There’s always been something unusual about Gregg Wallace and John Torode. An unspoken tension that you sometimes come across between first cousins who secretly fancy each other. A mysterious but pungent atmosphere. You know it’s there, you just can’t see what it is. Well, now we can.
Last year John Douglas Torode was best man at Gregg Allan Wallace’s wedding. The two men have worked next to each other presenting Masterchef for ten years and have known each other even longer – all the way back to Gregg’s green grocering days. “What days!” they sometimes say to each other. These two are obviously very good friends. In fact, they’re best friends. Out of all the other men Gregg knows, John was his choice as the best of them. Two days ago however, something very strange happened. In an interview with The Mirror, John Torode said that he was not friends with Gregg Wallace. Moreover, that they’d never been friends. John said he’d never even been to Gregg’s house. What is going on here?
There are two options. One, it’s simply a joke taken out of context (it’s almost certainly this one), or two (and this is the one I choose to believe, because it’s much more fun) John Torode hates Gregg Wallace. He hates him so much. He hates him on a fundamental level. He hates him like a dog hates a cat. He hates him enough that he’s willing to pretend to be his friend for ten years just so that, when he does decide to reveal his true feelings, it can be as shattering as possible. In short, John Torode wants to emotionally destroy Gregg Wallace – just because he can. And, what’s worse, Gregg is completely oblivious to all this. Gregg thinks they’re best friends. He knows they are. That’s what’s unusual about Gregg Wallace and John Torode: unrequited hatred.
Imagine Gregg’s wedding day (which was last year remember):
John Torode stands just outside the church in a not quite purple moleskin suit. He’s vaping. Gregg rushes out, sweating but eager.
“Johnny, John boy, John bo, Johnny Cash, Johnny Mnemonic, Joh…”
“What is it, Gregg?” John says as he sucks deeply on his new vape stick that looks like a discreet vibrator.
“Nothing mate, nothing. Just double checking you’ve got the rings?”
There’s a long silence. Then John exhales the entire enormous puff, making no effort whatsoever to avoid the sickly vapour curling into Gregg’s wide eyes and even wider nostrils. “Of course I’ve got the fucking rings”.
“Hahahahaha, phew!” Gregg mimes wiping his brow, but it actually does need wiping.
“Here, you’re a mess Gregg.”
John hands Gregg a tissue. Gregg doesn’t notice the tissue has some writing in biro on it. Greg mops his brow but as he does some ink from the writing is deposited on to his face, leaving a faint but definitely noticeable blue-black smear on his forehead.
“Wish me luck,” Gregg beams.
John smiles the thinnest of thin smiles and walks into the church, not saying a word. ‘One day’ John thinks to himself as his jaw clenches and the words almost come out, ‘one fucking day’.
The 2nd of April 2017 was that day. The day John Torode’s ten year master plan could finally come to fruition. But John underestimated Gregg Wallace. He underestimated Gregg’s inability to notice anything going on around him. Gregg only sees what he wants to see. Imagine the scene just after the story broke yesterday.
John sits in his hotel room in a white dressing gown – a little more open than it should be. He’s pleased with himself. He might vape before 11 as a treat. His phone rings, it’s Gregg.
John looks at his phone in utter disbelief. He picks it up but doesn’t speak.
“Johnny boy! I’m outside, let me in, mate.”
John’s trembling slightly now with contempt, with shock, with fear – he doesn’t know what. He pulls on a white pima cotton shirt – he’s got several – and walks up to his hotel room door. He breathes in deeply to calm himself, then opens the door slowly.
Gregg blunders in hitting his hip hard on the door handle but he doesn’t seem to notice. He’s sweating, but eager.
“Selfie?” Gregg whips out his Motorola Razr.
“Gregg, I don’t understan…”
Before John can finish Gregg puts a clammy arm around John’s waist, pulling him close. John can feel the pima cling to his body from the moisture off Gregg’s arm skin.
“Smile!” Gregg gives John a little tickle on the side of his waist and presses the camera shutter.
John smiles the tiniest of smiles and under his breath – but definitely loud enough for Gregg to hear – says: “I hate you”.
Gregg doesn’t hear. He never will.