Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Internet personality Riyadh Khalaf crowned winner of Celebrity MasterChef

Riyadh Khalaf, the winner of Celebrity MasterChef, with his trophy (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Riyadh Khalaf, the winner of Celebrity MasterChef, with his trophy (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Riyadh Khalaf has spoken of his pride at winning Celebrity MasterChef, but admitted he will continue to make instant noodles from time to time.

The Irish-Iraqi broadcaster and internet personality fought off competition from 19 other famous faces during the 2020 edition of the BBC One series.

He faced two Olympic gold medalists – rower Sir Matthew Pinsent and hockey player Sam Quek – in Thursday’s finale, where they were challenged to prepare a three-course meal in two hours.

Khalaf impressed judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace with a starter of monkfish scampi in beer batter with wild garlic mayonnaise and a main course of beef fillet with port shallots, celeriac cream and a Parmesan tuile.

He finished with a dessert of white chocolate fondant with rhubarb poached in elderflower liqueur.

Recalling his win, Khalaf told the PA news agency: “I felt like I might faint, vomit, cry or scream – or all at the same time.

“I was so sure it wasn’t me. I was so sure that I was trying to prepare myself for not winning by in my head saying another contestant’s name over and over and over – so that way I was ready to hear their name and not mind.

“And then when John said ‘It’s Riyadh’ I am in complete and utter shock.

Celebrity MasterChef
Olympic gold medallist and sports presenter Sir Matthew Pinsent (BBC/PA)

“Not only is it an amazing thing and you have pride for yourself and it is joyful, but it is also terrifying because it’s a title that is going to with you for the rest of your life.

“I think what comes with that is the expectation that you will always only make amazing restaurant food.

“I’m the first one to put my hands up and say I love an instant noodle from time to time.”

The presenter has been an avid fan of the show since he was 14 and said he was drawn to its tension and the food’s “artistic flair”.

He said: “I used to come from school and secondary school and they would be doing the show and I loved it.

Celebrity MasterChef
Olympic gold medallist and hockey player Sam Quek (BBC/PA)

“It wasn’t necessarily aimed at my age but I was just drawn in by the tension and the artistic flair of the food.

“At that age I didn’t know who any of these celebrities were.

“I didn’t notice the difference between the celebrities and the regular MasterChef but it did stick with me and when the opportunity came up to be in it, I jumped.

“I was like: ‘Yes, absolutely – I am there.’

“My agent, when she called me, we both collectively screamed.”

John Torode and Gregg Wallace interview
MasterChef judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace (BBC/PA)

Khalaf, who is gay, also spoke of the impact he hoped his on-screen presence would have on young LGBT people.

He said: “I think back to when I was a kid watching TV and I had virtually no positive role models who I could look up to.

“I really truly believe that who I am, my identity and my feelings, were a curse and something that needed to be fixed and weeded out, a sickness even at one point.

“I think if I had had just one person that was respected and admired and talented and just a nice person in a elevated position, I could have looked at that guy, girl or person and gone: ‘Wow I can do that too.’”

Thursday’s final aired straight after the final semi-final, which saw contestants produce a plate of food inspired by their family.

Khalaf cooked traditional Iraqi lamb kofta kebabs with hummus, baby roast aubergines, tzatziki, garlic and coriander flatbreads with a fattoush salad.

He dedicated the dish to his Iraqi father who, after initially struggling with having a gay son, now accompanies him to Pride parades and campaigned for same sex marriage in Ireland.

Khalaf follows in the footsteps of last year’s winner Greg Rutherford, as well as stars including Angellica Bell and Kimberly Wyatt.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]