MasterChef's Gregg Wallace 'punched man in the face for groping his girlfriend'

 

He’s used to playing culinary good cop to John Torode’s bad cop in the BBC’s popular cooking competition MasterChef.

But Gregg Wallace reportedly found in himself out of the frying pan and into the fire this weekend after allegedly brawling with a man thought to have groped his girlfriend.

Mr Wallace, 48, a former greengrocer and rugby player, is reported to have punched a man in the face while another man tried to restrain him.

Mr Wallace is alleged to have lashed out after his 27-year-old girlfriend Anne-Marie Sterpini had her bottom repeatedly pinched by the unnamed man.

The incident occurred at a £75-a-head dinner hosted by Mr Wallace at the Wood Norton Hotel in Evesham, Worcestershire.

The night was billed as Dinner With Gregg Wallace and promised guests a champagne reception followed by a five-course meal.

The hotel's website described Mr Wallace as "the bald one who likes puddings".

But things reportedly turned ugly as the guests became “very drunk”.

A picture in The Sun showed Mr Wallace in a white shirt grappling with the man while another man tries to restrain him.

"The vast majority of those present were very drunk. I'm pretty sure Gregg had enjoyed a few drinks too," a source told the Daily Mail.

"In fact, his girlfriend was one of the only people there who seemed sober. Gregg took exception to this man who was supposed to have been touching his girlfriend up.

"A table was knocked over as they grappled."

The newspaper reported Mr Wallace and the man later calmed down, apologised to each other, and shared a whisky.

His spokesman told the Mail: "I can confirm Gregg was involved in a disagreement at an event last night.

"The situation was swiftly resolved."

The alleged incident comes months after Mr Wallace predicted that his career would end if fans knew that he had "clumped" some of the people who were rude to him. He later retracted the comment.

In March, he told the Radio Times: "The only downside to my job is lack of privacy. I'm glad we became well-known in our 40s.

"We're household names but not big movie stars. I'm a south-east London blue-collar boy, so sometimes people are rude, thinking I won't react because I'm on television.

"My natural inclination is to clump them - and I have. If that was known I'd be arrested and it would end my career."

He told the magazine: "OK, I haven't done it. But here's a plea: could viewers stop sending me pictures of their dinner on Twitter - I get about 30 a day."

Mr Wallace added: "And also photographs of their friends who are bald and have glasses, telling me they're my double."

Mr Wallace separated from his third wife Heidi - a young teacher who had contacted him on Twitter to ask him a question about celery - last year after 18 months.

He had been married twice previously and admitting cheating on his second wife, Denise - the mother of his two children - with other women.

Additional reporting from PA

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