John Torode and Gregg Wallace

Celebrating 20 years of Masterchef

“Cooking doesn’t get tougher than this!”

~ Gregg Wallace

John Torode and Gregg Wallace were celebrating 20 years of their collaborative presenting of Masterchef this week (on the This Morning sofa), although perhaps it is more true to say the completion of 20 years, as their format did not actually start until 2005.  Originally, the show was presented by Lloyd Grossman.  The show is hardly off our screens these days, with variations such as The Professionals, Celebrity Masterchef and Junior MasterChef.

John Torode

Birth Chart

With the Sun, and Mercury/Venus in Leo, John has to be the boss.  When the two began hosting the re-vamped Masterchef, he was the established name, and Gregg more of a sidekick.  Since then, Gregg has made a name for himself.  John carries the essence of the Leo individuality in many ways, not least for the fact that his Sun is at 0 degrees Leo and is unaspected.  Mercury in Leo likes to win an argument, and Venus in Leo is warm-hearted.  His Moon is in the cooking sign of Taurus, though we don’t know its precise position, as we do not have a birth time for him.  Mars loosely trine Jupiter provides his personality with energy allied with enthusiasm, while Mars closely trine with the North Node again likes to lead.

Life and Career

John Torode was born in Melbourne, the youngest of three boys, but his mother died when he was four and he moved to New South Wales to live with his grandmother, who introduced him to the joys of cookery. Leaving school at 16 and after apprenticeships in Melbourne, he came to the U.K. in the 1991 (aged 26) and continued to learn his trade as a chef in the Conran Group restaurants.

From 1996 he began a cookery slot on This Morning, and opened restaurants in London.

When he was approached in 2004 to front the re-vamped Masterchef, the producers put him together with Gregg Wallace.  He had known Gregg Wallace since working at Quaglino’s for the Conran organization, because Gregg had supplied the restaurant’s vegetables.  So their paths had already crossed…

Although the new show was prepared in 2004, its first airing was on 21st February 2005.  John’s main transit for that event was Saturn trine his natal Chiron in Pisces, which is constructive in many ways, for the start of a long running show, and gave him the opportunity to show his strengths.

The interaspects between him and Gregg show a similarity of interests (Mercuries closely sextile, and generational affinity (they were born within 9 months of each other and have the outer planets exactly conjunct).

Lisa Faulkner

Lisa Faulker, who had acting roles in Brookside and Holby City, took part in Masterchef in 2010, and emerged champion.  Two and a half years later she began seeing John Torode, and they embarked on a serious relationship.  Her Venus is exactly sextile his North Node, so the relationship was very much “meant to be”.  Her Saturn is exactly sextile his natal Sun, helping to ground him.

In recent years, John and Lisa have produced cooking shows together, John And Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen which started in March 2019 and John & Lisa’s Food Trip Down Under, which aired earlier this year.

Gregg Wallace

Birth Chart

Gregg has Sun closely conjunct Mercury in Libra, and Libra is an incurable romantic.  He certainly did not give up on love, because he has been married four times!  The conjunction forms a Grand Air Trine with Saturn in Aquarius, and the North Node in Gemini.  This keeps him curious, about love, life and food!  He has Venus exactly conjunct Uranus in Virgo, giving him exacting and unusual tastes, which is part of the specialism he has carved for himself.  Librans also have a reputation for being sweet-toothed, and he certainly enjoys tasting all those puds which he is required to judge!  He has made a living out of a discerning palate (food critic Jay Rayner also has Venus in Virgo).  Venus closely conjunct Pluto and exactly opposite Chiron accounts for the ups and downs in his private life.

Life and Career

Gregg Wallace was born in Peckham, and also left school early (aged 15).  He worked at Covent Garden Fruit and Veg Market.  From there he progressed to setting up his own greengrocery business, and later opened a restaurant in Putney.

His transits at the beginning of his long stayt at Masterchef were very impactful (more so than those of the more established John):

Pluto sextile his natal Sun (a profound event in his life), the South Node on his Mercury (a karmic reward in broadcasting) and Jupiter sextile his natal Mars (a chance to express his enthusiasms – he has Mars square Jupiter natally so can go over the top!).

Since the success of co-presenting Masterchef, he has diversified into various roles on television, such as the programme “Eat Well for Less?” and touring various food and other factories.

In 2014 he tried his hand at Strictly Come Dancing, leaving the show in the second week.

Fourth Marriage

After his second marriage ended in 2004 (a pivotal year for him) he was awarded full custody of their two children. He found love again in 2013, meeting Anne-Marie Sterpini on Twitter, and marrying her in August 2016.  John Torode was his best man.  Gregg and Marie have a son, Sid, who was born in May 2019.

Lloyd Grossman

Lloyd Grossman was the original host of MasterChef, when it began on 2nd July 1990, with the Sun exactly conjunct Mercury at 10 degrees Cancer.  It made an important impact on his life, with the transits of:-

Saturn exactly trine his Sun, a worthwhile enterprise; Uranus exactly trine his natal Venus, a new food-based venture; and Saturn sextile his natal Mars plus Saturn trine his natal Saturn, transits which reinforced the first two.

Like Gregg, he has Venus in Virgo (one hallmark of a gourmet).  I still buy his sauces, a brand he introduced to the supermarket shelves in 1995.

Of course, he had also presented Through the Keyhole, which snooped into people’s houses (“who lives in a home like this?”) beginning on 1st February 1983, so he was already a household name. His transits for that earlier breakthrough were Uranus square his natal Venus (surprise), Nodal Axis square his natal Neptune (intrigue) and Jupiter trine his Pluto (power).

The producers changed the format of MasterChef radically for John and Gregg’s version, and introduces changes all the time, so that we do not get bored.  All the different formats seem to work (the home cooks, the professional chefs, the celebrities and the juniors) – well they do for me, though I always have to mentally convert the dishes into vegetarian options.

“Just the fat, bald bloke on MasterChef who likes pudding”.

~ Gregg Wallace, referring to himself


It’s a week of conjunctions only, and there are four of them!  That means a series of burst of intensity to focus on and work with.

You’ve probably heard about tomorrow’s Solar eclipse (the Sun conjunct the Moon)… it will be seen in its totality in parts of Mexico, Texas and Canada.  Traditionally, it is regarded as a catalyst in the places where it can be seen.  It takes place at 19 degrees Aries, so may touch your lives more significantly if you have planets in that degree, or 19 degrees of any other sign.  You may find that it is a turning point or new beginning in the House it is placed in your birth chart.  Look to the future, unhampered by the past.  Set your intentions, wishes, creative visualizations and affirmations from your centre.

On the same day, we have the second of our conjunctions: that of  the Sun conjunct Chiron, also at 19 degrees Aries.  This may be a healing crisis, or an awkward situation.  Fortunately, Chiron transits often come with their own in-built solutions, because its ultimate purpose is healing.  You just need to turn the appropriate key (to go through the key hole – the glyph for Chiron is a key).  Something is ready to be released, and if your mind can’t work it out immediately, take a quiet moment and allow the answer to emerge.

The third conjunction appears on Wednesday (10th), being the combination of Mars and Saturn, at 14 degrees Pisces.  Some may find it tough and frustrating, especially if you are not used to your wings being clipped, or your will or energies encountering obstacles.  It can however bring an inner steel to concentrate on the job in hand, and even perhaps to live in the moment.  It may enable us to focus inward, economize on energy and thought.  You may then discover a new occupation which does not expend or over-consume.  However, in the current wars (of Ukraine and the Middle East) we may hear of further cruelties exacted upon innocents.

The last conjunction of the week to be visited upon us is that of the Sun conjunct Mercury at 22 degrees Aries, on Thursday (11th), which may bring an extra special quality to the day.  It is a good time to apply your mind with clarity,  concentrate and focus,  and make important statements.  Your perceptions may be heightened, both with regard to the microcosm (seeing the daisies) or the macrocosm (seeing things from a larger perspective than you are accustomed to seeing the issues).

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – turning point; healing directions
  • Wednesday – the frustration of obstacles
  • Thursday – seeing into reality