John Torode — things you didn't know about the MasterChef judge

John Torode on the red carpet.
John Torode is a much-loved celebrity chef. (Image credit: Getty Images)

From a passion for cycling to who taught him to cook as a child - here is all you need to know about celebrity chef John Torode...

Australian chef John Torode has become a household name thanks to the culinary delights he whips up on national television.

Not only has he won the heart of the nation with his kitchen skills, he is also known for presenting MasterChef and Celebrity MasterChef with co-host Gregg Wallace since they were relaunched back in 2005.

His other TV credits include Saturday Kitchen, John and Lisa's Weekend Kitchen, and This Morning.

Most fans of the chef will know that:

  • He's toured the world making TV cooking shows.
  • John moved from Australia to the UK in 1991.
  • He is often a guest on shows like The One Show, Loose Women and The Graham Norton Show.

John Torode: little known facts about the celebrity chef...

1. He blagged his way onto This Morning 

John was working as a chef when he first landed his role on This Morning - the job that made him a household name. He told us: "If you want to do anything in life, you’ve got to be bold enough to stand out. That’s how my TV career began. I was a young chef working at Mezzo in London when a TV crew came in to do some filming. As they left I said to the producer, 'If you need anyone again for TV, I’m up for it!' Next thing I know, I’m on This Morning."

John Torode and Gregg Wallace on Celebrity MasterChef 2021

John and Gregg are good friends as well as colleagues.  (Image credit: BBC1)

2. He never socialises with co-host Gregg Wallace

John is convinced the reason his friendship with co-host Gregg works so well is because they don't see one another outside of work. He told us: "What’s great about Gregg and I is that we lead completely separate lives. We’ve never been to each other’s house, we dress differently, drive different cars – and as such we’ve kept our own opinions. We disagree not because it’s good telly, but because we genuinely have different likes and dislikes. Spend too much time together and you lose your personality."

3. He met his wife on Celebrity MasterChef

John met his wife, actress Lisa Faulkner, when she won Celebrity MasterChef in 2010. The couple married in 2019 and John has admitted that Lisa is the one who calmed him down. John told Radio Times: "Lisa is very easy to live with and work with, so that means you do soften a little." The couple went on to present John and Lisa's Weekend Kitchen together.

4. John Torode uses cooking to relax 

The celebrity chef told Radio Times: "Food distracts you, you can't let your mind wander when you're chopping because you'll take your finger off. So it clears your head, it is a bit like yoga, except with yoga you are losing weight and with cooking you may gain it!"

More: Things you didn't know about Rowan Atkinson 

5. His grandmother taught him to cook

Sadly John was only four years old when his mother died, so he went to live with his grandmother, who taught him to cook. John credits his grandmother for giving him a taste for good food and his first job as a chef was at Le Coq Au Vin restaurant in Aspendale, Melbourne.

6. He is a keen cyclist 

John got his first bike when he was nine, and hasn't looked back since. When he arrived in the UK in the 90s, he could commute from South Kensington to Camden on his bike and told Cycling Weekly that it is his love for cycling that stops him putting on weight... "I eat for a living, so cycling keeps me trim. I like to be outside and love the challenge and freedom of cycling."

7. He has owned his own restaurants 

The TV chef has had several restaurants over the years in London, the most famous being Smiths of Smithfield, Luxe and Cafeteria in Notting Hill. John has since sold his shares and moved on from the restaurants, but Luxe and Smiths are still run under his leadership. Meanwhile John is now focusing on TV work and writing his cookbooks.

John Torode's Fact File 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the celebrity chef....

How old is John Torode?

John Torode's age is 56. His date of birth is 23rd July 1965.

Is John Torode in a relationship?

John Torode married Lisa Faulkner on 24th October 2019 in Oxfordshire.

Does John Torode have kids?

John Torode has four children from previous relationship.

Where was John Torode born?

John Torode was born in Melbourne, Australia.

How tall is John Torode?

John Torode's height is 5 foot 9.

Twitter: @JohnTorode1

Instagram: @johntorodecooks

Catch Celebrity MasterChef on BBC One and BBC iPlayer 

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Main pic: Getty

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.