Grace Dent: Who is the I'm A Celebrity star?

The food critic and MasterChef star is headed into the jungle - here's how she gained her celebrity status.

I'm A Celebrity's Grace Dent is well known for her MasterChef judging stints (ITV)
Writer and TV presenter Grace Dent is entering the jungle for I'm A Celebrity 2023. (ITV)

Grace Dent is among the contestants heading into the jungle for this year's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

The 50-year-old writer is a familiar face to fans of MasterChef UK.

But her name has been viewed as something of a wildcard among this year's possible campmates.

We take a look at what she's said about her upcoming I'm A Celeb stint, MasterChef fame and more.

What has Grace Stint said about I'm A Celeb?

I'm A Celebrity's 2023 lineup
The 2023 starry lineup for I'm A Celebrity (ITV)

Dent revealed she had been moved to say "yes" to the show after recently going through the experience of losing both her parents.

She said: “I have been through a really difficult time over the last four or five years.

"My dad had dementia, I cared for him and I lost him. Mum had cancer and I lost her. I think that this has made me very strong and resilient.

"This is going to be a big challenge and now I am older, life is for living and it’s one of the reasons why I said yes."

The straight-talking TV critic is not too worried about facing snaked and rats in the trials. But she is more scared of the kind of people she will be living with in the jungle.

She confessed: "My biggest phobia is really horrible people. I hope I can be somebody who people can talk to and I do hope I can stay out of any drama."

We're dishing up what you need to know about Grace Dent.

I'm A Celebrity criticism

The journalist and critic – known to fans of MasterChef UK for her regular appearances on the BBC show – is a closet fan of I'm A Celebrity.

Dent said in a TV review for the Independent back in 2012 that she thought I'm A Celebrity was "a puerile venture into starvation, televised constipation and animal cruelty, abbreviated by ads for Iceland £1 curries."

She admitted she did watch the show, but was so ashamed, "I snap my blinds firmly shut before settling down to watch I'm a Celeb, in fear that the theme tune alone devalues my property."

Working Class roots

John Torode, Grace Dent and Gregg Wallace on Masterchef (BBC)
John Torode, Grace Dent and Gregg Wallace on Masterchef (BBC)

She might be the go-to voice for discerning diners who want to know which new restaurants are the best in town now, but Dent is proud of her working class roots in Cumbria.

The food critic has told how her ancestors worked on farms and in service at large houses, while her mum's jobs had included being a cleaner - something she admitted left her uncomfortable with hiring a cleaner herself.

Dent has also written: "I was the cool, young, radical thinker at any mixed-aged Dent family gathering, arriving armed with my dos and don’ts of what was fine to believe."

Budding journalist

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Grace Dent attends The TRIC Awards 2021 at 8 Northumberland Avenue on September 15, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Grace Dent has had a long and successful career in journalism. (WireImage)

Dent was an ambitious young writer and began writing features for Cosmopolitan magazine when she was still a student, studying English Literature at University.

She got a job as an editorial assistant for another women's magazine Marie Claire when she graduated.

She went on to become a successful freelance journalist writing for Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire and the Daily Mirror, as well as having a weekly column in More magazine.

From early in her career she developed her acerbic and sarcastic humour that her fans still enjoy today as she still regularly contributes to The Guardian newspaper.

Grace Dent attends the first performance of ABBA
Grace Dent is an award-winning writer. (Getty Images)

Dent isn't only known for her newspaper and magazine journalism - she's also a prolific author, with 11 novels and three non-fiction books to her name.

She penned the LBD, Diary of a Chav and Diary of a Snob book series aimed at teens and young adults, while Hungry: A memoir of wanting more details her journey from beige food childhood to professional foodie.

How To Leave Twitter (My Time as Queen of the Universe and Why This Must Stop) saw Dent take a look at how addictive the social media platform can be and the lies people tell on it, while her latest book, Comfort Eating, is a spin-off from her hit podcast which is a kind of food-themed Desert Island Discs.


Grace Dent is well known for her judging on MasterChef (BBC)
Grace Dent is well known for her judging on MasterChef (BBC)

If you've seen Dent on TV before, it's most likely to have been for one of her many guest judging stints on a MasterChef series.

The to-the-point food critic has left many a contestant quaking in their boots, from the main show to The Professionals as well as Celebrity MasterChef, and she's also given her verdict for Great British Menu.

Her straight-talking style has made her an in-demand booking for shows including Have I Got News For You?, Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe and The Apprentice: You're Fired.

Restaurant critic

Grace Dent attends the MEATliquor party for the Evening Standard's London Food Month
Grace Dent has been viewed as something of a wildcard among this year's possible campmates (Getty)

As at-odds as it may seem with being a restaurant critic, Dent is mainly vegan and has said her flexitarianism mainly extends to when she really must try a forkful of meat in her line of work.

In 2018, she wrote for The Guardian: "In my game, as a restaurant critic, it would be more acceptable to come clean as a roaring alcoholic, a snob or a tax evader than reveal my actual clandestine secret. But here goes: my name is Grace Dent and I eat mainly vegan."

Dent explained that her love of animals and disgust at some of the practices in rearing them for food had lead her to go plant-based, so expect to see her following Beverley Callard's lead in choking down fermented tofu rather than fish eyes if she does make it into the jungle.

She admitted: "I am especially dreading being really hungry because I tend to eat four or five posh meals out a week because I am a restaurant critic."

And Dent is hoping to take control of the camp cooking.

She said: "I am a practical cook but it is not cooking as we know it in the jungle. What makes food is herbs and spices and I am not going to have any ingredients.

"I don’t know how you are going to make an alligator’s foot taste delicious if there are no spices."

Read more: I'm A Celebrity