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No Marco on menu for TV hit Masterchef

RTE's Nick Munier has taken his former mentor Marco Pierre White off the menu and instead asked patissier Roger Pizey to appear on Masterchef Ireland.

The Herald can reveal how the affable restaurateur has opted to showcase the talents of the top baker, who worked with Nick as a pastry expert on the ITV hit Hell's Kitchen.

Although they were best pals for years, Marco and Nick had a famous falling out after the TV Maitre d' opened his Dublin restaurant close to his former pal's Dawson Street eatery.

Asked if the celebrity chef had contacted him to wish him well with his new show, Nick said: "No, he hasn't texted or rang me at all. But we do have Roger Pizey from Hell's Kitchen coming on the show to do a nice dessert task. He's going to be doing a master class for contestants in a future episode."

And the new programme fronted by him and Dylan McGrath has proved a tasty morsel for viewers, judging by the figures for the first episode on Tuesday night.

RTE described it as a "real ratings success story", given that it was watched by an average of 281,000 viewers, or 17.5pc of the available audience, and also trended on Twitter.

"I think we were very nervous about it but ultimately it got a great response. The feedback has been massive, Twitter went berserk and I'm so pleased that everyone liked it," Nick said.

The show's first outing saw a range of contestants try to impress the judges, including an emotional Richard Speedie.

He burst into tears despite getting through to the next round, and there were plenty of dramatic reactions from the aspiring chefs battling to nab one of the 16 Masterchef aprons.

Nick beat off competition from more than 50 other foodies and chefs to land the role -- and says he's grabbing the opportunity with both hands.