A hugely popular and influential figure on the UK culinary circuit, John Torode is best known as the straight-talking co-host and judge of fifteen seasons of BBC1’s MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef and Junior MasterChef, as well as the presenter of A Cook Abroad: John Torode’s Argentina and The A to Z of TV Cooking for BBC2. He is also a regular guest chef on ITV’s This Morning and co-hosts John & Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen on Sunday mornings with fiancée Lisa Faulkner (now in its second series).
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 of Europe’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, was a roaring success under his leadership and became a firm fixture on both the restaurant and bar scenes during his tenure. John’s second restaurant venture was another popular multi-storey operation, The Luxe, which opened at Spitalfields Market in 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.