Exclusive: show was already loved but pandemic brought food’s emotional power to fore, say producers

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From sourdough starters to the ubiquitous banana bread, the UK’s obsession with food was never more obvious than during lockdowns, but that enthusiasm has been heightened by the pandemic, say the producers behind MasterChef, as the long-running TV competition marks its 500th season globally.

Watched by more than 1 billion people worldwide, the series has curried favour with more viewers than ever as “the world, not just the nation, are so much into food and cooking”, according to Monica Galetti, a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals.

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