Gregg Wallace on surviving bankruptcy and three divorces: 'Losing everything is liberating'

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Gregg Wallace says losing everything is strangely liberating (Image: Getty Images)
Gregg Wallace says losing everything is strangely liberating (Image: Getty Images)

As the pandemic rages on, a large number of restaurants and pubs are facing bankruptcy as they struggle to make ends meet due to lockdown and tier restrictions.

One person who knows only too well about dealing with a business going into administration is Masterchef star Gregg Wallace, who has had three businesses so far go under. Speaking on White Wine Question Time, he says while it is scary, losing your business can be strangely liberating.

“This is what I've learned: first thing is when things start to go wrong, you worry,” he told podcast host Kate Thornton.

Read more: Mystery as contestant edited out of MasterChef: The Professionals

“What you're worried about is losing things. Once those things are gone, it's completely and utterly liberating. You can't worry about losing them anymore. After the house is gone, the marriage is gone, the cars have gone, that's it, you don't have to worry anymore.”

Listen: Gregg Wallace talks about his work ethic and why he’s terrified of being poor

The TV star, who has managed to get back on top after his businesses closed and is now estimated to be worth around £3.6 million, says losing everything just makes you stronger.

“Let me tell you, if you were good enough to go from nothing in the first place to there, all you're now doing is pruning,” he declared.

Masterchef: The Professionals S13 Picture Shows:  Gregg Wallace - (Shine TV)
Masterchef: The Professionals S13 Picture Shows: Gregg Wallace - (Shine TV)

“You will come back even stronger and quicker than you did before that - that I will absolutely guarantee. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit that got you so far, then you lose it, you will come back even stronger because you've got so much experience!”

Read more: More than 4,700 jobs at risk as Peacocks and Jaeger fall into administration

Wallace, who has been presenting Masterchef alongside John Torrode since 2005, wishes that the Brits were a bit kinder to those who had failed businesses.

“In America, they kind of expect people to get their businesses wrong. Over here, you're some kind of crook,” he lamented.

“Stupidity and ignorance is not a crime. It's the same way in, there's absolutely no way of finding true love without dating. There is no way of building a business successfully without making mistakes along the way.

“There is no such thing as failure. If you've learned a lesson from it, it was just a lesson.”

Pret A Manger is just one of many restaurant chains that has struggled during the pandemic (Image: Getty Images)
Pret A Manger is just one of many restaurant chains that has struggled during the pandemic (Image: Getty Images)

Wallace said that his biggest worry in life was not having enough money to live on, which had helped him carry on when businesses had gone under, and his anxiety was something he had learnt to live with.

“I've battled with anxiety all my life,” he revealed to Thornton.

“The anxiety of losing everything – not thinking you're good enough. Always just a drive to be financially secure - but's been the focal point, my whole entire life.”

Read more: Gregg Wallace on why lockdown has been brilliant for his health

When asked by Thornton what would be enough, the Inside The Factory host said he couldn’t be a value on it, but it would involve having less outgoings.

“It's no mortgage at all and it's enough in a pension pot so you don't have to earn at all – that's it!” he said.

“I'm 56. Now let's say I retire at 71, I've got another 15 years of trading to get that done. I reckon I'll do it!”

Hear Gregg Wallace talk about why wife number four is the real deal on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen on iTunes and Spotify.

Watch: Shane Richie talks about being bankrupt before landing his EastEnders role

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