From Celebrity MasterChef to ‘Man of the Match’ at Soccer Aid, it’s been a top week for Kem Cetinay

British Turkish Cypriot television star Kem Cetinay ensured the Rest of the World XI were crowned Soccer Aid champions for the third year running by scoring two of the team’s goals in their 3-0 win over England on Saturday night.

Celebrities and football legends took part in the game, which was televised live on ITV from Manchester’s Etihad stadium, watched by a capacity 70,000 crowd that helped raise over £13 million for charity.

Due to his Turkish heritage, Kem, 25, lined up in the Rest of the World XI. The all-star team, led by three-time Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt, also included broadcast presenter Ore Oduba, former professional footballers Roberto Carlos and Patrice Evra, rapper Big Zuu, and singer Yungblood.

Facing them was an England team with ex England internationals Wayne Rooney, Jamie Redknapp and Paul Scholes, who played alongside entertainers Olly Murs and James Arthur, and reality TV star Mark Wright. Yet the England players failed to check a dominant performance by the Rest of the World XI.

Kem’s first goal came from outside the box. He struck it cleanly and directed it to the bottom far post, but it lacked power. Yet the goalie’s attempt to save was feeble and the ball crossed over the line to make it England 0 Rest of the World XI 1.

Kem Cetinay of World XI scores 0-1 during the Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2021 match taking place on Saturday 4th September at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. 
Photographed by Ian Walton for Unicef UK and Soccer Aid Productions. ©UNICEF/Soccer Aid Productions/Stella Pictures

Kem Cetinay of World XI celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2021 match taking place on Saturday 4th September at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. 
Photographed by Daniel Hambury for Unicef UK and Soccer Aid Productions. ©UNICEF/Soccer Aid Productions/Stella Pictures

The Rest of the World XI and Kem’s second goal was a cracker. Receiving the ball on the right side of the pitch, just inside the penalty area, Kem took one touch to steady himself before burying an angled shot in the bottom left corner.

A jubilant Kem was hugged by his team mates after scoring his brace. A few minutes later, comedian Lee Mack put the game beyond doubt scoring a third for the Rest of the World XI, a simple tap-in just outside the 6-yard box after being left unmarked.

Record-breaking £13 million raised for UNICEF

Celebrations erupted at the final whistle. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and retired soccer star David Beckham presented the winning team with their trophy. And if that wasn’t enough, Kem was also named Man of the Match.

Now in its tenth year, Soccer Aid supports the work of global charity UNICEF, which provides humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide.

Gate receipts from the fundraising match and donations from viewers at home on Saturday night meant this year, Soccer Aid raised a record-breaking £13,014,769 for the charity.

Fundraising for UK Soccer Aid 2021 continues all this month. Click here to donate.

Kem showcases Turkish dishes on BBC’s Celebrity MasterChef

Soccer Aid tops a great week of television for Kem, who also featured on BBC’s Celebrity MasterChef for three nights running (Series 16, episodes 10, 11 and 12).

The young celebrity told viewers he is mindful of his “Turkish background” where all his family does “is cook”, as “food is big in my family”. He knew that if he didn’t perform well on the culinary show, he’d “let the family down”.

Despite his desire to do excel and armed with tips from family and friends, Kem got off to a wobbly start producing a poor poached pineapple, inspired by his mum’s poached pears, for the Under the Cloth test. The sad looking dessert was made with a rosemary infused red wine syrup and whipped cream that had nearly turned to butter as Kem had whipped it so much.

Kem Cetinay looking confused on Celebrity MasterChef 2021. Photo © BBC


Embarrassingly for this British Turk, he then failed to recognise savoury snack gözleme or know the ingredients that go into it during the Turkish street food challenge. “Are you sure it’s Turkish?” a confused Kem asked the presenters.

Diners visiting Array, Kem’s plush new eatery in Romford, Essex, needn’t worry though. His partner Nadir Gul, who has 18 years’ restaurant experience, and the staff keep him well away from the kitchen. Yet perhaps we needn’t fear because as the episodes progressed, so did Kem’s skills in the kitchen.

The former Love Island winner used his appearance on MasterChef to showcase several tasty Turkish dishes, including sigara böreği with cacık [‘cigarette’ shaped savoury filo pastry with cheese stuffing], lamb chops with şehriye pilavı [rice with noodles], and yalancı biber dolması [‘fake dolma’, i.e. vegetarian stuffed peppers] served with the popular Turkish aniseed-flavoured alcoholic drink rakı.

Maintaining his natural cheeky chappie persona throughout, Kem’s lack of knowledge of ingredients and classic dishes, along with his general kitchen banter on the show made for hilarious television viewing.

On one occasion, presenter John Torode asked Kem to cook brandy snaps, a popular biscuit. Kem replied, “I don’t know what they are. It’s not a drink is it, like Peach Schnapps?”

Kem’s efforts on MasterChef went from kitchen disaster to culinary success…

Kem Cetinay’s poached pineapple failed to impress on the BBC’s Celebrity MasterChef 2021
The presenters gave Kem Cetinay’s ‘Cypriot chicken, aka tavuk dolması (stuffed chicken) the thumbs up on the BBC’s Celebrity MasterChef 2021


When one of his stuffed biber dolması failed to stand upright on the presentation plate, Kem decided to take a risk and slice a part of the bottom off: “I think I’m going to cut it underneath. This is a huge risk. This is Champions League or Europa.”

His ‘Cypriot chicken’ – a take on tavuk dolması – may not be very ‘Cypriot’, but it looked and tasted good. And the presenters and restaurant judges were singing Kem’s praises for his 2-course meal of sigara böreği and lamb chops with şehriye pilavı, helping to propel Kem into the semi-finals.

Watch Kem in the semis of BBC’s Celebrity MasterChef

Kem is back on our screens this week, showing off his newly acquired culinary talents in the semi-finals of Celebrity MasterChef. The show is broadcast on BBC 1.

He is up against the likes of actress Su Pollard, television presenters Melanie Sykes and Joe Swash, athlete Kadeena Cox, and footballer Dion Dublin.

Watch Kem in action at 9pm on Wednesday, 8 September. If he progresses to the next rounds, he will be also cooking on Thursday and Friday evenings, with the show airing on BBC1 at the slightly earlier time of 8pm.

All episodes of this season’s Celebrity MasterChef are available to watch for a limited time on the BBC iPlayer.


Main image, top, of Kem Cetinay of World XI as he scores and celebrates 0-2 during the Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2021 match taking place on Saturday 4th September at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. The money raised from this year’s game will help UNICEF fight back against the Covid-19 pandemic by helping to deliver 2 billion vaccines worldwide. Photographed by Ian Walton for Unicef UK and Soccer Aid Productions. ©UNICEF/Soccer Aid Productions/Stella Pictures
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