Skip to main contentSkip to footer

MasterChef judges defend controversial Malaysian chicken comments

MasterChef semi-finals continue on Wednesday

MasterChef Gregg Wallace John Torode
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
4 April 2018
Share this:

MasterChef judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode have responded to the criticism they received after eliminating a contestant for her "undercooked" chicken. During Knockout Week, Malaysia-born contestant Zaleha Kadir Olpin made the Malaysian rice dish Nasi Lemak with chicken rendang. However, the judges were critical about the dish which they said wasn't "crispy" enough, leading Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak to even weigh in the debate. Appearing on Wednesday's Good Morning Britain, Greg and John justified their decision.

MasterChef Gregg Wallace John Torode gmb© Photo: Rex

Gregg Wallace and John Torode appeared on Wednesday's GMB

"What happened was, part of her dish was a rendang," explained Gregg. "I said that the skin wasn't crispy. I didn't mean it should be fried, like fried chicken. What I meant was, it wasn't cooked and it simply wasn't cooked… But rest assured, the best cooks will always go through!" John added: "That's the point, the best cooks go through. And if you look at the final eight, the food that they're producing is unbelievable. I did a whole series on Malaysia. Malaysian food is fantastic. I absolutely love it. I said to her, 'It wasn't cooked enough'. That's what I said. I exactly did say that."

MORE: John Torode shuts down rumours of a rift with MasterChef co-host Gregg Wallace

Gregg, 53, then admitted that his use of the word "crispy" was perhaps used incorrectly. "She didn't go out because her skin wasn't crispy," he said. "She went out because the other cooks were better. If you look at it, you can tell the skin just wasn't cooked. It's white and flappy. 'Crispy' was the wrong word. But the skin wasn't cooked." On Tuesday night, PM Najib Razak tweeted a picture of the curry dish along with the caption: "Does anyone eat chicken rendang 'crispy'? #MalaysianFood". A Facebook page has since been set up in Malaysia demanding "Justice for Chicken Rendang" and demanding an apology from the MasterChef judges.

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

STORY: Gregg Wallace 'self-conscious' about 21-year age gap with wife

More TV and Film

See more