Gregg Wallace has said it was “wonderful” to be reunited with his fellow MasterChef: The Professionals judges after about four months of lockdown.
The long-running series, which features Wallace, Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti on the judging panel, will return to TV screens on November 10.
The Professionals is moving to BBC One after it proved to be BBC Two’s highest-rating cookery series for the past three years.
Wallace said: “It has been great.
“Just seeing Marcus and Monica was wonderful.
“Credit has to go to production and the management on MasterChef who managed to get us back together again.
“The biggest change for me is not to be able to shake the hand or put my arm around the people I have been working with for 17 years.
“Filming wise it has been OK, but we now taste the food individually rather than standing around the plate together and we move around each other seamlessly, we call it the MasterChef Dance.”
Galetti said: “It has been really great to see everyone; the MasterChef team are like a family.
“At the start of filming we had been in lockdown for something like four months so it was fabulous to see everyone again on set; it was a real celebration.”
Over six weeks, 32 professional chefs will strive to demonstrate their skills, commitment and creativity as they cook for the coveted The Professionals trophy.
The 13th series comes as the hospitality industry faces a critical period during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking about the challenge of filming during Covid-19, Michelin-starred restaurateur Wareing said: “We were very grateful and humbled by being able to still make a show which is such a big part of our lives.
“Yes, it was a tiny bit difficult at the beginning to find this new way of working, but we did it very quickly and within a week we were flying and it became the new norm.”
Galetti added: “Well, we had Sam (our floor manager) walking around with a two-metre stick to make sure we weren’t standing too close together.
“We had a Covid officer every day doing temperature checks when we arrived and reminding us throughout the day to sanitise and keep our distance, so it was very different.”
Wallace also reacted to The Professionals’ move to BBC One.
“I think it’s wonderful news and an endorsement of what a good programme we make.
“Hopefully more people can see how brilliant Marcus and Monica really are,” he said.
MasterChef: The Professionals starts on November 10 at 9pm on BBC One.