Australia-born chef John Torode and former greengrocer Gregg Wallace have been in the food industry for more than 40 years and have been honoured for services to food and charity
Australia-born chef John, 56, and former greengrocer Gregg, 57, have been honoured for services to food and charity.
The pair have been in the food industry for more than 40 years, with John starting his cooking career in Australia before moving to London in 1992.
Gregg began his career in the Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market before starting George Allen’s Greengrocers – to great success – in 1989.
He was original presenter of the BBC show Saturday Kitchen in 2002 and has also presented other programmes such as Eat Well For Less, Inside The Factory, Turn Back Time, Harvest and Supermarket Secrets.
The pair, who were acquaintances at the start of their careers, have been judges and co-presenters of BBC’s MasterChef since its return in 2005.
Gregg said: “Wow – fruit and veg has been a very good friend to me over the years. What an unbelievable honour it is to be recognised by Her Majesty at such a fabulous moment in her glittering reign.
“From a council estate in Peckham to being recognised by the Queen is for me something akin to a fairytale story. I am incredibly, incredibly proud.”
Wallace also paid tribute to his co-star, Torode, saying: “It is also lovely to be recognised with John and to look back at how far we’ve come. It’s been quite a journey from the moment when I first walked into his kitchen with coriander roots.
“We’ve now worked in and around the food industry for 40 years – not just MasterChef of course but in our respective roles as chef and greengrocer.”
John is thought as one of the main figures to introduce Australasian food to the UK.
After moving across the globe in 1992 to be part of the D&D London restaurant group – formerly known as Conran group – he started at Le Pont de la Tour in London before becoming sous chef at Quaglino’s.
He became head chef at Mezzo in Soho ahead of the 1995 launch before Smiths of Smithfield in 2000 and The Luxe nine years later.
He said: “I am truly thrilled, humbled and very grateful and I’d like to thank those who nominated me for this great honour of an MBE.
“To be put forward and recognised for services to the food industry and broadcasting which I have worked in for over 40 years is a very proud moment for me and my family.
“I have been fortunate enough to run and set up restaurants, been at the forefront of introducing Australasian cuisine to the UK and worked hard to make the industry the very best it can be.
He added: “The British public has always been amazing, what a wonderful supportive country this is, thank you, I feel like I have the best job in the world.”
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