A hugely popular and influential figure on the UK culinary circuit, John Torode is best known as the straight-talking co-presenter and judge of BBC’s MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef & Junior MasterChef and for his well-established restaurants Smiths of Smithfield and The Luxe.
Australian by birth, John is credited as one of the main players in introducing Australasian food to the UK in the mid-1990s. In 1992 he joined the Conran Group, starting out at Pont de La Tour before becoming Sous Chef at Quaglino’s. In 1995, John became Head Chef for the launch of Mezzo in Soho; at the time one ofEurope’s largest restaurants.
He opened Smiths of Smithfield in 2000. The four-floor Grade-II listed restaurant, private dining room and café, located in the heart of Smithfield Market, continues to be a roaring success and a firm fixture on both the restaurant and bar scenes. John’s second restaurant venture: another multi-storey operation, The Luxe opened at Spitalfields Market in September 2009.
John is passionate about sourcing the Best Of British produce, particularly within the meat industry, where he has long been a champion of rare breeds. In his quest to source the very best produce for Smiths, he has built strong relationships with many small farmers & butchers throughout the UK and aims to share his knowledge through his widely distributed “Fine Meat List”. John’s third cookbook, namely John Torode’s ‘Beef’ and other bovine matters not only gives us every which way to cook with beef but also gives the history and importance of great and rare breeds, butcher’s recommended cuts and true head to tail eating. The follow-up book, John Torode’s Chicken and Other Birds needs no explanation!
John became a familiar face to TV audiences back in 1996 as the resident chef on ITV1’s This Morning with Richard and Judy; a role in which he continued for four years. Since 2004 John has paired up with Gregg Wallace, handing out feedback, criticism and support to hundreds of hopefuls aiming to be crowned MasterChef (or indeed Celebrity MasterChef) and is also the judge and co-host of CBBC’s Junior MasterChef.
He has appeared as an expert panellist on The Apprentice: You’re Fired for BBC2, a frequent guest chef and host on Saturday Kitchen for BBC1 and a popular guest on shows such as The One Show, Loose Women, BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, Ask Rhod Gilbert and The Alan Titchmarsh Show as well as numerous radio programmes. He has also read Bedtime Stories on the CBeebies channel and appeared in spin-off editions of MasterChef for Comic Relief and Children in Need. John has travelled internationally to promote his books and appeared on the hit US show Today for NBC and been a guest judge in two seasons of MasterChef Australia.
John’s TV programmes regularly attract a huge audience. Indeed MasterChef’s popularity has placed John & Gregg on the front cover of several magazines including the Radio Times and spawned two cookbooks to date (namely The MasterChef Cookbook and MasterChef At Home) and there’s even an iPhone app for that! Sainsbury’s Magazine readers even voted MasterChef as the Top TV Food Show of the Decade and it has been included in the Top Ten list of the most Sky Plussed shows of the year. John has also been a hit on Good Food (formerly UKTV Food). He teamed up with comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli for a 10-part series exploring the diverse culinary communities of multicultural Britain. New British Kitchen — Torode and Hardeep’s Tour aired in May 2008 on UKTV Food. Within the first week the show was already proving a real success, overtaking the rest of the channel’s ratings.
A well-known food writer, John regularly contributes to Olive and BBC Good Food magazines, as well as Radio Times and Red magazine and has supplied numerous articles for the Guardian, Mail and Observer newspapers.
John is a very popular choice for corporate events, including culinary demonstrations, informative talks and Q&A sessions. He was a member of the judging panel for the Glenfiddich Food & Drink Awards and appears each year at MasterChef Live in London and the BBC Good Food Show inBirminghamandGlasgow. He is a sought-after name to be associated with high-end brands.