John Torode reveals his bizarre Christmas cooking tradition

(Image credit: Matt_Frost)

MasterChef judge John Torode, 55, lives in London with wife Lisa Faulkner, 48, and the couple, who married in October 2019, share five children - Lisa’s adopted daughter Billie, 14, and John’s four from two previous relationships.

Here, he tells us about his ideal Christmas...

My dream Christmas is having my family over from Australia but that’s never happened in the 30 years I’ve lived in the UK so the dream continues.

Lisa and I are part of families that are separated so children move between parents.

Sometimes at Christmas we don’t have the family so travelling abroad is an option. One year we went to India, which was fantastic. We had Christmas Day on the beach and spent five quid on a curry lunch.

READ MORE: Lisa Faulkner looks almost unrecognisable in throwback photo

The hope this year is to have 15 at our table including our children, Lisa’s dad and sister. The cooking works fairly seamlessly. Lisa and I say to our guests, "You bring the wine, some snacks and presents and we’ll do the rest!"

Lisa’s a traditionalist - she loves a bit of turkey - but there are now a few vegetarians and vegans in the family so we also cook a nut roast and cauliflower cheese is made with plant-based milk.

Food preparations start three days early with the bread sauce and stuffing, the spuds are peeled on Christmas Eve so by the big day it’s just a case of putting on the oven.

A few years ago I had to go next door to finish the turkey after our oven went "boom!" We cooked everything else on the stove, so instead of roast potatoes it was mash.

In the fridge we always have a leg of ham in a pillow case, which aerates it. Wrap it in anything else and it sweats. That’s a tradition from my childhood.

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On Christmas morning we eat hot buttered toast with ham or smoked salmon and maybe something fizzy. In the morning everyone opens one present then gifts are staggered all day. Although the adults are done by lunchtime, the kids are still going strong at 9pm!

Lisa and I have always shared joyous Christmas’ but last year, our first as husband and wife, getting a card saying "for my husband" was especially lovely.

by Gemma Calvert 

John & Lisa's Weekend Kitchen returns to ITV in November

*We spoke to John before the rule of 6 came into force*