Wynne Evans, an opera singer and presenter from BBC Wales, clinched the title of 2023 Celebrity MasterChef Champion, making him the 18th person to achieve this esteemed accolade on the BBC One cooking competition.
After competing against 19 other celebrities, Wynne emerged victorious at the end of six tension-filled weeks, culminating in a heated cook-off against his fellow finalists: actor Amy Walsh and reality star Luca Bish. On the evening of Friday, 8th September, Wynne was presented with the revered Celebrity MasterChef trophy by judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode.
Reacting to his win, Wynne said: “This is a brilliant feeling. The kids will love this, they’ll be like ‘Dad! I can’t believe you did it when all you cook for us is beans on toast!’ The experience has totally changed my life. It has just been beautiful and I can’t thank Gregg and John and everybody here at MasterChef enough.
“When you start to believe in yourself, that’s when good things start to happen. I don’t know how a MasterChef winner celebrates but I know how a bloke from Carmarthen celebrates!”
Gregg Wallace said: “Wynne gives us theatre. I have never seen a celebrity like him ever before and I’m not sure we ever will again.”
While John Torode added: “Every single dish tells a story. His food, it’s exciting, it’s ambitious, and it’s got a little bit of artistic flare. He’s a proud Welshman with a big heart.”
In the final episode, Wynne, alongside Amy and Luca, had two hours to present an impeccable three-course meal, prepared to the highest standards to impress the judges.
His winning menu featured a starter of Carmarthen-Japanese sumo tuna tartare with avocado, edamame beans, and wasabi, accompanied by deep-fried cockle popcorn and a mango egg; followed by a main course of Evans’ cannon of lamb, served on a bed of samphire with wild garlic, porcini mushrooms, and lamb-rendered fried bread, alongside pomme dauphine and a fondant leek, garnished with a red wine and red currant jus; and for dessert, Bara Brith with Caerphilly cheese and fig jam, served with brie ice cream on a bed of crumbled Bara Brith and poached figs.
Reflecting on his winning menu, Wynne remarked, “I believe these dishes embody everything that I am – locally sourced ingredients, items readily available at home, and everything that I enjoy eating.”
The finals week witnessed the remaining contestants push themselves to deliver cuisine of an entirely new caliber. The celebrities kicked off the week by travelling to East Sussex to prepare a special lunch in a unique kitchen at Hunter Gather Cook. Under the guidance of founder and head chef Nick Weston, the finalists were tasked with crafting a three-course lunch for 20 of the nation’s top Scouts, utilizing only an open flame, as they earned their survival badges on the South Downs.
To secure a place in the final three, the celebrities later showcased their culinary prowess by crafting a fantastical and theatrical showstopper dish.
With the final three contenders confirmed, the penultimate challenge proved to be the most formidable and daunting of the competition: Chef’s Table. This year’s challenge was hosted by one of the country’s most promising young chefs, Robin Gill, at his restaurant Darby’s. Here, the finalists were tasked with presenting cuisine of an exceptional standard to impress a table of esteemed guests, including Robin’s mentor, Raymond Blanc (Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons), Daniel Clifford (Midsummer House), Anna Haugh (Myrtle), Nieves Barragan Mohacho (Sabor), and Matt Gillan (Heritage).
Wynne Evans now joins the ranks of previous champions including Lisa Snowdon, Kadeena Cox MBE, Riyadh Khalaf, Greg Rutherford, John Partridge, Angellica Bell, Alexis Conran, Kimberly Wyatt, Sophie Thompson, Ade Edmondson, Emma Kennedy, Phil Vickery, Lisa Faulkner, Jayne Middlemiss, Liz McClarnon, Nadia Sawalha, and Matt Dawson.