Michel Roux Jr misses being father figure on MasterChef as show becomes tough

Former Masterchef: The Professionals judge Michel Roux Jr has revealed that he relished becoming a “father figure” to contestants during his stint on the show, during an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk.

Although the competition has been tough this month, with tearful hopefuls receiving harsh criticism and berating themselves for “failing so badly”, Michel, who left the show in 2014, says he doesn’t believe he was overly harsh himself.

“The delivery of the criticism has to be right and there should always be light at the end of the tunnel,” Michel reflected.

“By that I mean that if somebody’s messed up, then you should say so, but there should always be a positive, so that the person who’s messed up understands how to make it better the next time.”

He added that he dearly misses his time on the show, explaining: “I really thoroughly enjoyed it, especially being a mentor and almost like a father figure to the contestants.

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“[I’ll miss being] able to inspire them and help them to achieve greater things.”

Earlier this year, Michel’s appearance on Channel 4’s Five Star Kitchen ruffled a few feathers and saw some online critics complain that his criticism was too harsh.

However, the Michelin-starred chef added that he never holds back to avoid hurting people’s feelings, as his priority is teaching them how to avoid making errors in the future.

“I’ve always been very honest with my appraisal and how I see it,” he explained.

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Michel hasn’t been watching the current series of Masterchef: The Professionals, which he left in 2014 over what the BBC described as a “conflict in his commercial interests” after he endorsed a potato brand.

“To be brutally honest I haven’t seen any of the MasterChef series because I’ve been so, so busy – so maybe I’ll have to get it on Catch Up,” he confided.

The star added: “I used to religiously watch it when I was on, and the reason behind that is that I needed to be 100 per cent up to speed when people asked me questions about it.”

Michel has since scaled back on his professional commitments and is closing the doors of his iconic restaurant Le Gavroche in January to enjoy a “better work-life balance”.

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Though guests will miss the delicious French fare, and Michel has even reminisced over the countless marriage proposals and emotional moments that took place within the restaurant, it’s time to say goodbye.

Explaining that he now wants to spend more time with his grandchildren at the age of almost 64, Michel told Express.co.uk: “It’s coming to an end on my terms, so, you know, it’s my choice. And we’re leaving on a high, and with a bang!”

Fans will be able to catch Michel at next week’s BBC Good Food Winter Show in Birmingham, where he’ll front four cooking sessions to demonstrate how various dishes are made, plus participate in Q&As and book signings.

Former Masterchef: The Professionals and Saturday Kitchen star Michel Roux Jr will be appearing at BBC GOOD FOOD SHOW WINTER at NEC Birmingham. 23-26 November.

Visit www.bbcgoodfoodshow.com for tickets and more information.

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