There are a lot of contenders for nastiest judge on TV. Simon Cowell. That bloke who’s not on Dancing on Ice anymore.

But for a masterclass in confidence-shattering, sneering contemptuousness, you need to be watching Richard Corrigan on this week’s Great British Menu.

The format of the show is simple. Three chefs cook a four course meal, one course a day, to a specified brief (this year, an Olympian feast that must be ground-breaking and mind-blowing). A chef-mentor – this week Richard Corrigan – scores each dish out of ten, and on Friday, the two chefs with the highest scores get to cook for the panel of judges.

Now, the judges themselves can be pretty excoriating. Last week’s putdowns included “I don’t know if I can be bothered [ to eat this], he clearly hasn’t bothered” and a withering “truly horrible”.

But Richard Corrigan is a cut above. Day by day, he’s ripped the stuffing out of the three contestants from Northern Ireland, starting on day one by telling one chef he needed a sickbag after seeing the components for his starter. But it’s in the judging kitchen that he really comes into his own.

Do you think that’s cooked enough? Have you got the seasoning right there? You don’t think this is a bit undercooked? The pork’s not a bit bland? The spices aren’t a bit overpowering? You think people will actually want to eat this? Should it be like that? Happy with the flavours here? Does the asparagus belong on this plate? Do you not just think this is Sunday lunch? You don’t think you’ve taken on a bit too much? Are you sure you’re not just really really rubbish? Do you think you should just up and go home now?

His dead pan delivery, contemptuous expressions as the chefs plate up – some stellar moments have included “your dish had better be perfect if you’ve got time to polish your plates” – and persistent questioning means by the time he asks them if it’s a world beatng dish, they can’t help but shake their heads and, crestfallen, say “No, chef, I don’t think it is.”

By day three (yesterday) the chefs, who started the week buoyed with confidence, looked totally destroyed.

Don’t believe me? Look at their faces as he’s giving them their final scores. .Or as they give him their dishes. Broken men, all of them. Cooking really doesn’t come any tougher than this.