The highly anticipated Celebrity MasterChef returns to BBC One for its 18th series, promising an even hotter and more competitive summer. A stellar lineup of music, comedy, drama, and showbusiness stars will battle it out for the coveted title of Celebrity MasterChef 2023 Champion.

Over the course of six weeks, esteemed judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace will subject their taste buds to a sensory assault course, as they search for the celebrities with the palate and culinary skills to claim the iconic Celebrity MasterChef trophy.

In the second week of Heats, the spotlight falls on five celebrities: TV presenter and entertainer Dave Benson Phillips, musician Max George, radio broadcaster Remi Burgz, comedian Shazia Mirza, and award-winning comedian and broadcaster Terry Christian.

The first challenge, “Under The Cloche,” involves each celebrity facing a cloche concealing a unique ingredient. Armed with access to a larder, the contestants must showcase their culinary prowess by creating a single plate of food that highlights their ingredient, all within a tight timeframe of just over an hour. The pressure is on, and the celebrities must think quickly and impress the judges with their creations.

The final test of culinary creativity tasks the celebrities with preparing their “Dinner Party Dishes” – a main course and a dessert designed to impress guests coming over to eat. With only one hour and fifteen minutes on the clock, the contestants work fervently to showcase their culinary talents to John and Gregg. The stakes are high as, at the end of this challenge, one of them will be sent home.

Dave Benson Phillips

TV Presenter and Entertainer

What made you want to do Celebrity MasterChef?

Mrs Phillips made me! She’s a big fan of the show and she’s always nagged for me to be on it. I never thought it would happen and I did harbour a secret longing to be on it but didn’t tell anybody. So, you can imagine my surprise when I was called by the show. When I was called, they said ‘Dave, what are you doing? Would you like to achieve a life’s ambition?’ and I thought, right, I’m going to go on MasterChef. So here I am, hoping to learn skills and make new friends. I’m just looking forward to being part of the MasterChef alumni.

How did it feel to walk into the kitchen for the first time?

Walking into the kitchen is nerve-wracking. You’ve seen it on television and you think your brain can handle it. I walked in with the other celebs who are taking part, looking around to my left and seeing Gregg Wallace and John Torode and it just all of a sudden got very real.

What do your friends/family think of your cooking?

The kindest quote from Mrs Phillips would be that it is a ‘work in progress!’

What is your favourite dish to cook at home?

My favourite go-to dish is chicken. I’m always cooking chicken and pretty much all other meats: lamb, beef, a bit of pork every now and again and a few veggies to go with it.

What is your desert island dish?

I wouldn’t necessarily cook it myself. There is a kebab house near where I live, which does the best kebabs. I normally get a mixed grill from there because it lasts me about two and a half days. It’s just got everything in there, so that would do for me.

What three things that you always have in your fridge?

Chicken, gin, tonic. Those are the three things I always have.

Max George

Musician

What made you want to do Celebrity MasterChef?

As I don’t really cook that much, I wanted to just try something completely out of my comfort zone and learn how to cook. As I’m getting older, I’m starting to think I should do it more and I thought this would definitely be the place to get some decent tips!

How have you prepared for the series?

I’ve been practising making a main and a few different desserts. I’ve only nailed it once, so I’m pretty nervous.

What do your friends/family think of your cooking?

My girlfriend has tasted my dishes and she’s been quite impressed…

How did it feel to walk into the kitchen for the first time?

Quite nerve-wracking. I think when you see John and Gregg it feels like you’re going on X Factor or something. It feels like all eyes are on you when you walk in, especially the first time. It was only that first 10 minutes that were scary. Once I got into it, it was so much fun.

What is your desert island dish?

Syrup Sponge with Custard – got to go sweet all the way.

What are three things you always have in your fridge at home?

I always have green grapes. Then probably lager…and soya milk.

What is your favourite dish to cook at home?

I like making curries and a chilli con carne.

Remi Burgz

Radio Broadcaster

What made you want to do Celebrity MasterChef?

It’s just a great place to learn and I feel like everyone who takes part in the show leaves different to the way they entered. They’ve always learnt something new. So, I thought why not get stuck into it? I learn on the go and I’m a practical person, so I thought this is the best way for me to learn how to cook.

How did it feel to walk into the kitchen for the first time?

It is as big as it looks on TV. I liked it though. It is actually a proper kitchen. John and Gregg look exactly the same as they do on the TV, which is always good! They were both very smiley and inviting, but also there to let us know that this is real. It was like ‘welcome’ but also ‘it’s about to get real.’

How have you prepared for the series?

The good thing is I didn’t have too much time to prepare. I just had to try and brush up on a few things!

What does your family think of your cooking?

Well, I’m not the person they go to when it comes to cooking. Usually it’s my brother or my mum or dad. I’m pretty sure if you asked them, they wouldn’t embarrass me, but they would say it’s so-so. I’m the person you call to go and get the ingredients, so that’s my specialty – or getting the soft drinks!

What is your Desert Island Dish?

Salmon with a side of Salmon. If it comes with a cocktail to wash it all down, I’ll have a Pina Colada please.

What are three things you always have in your fridge at home?

Definitely butter, smoked salmon, because it’s always good for breakfast, and oat milk.

What is your favourite dish to cook at home?

Egg, anything with egg. Fried, sunny side up, scrambled. I wouldn’t say I’m good at making an omelette. I always try, but just haven’t got there yet.

Shazia Mirza

Comedian

What made you want to do Celebrity MasterChef?

I’d always thought about doing it, but it looked so scary. Now I say, just do it! can make egg on toast, egg and chips, beans on toast, so I’ll be alright.

How did it feel to walk into the kitchen for the first time?

Walking into the kitchen for the first time is really strange, because you’ve seen it already. I watch it on TV all the time. So when you go there you feel like you know John and Gregg and you know the kitchen, but it’s totally a different feeling when you’re actually in there. It gets really scary and I got very nervous.

How have you prepared for the series?

I prepared for MasterChef by burning two kitchens down. I burnt down the home economics room at school once and my mum’s kitchen once. But I’ve learned my lesson, I know not to leave the oven on when there’s nothing in there!

What does your family think of your cooking?

My mum and dad are from Pakistan, so they think they’ve had the best. They’ve had the best food cooked by the best chefs that’s really authentic and off the street. Anything I cook is just a recipe, so they’ve always got a complaint when I make something. They’re like ‘I can’t taste the turmeric’ or ‘this needs more salt.’ Every time I cook the same dish, it always turns out different!

What is your desert island dish?

Vegetable Moussaka.

What are three things that you always have in your fridge?

I always have butter, garlic and ginger.

What is your favourite dish to cook at home?

My favourite dish to cook at home is either Matar Paneer or Saag Paneer which is cottage cheese and peas or cottage cheese and spinach in a curry.

Terry Christian

Comedian & Broadcaster

What made you want to do Celebrity MasterChef?

I’ve always fancied it. I’ve done Bake Off before and I’d never really done any baking. Some people prepare before and practice, which is cheating to me! Cooking is where it’s at. I had to learn to cook because my mum’s a terrible cook. We’re Irish so everything’s boiled and salty. I started making Vesta beef curries for me and my siblings when I was about 12 and that was the best thing we’d ever tasted. I’m here to just have a go!

I know people get nervous because nobody wants to be the first one out. But you know, that’s just life, I’m here to enjoy the journey.

How have you prepared for the series?

I haven’t really prepared, I just cook when the lads come round to watch the football. This is my big one now.

What do your friends think of your cooking?

They clear the plate, but they also get a shift on because they want to finish before kick-off! They say to watch out for my presentation. I’m a bit of a ‘slap it on a plate and get it out’ sort of cook.

How did it feel to walk into the kitchen for the first time?

It’s quite nerve-wracking because suddenly you’re there with all this stuff in front of you thinking ‘what the hell do we do with this?’

What is your desert island dish?

Malaysian Laksa. I love it, it’s got flavour and it’s really spicy too. I like the coconut flavour and I’m really into spicy food and a lot more flavour than you’d get in an Irish stew.

What are three things you always have in your fridge at home?

Not an awful lot! I suppose what I’ll always have are chillies and stuff like that. I panic if we run out of that.

What is your favourite dish to cook at home?

Definitely a curry.