Master of his craft

By Ewen McRae

John McAleer may not be an avid watcher of MasterChef, but there’s still a little bit of him in every episode.

The Melton jeweller has been making the iconic pins, which give the wearers the ability to avoid elimination from the competition, for the past six seasons of the hit tv show.

Amazingly, he almost missed the chance to be part of the long-running series.

“I got a phone call randomly just before Good Friday about six years ago asking me to make these pins,” he said.

“They told me they needed three pins in a week, and it was just before Easter when we close, but I obviously knew of the show so thought I’d better do it.

“I don’t even watch the show, so I just assumed they gave them to the contestants at the end, but now each year I get an email with another order for about three pins and away we go.

“I’ve had regular customers come in and tell me they’ve seen the pins, or send me screen grabs, so locals do get a buzz out it, which is really nice.”

He said the MasterChef pins were not difficult to make once he had the template mastered.

And while a pin is on display at the John McAleer Jewellery Designs store on High Street, and he’s received many requests to sell them, he said he never will.

“I’ve had emails from England, or people asking if I can make them one, but there’s no way I would,” he said.

“I did have one lady who I made wedding rings for just a few months back, her mother-in-law came over from overseas for the wedding and was as excited about me making the pins as she was about the rings.

“So I think having one on display is enough.”