John Torode teases secret BBC project as he awards local charity

The MasterChef judge reveals he's got a new show up his sleeve as he delivers National Lottery Award to local health project

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Chef and MasterChef judge John Torode has a new show up his sleeve telling RadioTimes.com he’s soon to be going “somewhere very, very nice” for a “secret project for the BBC”. It’s a show of his own he admits, but it’s “very secret”. 

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We’re thinking food, lovely climates… it’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it, eh?

While the new show sounds all very intriguing, Torode certainly hasn’t got any ideas of leaving the MasterChef kitchen.

“I’ve got my fingers crossed it won’t ever end. I love doing it, it’s great fun,” Torode says of the BBC cooking competition adding that he’ll stick around “as long as I possibly can”.

“Every year they’re brilliant,” Torode says of the contestants. But as he joins the National Lottery Award programme, which supports local community projects, he’s keen to insist that “you don’t have to be a brilliant cook”.

That’s exactly what they’re trying to encourage at Come Eat Together, the Durham-based group that has scooped this year’s Best Health Project prize.

“You can be a good cook. That’s what they’re trying to encourage here, to be a good cook and not someone who’s necessarily trying to show off. It’s about healthy food and making people smile.

“There’s lot of people out there who cook and bake very well all the time,” Torode contines.

“Come Eat Together does everything. It’s a support group that talks to older people, teaches them about nutrition, helps them get out and about. It’s such a great idea bringing older people together to create conversation and education, re-education, promoting health in such a way that’s not trying to ram it down people’s throats.”

Indeed, the project encourages people to organise group lunches, learn about growing food, do group food shops as well as use online shopping tools. Local colleges have also got involved by inviting groups of older people to have lunch with them.

“It’s growing in momentum and promoting more people to get out and about, learning about how good their food should be. There’s something very good about people coming together and talking,” Torode adds.

The annual award is publicly voted for, with the group earning more than 12,700 votes, and Torode hopes the win will let people know what’s going on, as well as roll the project out in Durham then eventually nationwide.

“It’s a great thing to do to encourage people.”

So, when he delivered the award did the group ask Torode for any tips in the kitchen?

“Oh, I’ve got people in here that have been cooking for a lot, lot longer than me. They do make delicious dumplings I have to say!”

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See The National Lottery Stars 2014 tonight at 10:45pm on BBC1