A Cook Abroad episode 3 – John Torode’s Argentina: MasterChef judge and meat connoisseur John Torode fulfils a lifelong ambition to go to Argentina, where eating beef is a national obsession. After savouring the street food from the barbecues, or ‘asados’, in Buenos Aires, John embarks on an epic road trip that takes him across the vast pastures of the pampas to Mendoza in the foothills of the Andes. His mission – to find the best piece of steak in the world and the best way to cook it.
Along the way, John discovers that modern industrial farming has changed the landscape of the legendary pampas and threatened a way of life unchanged for centuries. In order to learn the traditional ways of rearing cattle, he goes native with the gauchos on a working estancia and experiences one of the most authentic barbecues he’s ever had. Back on the road, when John stops at a truckers’ cafe to have lunch, he has an epiphany. He grasps the secret of cooking with fire.
His final destination is a fabled restaurant in Mendoza, where cooking beef has become an art form. It’s here, among the restaurant’s seven fires, that John learns his final lesson.
A Cook Abroad episode 3 – John Torode’s Argentina
John Douglas Torode is an Australian-British celebrity chef and TV presenter. He moved to the UK in the 1990s and began working at Conran Group’s restaurants. After first appearing on television on ITV’s This Morning, he started presenting a revamped MasterChef on BBC One in 2005. He is a restaurateur; former owner of the Luxe and a second restaurant, Smiths of Smithfield. He has also written a number of cookbooks, including writing some with fellow MasterChef presenter and judge, Gregg Wallace.
John Douglas Torode began his cooking career at the age of 16, after leaving school to attend catering college. He moved to the United Kingdom in 1991. A year later he began working at Le Pont de la Tour and Quaglino’s as a sous chef for the Conran Group under Terence Conran. While working at Quaglino’s, Torode first met Gregg Wallace, whose company supplied the vegetables for the restaurant.
He cooked on ITV’s This Morning in 1996, and continued in that role until 2000. In 1998, his cookbook The Mezzo Cookbook won the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Food Photography”. He opened his former restaurant in Smithfield, London in 2000, called Smiths of Smithfield. After a year, he opened a second restaurant, called Cafeteria, near Notting Hill Gate. Its closure made way for larger projects.
Torode has presented a show for the Good Food channel in the UK alongside former Celebrity MasterChef contestant Hardeep Singh Kohli, called New British Kitchen. The show aimed to feature the impact of imported cuisines in Britain. Other television work has included an appearance on the BBC’s The Magicians, which saw Torode and Wallace participate in a stunt by magicians Barry and Stuart which hung the pair off the side of the Tate Modern in London.