Riyadh Khalaf has been officially crowned the winner of Celebrity Masterchef 2020, beating out the competition in a dramatic finale.
This is everything you need to know about Khalaf and his winning dish.
Who is Riyadh Khalaf?
Riyadh Khalaf is an Irish-Iraqi broadcaster, internet personality and YouTuber.
He is also an outspoken LGBT activist. He dedicated his dish in the semi-final to his Iraqi father who, after initially struggling to accept having a gay son, now accompanies Kahalf to Pride parades and campaigned for same sex marriage in Ireland.
Kahalf hopes his on-screen presence will have a positive impact on young LGBT+ children, saying, “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 just think if I had had just one person that was respected and admired and talented and just a nice person in an elevated position, I could have looked at that guy, or girl or person and gone: ‘Wow, I can do that too.’”
After finding out he won the show, Khalaf said, “I am absolutely in shock. I can’t believe it, it’s an incredible feeling. This show I have been watching since I was in school and to have gone from being a fan of the show to winning the thing - this is without a doubt the biggest achievement of my life.”
Gregg Wallace, one of the show’s judges, said, “Riyadh has always been flamboyant, he’s always shown creativity and he’s always been passionate. I think Ridyadh’s cooking came of age today.”
John Torode, the other judge on the show, said, “You look at those three dishes and I thought they were restaurant quality. Some people just get better, their food finer but more importantly more and more delicious. A deserved winner.”
What was the winning dish?
On Khalaf’s winning three course menu was:
- Starter: Monkfish scampi in beer batter with wild garlic mayonnaise and a lemon and onion seed garnish
- Main: Beef fillet with port shallots, celeriac cream and parmesan tuile
- Dessert: White chocolate fondant with rhubarb poached in elderflower liqueur, topped with crumbled pistachio and edible flowers
Who else was in the final?
Alongside Khalaf in the final were two Olympic gold medalists - rower Sir Matthew Pinsent and hockey player Sam Quek - with all three being tasked to present a flawless three course meal to impress the judges.
Unfortunately, Quek was late to finish her dish, even though her three course meal was judged overall as a success by the judges - especially her “stunning dessert” of a mango and passionfruit pavlova.
Pisnet cooked up chicken ravioli to start which was followed by a main of venison done two ways.
Fellow contestant Gethin Jones had to leave the competition part way through the semi-final as he was displaying symptoms of Covid-19.
He wrote on Twitter: “Thank you for all your lovely messages re @MasterChefUK.
"I had symptoms of Covid-19 the morning of the next stage. Absolutely GUTTED… but it was the easiest decision. Would never put anyone at risk. Enjoy the next hour – these guys can cook!!!”
You can catch up on the finale of Celebrity Masterchef 2020 on BBC iPlayer.