Ahead of a tour of Scotland, the TV chef chats about lunching with fabulous friends, cooking for the Terminator and playing bingo with Christopher Biggins.
What can people expect from your Lunch And Laughs tour?
It will be a wonderful afternoon with fabulous women – myself, Zoe Tyler, Carol McGiffin, Lisa Maxwell, Claire Sweeney and Kate Thornton. There will be a glass of fizz on entry, lunch, shopping, some prizes from the Britain Loves Baking team, and then after lunch we’ll be on stage and it’ll be like Loose Women but better because we’ll also be singing!
People can forget all their worries after a horrible 18 months and have a good laugh. It’s not just a day for the women – we want the gentlemen to come along, too. I’ll be making an aphrodisiac that really works and everyone will have a chance to try that!
Are the celeb panellists all friends?
Yes, we all know each other. I’ve known Claire Sweeney for years and I was on tour with Zoe doing a couple of musicals with her. We all just get on and it will be so much fun.
How did you keep busy during the pandemic?
I was trying lots of different recipes, so I’ve put on a bit of weight. I also watched lots of happy films, because we needed a laugh. I happen to like ironing, so I was starching everything and then ironing it.
I starched one of my partner’s shirts and it almost walked to the wardrobe on its own! I also got in touch with old friends I hadn’t spoken with in years, just to see how they were, which was wonderful.
What are your memories of breaking into TV in the ‘80s?
It was exciting. I introduced Caribbean cooking to the nation. It was lovely to be able to talk about Caribbean food and know what I was doing. Another highlight was meeting all the celebrities from around the world who came into the TV-AM kitchen, people like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What did you cook for Arnie?
I asked in advance what he would like to eat and I made this wonderful meal for him. I thought since he was a big man I’d make a lovely seasoned shoulder of pork, and I was so excited. I was so pleased with myself as I told him I’d made it for him, and then he said he didn’t eat meat. It was live TV, so I just said, “Whoever told me you ate meat, heads will roll!”
What’s your favourite meal to cook?
I love ackee and salt fish. Ackee is very delicate and looks like scrambled egg but it’s a vegetable that grows on Jamaican trees. It opens up and has black seeds and yellow flesh all around it. It’s so delicate that it can only be bought in tins here. When The Queen visited Jamaica it was her favourite meal. I make it with white rice or boiled green bananas or yams.
What else do you have coming up?
I’m on This Morning cooking and I also have a few other TV shows on the way. I also do Bingo Allstars, which is online bingo. Christopher Biggins, Linda Lusardi and Mr Motivator also do it. We have music, quizzes, jokes and every Tuesday we have a celebrity guest for the bingo players. Last week it was Carol Smillie. It’s a lot of fun.
Lunch And Laughs tours Scotland starting Ardoe House, Aberdeen, Saturday. For dates see lunchandlaughslive.com
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