Belfast Telegraph

Vickery clinches MasterChef title

Former England rugby captain Phil Vickery successfully swapped success on the pitch for cooking up a storm in the kitchen as he clinched the 2011 BBC TV Celebrity MasterChef title.

After six weeks of challenging culinary tests, judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace announced Vickery as the winner in the final.

The 35-year-old father of two, together with fellow finalists Kirsty Wark and Nick Pickard, flambeed and sauteed like mad during the final - but it was Vickery's three-course masterpiece that came out on top.

Vickery served up a starter of scallops with black pudding, pea shoots, crispy parma ham and apple puree. He also dished up lamb fillet with baby carrots, asparagus wrapped in mint and parma ham and fondant potatoes for the main course and a dessert of orange and chocolate bread and butter pudding and clotted cream.

"I'm absolutely gobsmacked, I can't believe it. I dreamed of winning MasterChef but literally it was just a dream," Vickery said. "I never ever thought for one second I'd have it in me to be champion - who says miracles can't happen?"

John Torode said: "Phil has got something very, very special. He wants to feed people to make them happy and that is what a true cook is all about."

Gregg Wallace also said Vickery had "serious" talent. "He's a great big bloke with a heart to match and he fell in love with food during this competition," he said.

Vickery, who lives in Gloucestershire with wife Kate and children Megan and Harry, will be appearing at MasterChef Live at Olympia from November 11 to 13.

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