/05/2024

- 19:42

Updated: 22/05/2024

- 20:55

Former winner Irini Tzortzoglou spoke exclusively to GB News

MasterChef's 2024 finale airs tonight, and it's up to judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace to decide who will be crowned winner out of Chris Willoughby, Louise Lyons Macleod and Brin Pirathapan.

The show has also been celebrating 20 years with its current series, and 2019 winner Irini Tzortzoglou chatted to GB News to reflect on her experience, delving into one "disappointing" element.

Speaking exclusively to GB News, Greek cooking enthusiast Tzortzoglou, 66, was asked if there was anything about participating in the competition that surprised her.

"It was certainly more intense and stressful and I was a little disappointed that there was no help whatsoever when one struggled with a piece of kit, particularly in other kitchens," she admitted.

The chef continued: "I had to cry once in order for someone to feel sorry enough to help me turn a blender on. In that sense the competition is quite brutal!"

Talking about elements she enjoyed, she added: "There were pleasant surprises.

Gregg Wallace and Irini Tzortzoglou

Irini Tzortzoglou chatted to GB News about being on the show


"I expected renowned chefs like Michel Roux and Raymond Blanc to be demanding but I found everyone, including the critics, very generous in spirit.

"Perhaps they felt for me because I always looked as if my life was on the line!"

On the judges, she continued: "I loved both judges equally. Gregg always relaxed me because he jokes a lot and fools around and John felt a little like a younger brother.

"You could see he struggled with your struggles. Very different people but a great combination of personalities and skill sets."

Irini Tzortzoglou

Irini Tzortzoglou won the show in 2019


The competition definitely changed Tzortzoglou's life, and she reflected: "I am enjoying a very enriched life as a result having won in 2019.

"I judge for the Guild of Fine Food at the Great Taste Awards, I am an instructor for the California based company Olive Oil Times at their Olive Oil Sommelier Course.

"I collaborate with brands, give food demos in festivals, do private dining, cook as guest chef in hotels and restaurants here and in Greece, I am a keynote speaker, I do live cook-alongs, have a regular feature with Cumbria Life magazine called ‘Irini Eats’ and run culinary retreats - my own or for others like Saga Travel.

"You can see that I don’t have time to retire and neither do I want to!"

MasterChef 2019

Irini Tzortzoglou in her winning finale episode


Tzortzoglou has been back on the show since her win, and recalled: "I have in fact been invited to cook again in a rematch with another four previous champions and that was great fun, although I did not win the rematch.

"And each year I enjoy being invited to critique the food of the year’s contestants.

"I think that there would be very few people who would decline an invitation to go back to cook. The buzz of the competition is very addictive!"

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