Masterchef : Old soldier Dick faces toughest battleground
This is Dick Strawbridge - the former Northern Ireland man who has been cooking up a storm on one of TV’s most popular programmes.
Eco-warrior, television presenter and one-time military hero Dick is through to the quarter-finals of Celebrity Masterchef and tonight will be seen battling to secure a place in the knockout stage.
The face of TV’s It's Not Easy Being Green, Dick was raised and educated in Ballyclare, and awarded an MBE for distinguished military service in Northern Ireland.
A familiar face on TV screens, most were unaware of Dick’s prowess with pots and pans before his exploits on Celebrity Masterchef.
The self-confessed food fan said his love of cooking started soon after he married his wife Brigit more than 25 years ago.
“My body was built through years of good food — and beer,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“It all started back when I got married. I would be coming home at different times, my wife couldn’t have the dinner on the table, so we used to cook together. It all developed from there, and being a bloke I pushed her out of the kitchen — though she taught me everything I knew.”
On Wednesday night viewers saw him battle it out against TV presenter Jennie Bond, Olympic star Dean Macey, actor Marcus Patrick and singer Kym Mazelle.
Dick’s first task was to conjure up a meal from a range of mystery ingredients in just one hour in the famed ‘invention test’.
He came up with a fish stew served on top of griddled bread which the judges hailed as “a gooey, big-flavoured delight”.
Dick survived through to the ‘pressure test’, when he had to cook a busy lunch service at a top London restaurant. After just an hour of learning the ropes he was set loose to prepare dishes for paying customers.
It was then back to the Masterchef kitchen for the ‘final test’ — creating a two-course meal in an hour — with Dick eventually joining decathlon star Macey in tonight’s quarter-final.
“It has been a lot of fun, though there has been a bit of pain along the way,” he added.
“They give you sharp knives to play with. I think there were four plasters shared among five people on Wednesday night.”
Tonight Dick will be seen battling to make the knockout stage.
If successful, he will be one step closer to following Jayne Middlemiss, Liz McClarnon, Nadia Sawalha and Matt Dawson as Celebrity MasterChef champions.
While the show has already been recorded, Dick is staying tightlipped about the outcome.
“If people want to know, they’re just going to have to tune in.”
Dick Strawbridge was raised and educated in Ballyclare, Co Antrim. Born on September 3 1959, he was the third of seven children.
He joined the Army in 1978 and over the next 20 years rose from Troop Commander to Lieutenant Colonel.
He was awarded the MBE in 1993 for distinguished service. He is a familiar face on TV screens, and a keen writer. Married to Brigit, he has two children, James and Charlotte.