Celebrity MasterChef is back on our screens very soon. The new cast includes TOWIE’s Pete Wicks, Rak-Su singer Myles Stephenson and ex-footballer John Barnes.

After four weeks of heats, the semi-final and final week stages will see the celebrities tasked with mass catering and cooking for celebrity chef Aldo Zilli. Two contestants who know all about being part of Celebrity MasterChef are Dr Alex George and Angellica Bell.

Dr Alex George rose to fame in 2018 on ITV’s Love Island. While we see plenty of him on our TV screens, Dr Alex also works as an A&E doctor in London as his primary profession.

Dr Alex, how did you find Celebrity MasterChef?

I found the show scary and it got my heart going. I really enjoyed it though, it was a great experience. I love cooking and that combination from health and nutrition, but it was definitely a challenge. It’s always scary to go on a show and have Greg [Wallace] and John [Torode] eating and tasting my food, they are the professionals, so it was definitely something that got my heart going.

What did you enjoy cooking on the show?

A lot of the dishes I chose were tasty and healthy. It was a risk because sometimes people see healthy food and think, it won’t taste that nice, but I think it can and it’s something I believed in.

Which meal was the hardest to make?

Well my pizza was famous for not really being a great pizza! The judges told me they want something that’s not sloppy in the middle with toppings that go together. I’m pretty sure literally everyone watching at home knew what a pizza should look like, and what you should or shouldn’t put on them, but I had my own ideas. Greg Wallace told me the cheese across the top was quite salty and sharp. He did, however, like my tomato puree, even though it was straight out of a tube – I think he was humouring me!

Did you have any disasters on the show?

Well my coq au vin didn’t really go to plan which would have been a nice dish, but Greg Wallace pointed out one significant minor detail: I didn’t actually judge the chicken properly so it wasn’t really safe to eat. Also, my brownie with raspberry sauce was raw – this saw me leave the show but all I can say is I did try my best.

TV presenter and regular The One Show host Angellica Bell won Celebrity MasterChef in 2018. She’s also appeared on Sport Relief, CelebAir, The Zone, Children in Need and Tour de Celeb, to name a few.

What made you decide to appear on the show?

Well I was really wary of appearing on the show as my husband had appeared in the 2012 series. Because Michael had got to the final, I’ve had five years of him saying, “I’m a MasterChef finalist you know.”

I would say to him all the time: “Do you want to add a bit more seasoning to that?’ He’d be like, “No, no, no, John Torode said this is how you do it.” Literally, for five years in my own kitchen, I had my own husband telling me about John Torode and Greg Wallace. It was getting quite tense.

So, when they contacted me and said, ‘Do you want to do the show?’, I said no initially because I thought if I don’t get to this final, it would just be worse. However, I did take part in the show and when I won it, I couldn’t believe it.

Could you cook before the show?

I started cooking when I was a little girl with my grandmother, and I have had the most amazing bond with her. She was just so inspirational to me and could do anything. We were very close, and I always wanted to impress her, so I’d be cooking alongside her on the hot stove age six, gutting fish and chopping chicken. She would make West Indian food as well as things like apple and blackberry crumble.

What do you like to cook and what was the dish that won you the MasterChef crown?

Halibut with prawns and crushed new potatoes was my winning dish. It’s always nice to be able to cook for others, my favourite dish includes saddle of lamb stuffed with apricots, spinach and pine nuts, dauphinoise potatoes and lots of greens. I’m a big dessert maker too and love making cakes and pavlovas. For the MasterChef cookbook, I created a pavlova with poached pears that looks quite majestic. But you can be creative with the flavours and use whatever you have in for the topping.

How did you feel when you won MasterChef?

You know when you watch a film and it goes black? It was like that. Everything slowed down, it was like a void and I heard my name in slow motion. I couldn’t quite believe it.

What food do you like to eat?

Dinner will always be had as a family and could be lasagne with salad, roast chicken, seabass with potatoes and broccoli, or pesto pasta with lots of vegetables. Whatever we have in the fridge, I’ll use up – I hate food waste! In the week for breakfast, I’ll mainly stick to a breakfast of porridge with a homemade blueberry compote made with maple syrup and cinnamon, which I’ll make for the family. At the weekend, it may be scrambled eggs on toast or bagels with cream cheese.

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