For several years, Grace Dent has been one of the most intimidating obstacles standing between MasterChef contestants and the title.
The prominent food critic has a reputation for withering putdowns and a general disdain for anything less than stellar cooking. Small wonder most competitors quake in their boots.
However, there's more to the famous food writer than scaring amateur cooks. Here's everything you need to know about Grace Dent.
Who is Grace Dent?
Born in Carlisle, Dent is most well-known for her career as a restaurant critic.
In 2012, she signed a joint deal with both The Independent and The Evening Standard, reviewing restaurants across London and the UK. In 2018, Dent made the switch to The Guardian, where she continues to work as the paper's leading critic.
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However, there's more to her career than writing hilarious and occasionally mean things about other people's cooking.
For instance, Dent is a regular guest star on several prominent TV shows, including Have I Got News For You and Pointless. She is also a regular on the radio and has even sat in as a replacement host for Vanessa Feltz on BBC Radio London.
Interestingly for a food critic, Dent has followed a mostly vegan lifestyle since 2010. However, she does eat meat for her restaurant reviews and has cited the beef shin ragu at North London restaurant Trullo as one of her favourite ever dishes.
Does Grace Dent have a partner?
Although her current relationship status remains unknown, she has alluded to a partner several times in her articles for The Guardian.
In 2019, for instance, she described how she agreed with Gwyneth Paltrow's philosophy of maintaining distance between partners. In her column for the newspaper, she explained how living partially separately from her partner was actually incredibly beneficial, writing:
"It’s been this way for a couple of years. I don’t want to change it. On days apart, we speak constantly via WhatsApp. If I need him, he’ll appear – say, if a big spider is loose in the house, or if very bad news has happened.
"He is cherished entirely, but I can cherish him 13 miles away."
However, she has subsequently hinted that she has also gone through a divorce. In another 2019 Guardian article, Dent wrote: "...Given my divorce lawyer carte blanche to thwack me over the head with a big mallet and lock me in his stationery cupboard if I ever mention marriage again."
What this means for her current relationship status is unclear as Dent is extremely careful regarding the details of her private life.
How does Grace Dent know Tom Parker Bowles?
Dent and Parker Bowles have worked together for several years and also genuine friends in real life.
Britain's elite food critics are a closely-knit circle at the best of times of course. But this is even more true for the select few chosen to appear as MasterChef judges.
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Both Dent and Parker Bowles have been regulars on the show for several years. However, it's fair to say that Dent is the more well-known critic to MasterChef fans.
However, the pair's relationship goes much deeper than BBC One. Both Dent and Parker Bowles were co-creative directors of London Food Month back in 2017.
This suggests that they have more in common than a desire to rib on amateurs' attempts at cooking.
During an interview with The Sun in 2020, Dent described Parker Bowles as the most famous person in her phone book. She said: "Tom Parker Bowles, because he’s almost royal, I suppose."
Does Grace Dent have a book?
In addition to her work as a food critic, Dent is a prolific author. Just last year, for example, she released her highly acclaimed memoir, "Hungry".
However, she is not just known for her non-fiction writing. Dent has also released 11 novels aimed at young adults.
Her work includes the popular Diary of a Chav and Diary of a Snob series', as well as the LBD trilogy. The TV rights have been acquired for several of her works, although, as of yet none, have made it to the screen.
What days is MasterChef on?
The new series premiered on BBC One, March 1 at 9pm.
In addition to the Monday show, episodes will air on Wednesday at 8 pm and Friday at 8:05. It is during Friday's episode that Dent will be setting her task for the contestants.
As ever with MasterChef, the show's broadcast on the BBC will be quite irregular. We will keep you up to date with any changes that may occur.