Matt Butler: Phillips Idowu spills the beans – he's sticking to the day job
View From the Sofa
Good news: Phillips Idowu is not giving up on the triple jump. The bad news was that he wasn't at Moscow for the World Championships when he announced it. Instead, he had just demonstrated his hopelessness at cooking a lamb steak.
Idowu said in July that he would be taking a break "for the foreseeable future", which it seems meant swapping the prospect of donning his spikes in Moscow for tying up an apron to compete for another title: Celebrity MasterChef.
Let's face it, the coveted kitchen prize didn't do the former England rugby captain Phil Vickery's profile any harm at all – and who knows, Idowu may find an outlet for his "homely food with a Nigerian twist" that was revealed to be his cooking style by the familiar husky voiceover.
He started well, in terms of improving the public's perception of him. Before London 2012, his public spat with Charles van Commenee, the former Team GB head coach, gave him the reputation as a bit of a prima donna. The garish hair colours and numerous piercings didn't help with Union flag-waving middle England, who liked their triple jumpers to be a little more like... well, Jonathan Edwards.
On MasterChef, where he appeared last week with an acting trio of Ade Edmondson, John Thomson and Denise Black, he showed himself to be humble, as well as toned down: there were no bright red hair or twinkling tongue piercings this time around and he handled the initial tasks – cooking crocodile and serving 60 portions of food for a bunch of students – satisfactorily, while repeatedly saying: "This is a world away from what I normally do. In my day-to-day job it is just me and the sandpit."
Idowu is not the only person from the world of sport to tackle the heat in this series' MasterChef kitchen, as Matthew Hoggard, the former England pace bowler, and Joe Calzaghe, the ex-boxer, are also due to appear.
But the real stars of the show are Gregg Wallace and John Torode, the pair of judges who continue to mine every onomatopoeia in the English language in order to describe the dishes. "Boom is the culinary term," Torode said of one of Thomson's creations. One of the same contestant's sauces apparently needed more "woarh". Of course. But wouldn't a pinch of salt have sufficed?
Still, this is a show where if a dish offers a "kick in the shins and a smack in the gob" (Torode again) then it is deemed to be edible. Sadly for Idowu, his dishes garnered more prosaic terms from the judges. Some sea bream was "super yummy" but the creamy tomato sauce to accompany it was merely described as "disgusting". The mint concoction to accompany the aforementioned lamb was termed "an oil spill".
That meant the end for Idowu, especially after his starter of garlic mushrooms was described by Vickery, who made a guest appearance as a critic and was in full-on food-ponce mode, as "something I would do with the kids on a Saturday morning". Which said as much about Vickery as it did about Idowu's fungi.
On being told he was leaving, the triple jumper looked genuinely gutted. After being told the bad news, he said: "I can't wait to get back in the sandpit – the kitchen is too stressful. I am a lot more confident in my ability to hop, step and jump."
So you heard it here first. Good news indeed. Especially if you like your lamb minus an oil spill.
Celebrity MasterChef BBC 1
Latest in Sport
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Arsenal transfer targets: The summer signings that would please Thierry Henry, including Sami Khedira and Edinson Cavani
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...