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23rd February 2005
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John Torode (left) and Gregg Wallace

The presenters

How did John and Gregg get to where they are today? Find out about the pair's very different routes to the top of their professions.

About the presenters

The presenters of MasterChef Goes Large have very different backgrounds - one hails from the Southern Hemisphere, the other from south London. What they have in common is a passion for food, a wealth of professional experience and the ability to pass on their skills and knowledge through a combination of mentoring and what you might call 'tough love'.

John Torode

John Torode

John Torode is a professional chef who runs Smiths of Smithfield, a four-floor space with several restaurants, ranging from an exclusive private dining room to a funky ground-floor café, located near London's Smithfield market. John is no stranger to television. As well as making numerous appearances on cookery and travel programmes, he was the resident chef on ITV's This Morning with Richard and Judy for four years before being chosen to co-present MasterChef Goes Large for the BBC.

John has worked in some of the most prestigious restaurant kitchens in London, such as Pont de La Tour, Quaglino's, Mezzo, and the Bluebird restaurant and food market in King’s Road.

John, who was born in Australia, has been credited as being one of the main chefs to introduce Australasian food to the UK in the mid-1990s. He is also dedicated to sourcing high-quality, rare-breed meat, and to supporting organic food and the farming process. He has built relationships with many small farmers across the length of the UK.

John was part of the judging panel for the Glenfiddich Food and Drink awards in 2002, and regularly contributes to Olive magazine. He is the author of three cookery books and is the weekly food columnist for Weekend magazine in The Mail on Saturday.

Gregg Wallace

Gregg Wallace

Gregg Wallace is a successful vegetable grower who supplies many large restaurants in London with fresh produce from his farm. Born in Peckham, he started out as a London market trader on a vegetable stand in Covent Garden's vegetable market.

In 1989 he started George Allan’s Greengrocers - a company that built up to an eventual turnover of £7.5 million and, as a result of his knowledge of the fruit and veg industry, he was invited to be on Radio 4 in 1997. The company has closed down now, but seven years later Veg Talk, the much-loved Radio 4 programme, is still running.

In 2002 Gregg presented Saturday Kitchen and is presently writing a monthly column for Sainsbury’s magazine, as well as running a direct mail-order service from his farm. He is a keen food historian - and he also loves "snogging and pasta"!

Take the MasterChef course

If you're inspired by John and Gregg's stories then you can become a BBC MasterChef by completing the BBC MasterChef Online course. Click here to have a go.

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