It’s Alan Partridge meets Gwyneth Paltrow! How Gregg Wallace became the ultimate lifestyle guru
MasterChef’s Gregg Wallace has generously shared his typical Saturday schedule with a grateful nation. Published in the Telegraph, it’s the wildest thing you’ll read all week.
What’s the best bit? Is it the fact that our Gregg breakfasts daily at his local Harvester and insists he’s “never been disappointed”? Not like these overrated Michelin-starred joints or pesky independent small businesses. Is it when he makes it crystal clear he didn’t want his youngest child and only relented so his fourth wife, Anne-Marie Sterpini, would keep him in his favourite white-bean soup? Is it that he spends more time locked in his home office playing Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia than he does with his autistic son?
Or could it be the more trivial details that caught your eye. Perhaps that he wakes at 5am solely to “look at the sign-up numbers for my health programme”? Or that he makes the poor staff at his gym open early so he can use the facilities alone, like Elizabeth Taylor visiting Harrods? Or that he casually mentions he has “less than 18% body fat and a six-pack”? Because that’s the sort of thing totally normal 59-year-old men say.
Is it the mere 90-minute gap between his breakfast fry-up and soupy lunch? Is it that this professional foodie cooks one meal a week for his family and appears to think he’s doing them a favour? Is it that he bills himself as a wellness expert, having been “journalling, manifesting, goal-setting and reading self-help books for years”? Or is it that this self-styled spiritual guru is unable to relax of an evening like the great unwashed. “I’ve tried sitting on the sofa eating biscuits but I don’t find it fulfilling,” he says. Way to disrespect my main hobby, Gregg.
Truly, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Rarely has there been so much to unpack in just 557 words. It’s been going viral since the weekend, putting the Buttery Biscuit Bass meme in the shade, and widely compared to Alan Partridge. The Accidental Partridge account – tweeting inadvertent Alan-isms since 2013 – reposted it, giving Gregg’s witterings the semi-official seal of approval. All it’s missing is a pair of mesh-backed driving gloves.
It is gloriously Partridgean. “Got your big plate, Gregg?” the Harvester receptionist presumably snickers as he “uses the sausage as a breakwater”. The kicker is that this isn’t a parody penned by Steve Coogan. This is for real. Gregg Wallace not only said this stuff, he said it on the record to a journalist. Probably shouted it, in fact. He must think this behaviour is normal. Or at least lovably eccentric.
Wallace has long been a Marmite figure. His qualification for the MasterChef gig was originally as an “ingredients expert” (translation: glorified greengrocer). Alongside John Torode – a proper chef who Wallace believes is his best mate, even though Torode once let slip: “We’ve never been to each other’s houses” – he has spent nearly 20 years bellowing about “biiiiig flavours” and gurning at puddings. His “judging” of dishes is basically just him bawling a list of their ingredients (“First you get the beef, then the mushrooms, then that hit of chilli”), like someone yelling their shopping list across a supermarket car park.
Then, of course, there was G-gate. In 2013, a member of the public asked on Twitter: “Hi Greg. I am cycling just over 180 miles in two days for Macmillan Cancer Support. Any chance of a retweet?” Rather than graciously obliging, Wallace huffily corrected his spelling, replying simply: “Gregg.” “No worries, mate,” said the charity cyclist. “It’s only people with cancer. You worry about your extra G.”
Mystifyingly, Gregg with two Gs continues to have a thriving TV career. Between the various MasterChef offshoots, he’s rarely off our screens. That’s before you factor in his Channel 5 travelogues (pitch: Gregg Wallace shouts at foreign people) and the Inside the Factory franchise (pitch: Gregg Wallace shouts at factory workers so enthusiastically his hairnet pops off).
TV commissioners seem to think the south Londoner is a breath of fresh air in the snooty culinary genre. Yet when our hero ventures into reality TV, he doesn’t fare so well. He was voted out first from BBC singing contest Just the Two of Us. He was voted out first from BBC ballroom contest Strictly Come Dancing. A cynic might wonder if Gregg Wallace MBE wasn’t such a national treasure after all.
The man has zero self-awareness and a skin as thick as his manifesting journal. Right now, the Greggster probably thinks his interview has gone viral because it’s an inspirational piece of lifestyle content. Last week, he launched his own “health and wellbeing” podcast – because the world needs another of those – and has been doing the publicity rounds, wanging on about “being the best version of myself” and “operating in the wellness space”. Hark at the Peckham Paltrow.
Gregg the Healthy Hard-Boiled Egg isn’t just operating in the wellness space. He’s single-handedly owning it, one Harvester full English at a time. As the MasterChef catchphrase goes, cooking doesn’t get tougher than this. Daily regimes don’t get more bananas than this either. Altogether now: a-haaaa!