TV presenter Gethin Jones was forced to pull out of the Celebrity MasterChef 2020 semi-final because he developed COVID-19 symptoms on the morning of filming.
The popular Welshman had looked a favourite to make it to the final three after a series of professional dishes and found favour with judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode. But half-way through Thursday’s semis final Wallace announced: “Gethin is not joining us. He is unwell. And I’m sure, like us, you wish him all the best and a very speedy recovery.”
During the Celebrity MasterChef coverage on BBC One, Jones tweeted: “Thank you for all your lovely messages re @MasterChefUK. I had symptoms of Covid-19 the morning of the next stage. Absolutely GUTTED… but it was the easiest decision. Would never put anyone at risk. Enjoy the next hour – these guys can cook!!!”
Jones has not elaborated on his condition and whether or not he was diagnosed with coronavirus, but his fans were clearly disappointed by the no-show.
In the first stage of the semi-final, Jones was tasked by top chef Aldo Zilli with creating a seafood meal in homage to Zilli’s Mediterranean roots. He started with deep fried calamari and then served pan-fried sea bass, which earned a “Bravissimo!” from the chef.
It was a step up from the previous semi-final when one of his dishes earned the backhanded compliment, “Nice bread”, from the judges.
Irish broadcaster and Internet personality Riyadh Khalaf won Celebrity Masterchef 2020 and the judges paid tribute to his rapidly developing culinary expertise after he served an inspired three-course meal in the final, consisting of a starter of monkfish scampi in beer batter with wild garlic mayonnaise and a lemon and onion seed garnish; a main course of beef fillet with port shallots, celeriac cream and a parmesan tuile; and to finish, white chocolate fondant with rhubarb poached in elderflower liqueur, topped with crumbled pistachio and edible flowers.
The judges were effusive in their praise. Torode said the dishes were “restaurant quality”, while Wallace said he thought “Riyadh’s cooking came of age today”.
If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.