Celebrity MasterChef contestant Phil Daniels reveals his biggest cooking disaster!

Phil Daniels on Celebrity MasterChef
(Image credit: BBC/Shine TV)

Don't mention the spag bol!

Brit actor Phil Daniels is putting his culinary skills to the test in Celebrity MasterChef this week as the second heat of the competition continues.

Prolific actor Phil, 61, best known for starring in classic cult film Quadrophenia and also EastEnders in which he played wheeler-dealer, Kevin Wicks, the nephew of Pat Butcher, is up against Olympic gold medallist Sam Quek, conductor Karen Gibson, who performed at Harry and Meghan's wedding, drag artist Baga Chipz and TV presenter Dom Littlewood.

Here Phil talks about his dream dinner guests, why he preferred being on Celebrity MasterChef to his stint on Strictly Come Dancing and reveals which of his former EastEnders co-stars he thinks  would make a great MasterChef judge...

Phil Daniels in Celebrity MasterChef

Phil Daniels getting to work in the Celebrity MasterChef kitchen (Image credit: BBC/Shine TV)

Phil Daniels talks exclusively to What's On TV

What's On TV: When did you first learn to cook?

Phil Daniels: "I sort of learnt with my partner, Jan (Stevens). When we first got together, she could cook a bit and I started doing a little bit here and there. I’ve learnt as I’ve gone along. These days I like cooking curry and one pot meals. I’ve been to Thailand and Malaysia over the years and I love Asian curries and seafood like prawns and squid. I also love a good steak every now and then."

Phil Daniels in Celebrity MasterChef

The celebrities in heat two of  Celebrity MasterChef are Karen Gibson, Dom Littlewood, Baga Chipz, Phil Daniels and Sam Quek MBE (Image credit: BBC/Shine TV)

Did you know any of the celebs from your heat?

PD: "I’d only met Dom Littlewood before. Baga Chipz remembered me from EastEnders because she’s a big soap fan. We all had a laugh together. Baga Chipz was on tour the same time she was filming MasterChef so she was a slightly manic Baga Chipz!"

Phil Daniels and Baga Chipz in Celebrity MasterChef

Phil Daniels pictured with Baga Chipz who was a finalist on RuPaul's UK Drag Race (Image credit: BBC/Shine TV)

What is your earliest food memory?

PD: "My dad used to go deep sea fishing and was a member of a fishing club when there was still plenty of fish in the sea. He’d always come back with cod and plaice, gut it all on a Sunday night and on a Monday we’d eat grilled fish with chips."

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What’s been your worst ever cooking disaster?

PD: "One of the very first things I cooked was a spaghetti Bolognese and I was so ill afterwards. I was in my early 20s and I haven’t got a clue what I did to it. Maybe I’d just drunk too much and being violently ill was nothing to do with the food!"

Phil Daniels in Celebrity MasterChef

Phil Daniels doing a stint in the restaurant Copper and Ink in South East London as part of the competition (Image credit: BBC/Shine TV)

How did you feel about facing John and Gregg and having your food judged?

PD: "However cool you think you’re going to be, the whole programme is designed to put you under pressure. When you go up with your little plate you’re desperate for them to say, ‘That’s the best chicken I’ve ever tasted!’ instead of ‘Yuk!’"

Did you ever cook for any of your EastEnders co-stars like Linda Henry (who plays Shirley Carter) or Barbara Windsor (Peggy Mitchell)?

PD: "I’d be scared to cook for Linda Henry. Jesus! She’s tough! She’d be a much harsher judge than Gregg or John. They should make Linda a MasterChef judge, she’d sort everyone out!"

Jean Kush and Shirley EastEnders BBC

Linda Henry plays Shirley Carter in EastEnders who was married to Phil Daniel's Walford character, Kevin Wicks

If you could choose one of your heroes to cook for who would you pick and what would you cook?

PD: "Tricky. I’m a big Chelsea fan, so if you got Frank Lampard round and some of the Chelsea boys I’d cook them a nice dinner. My food isn’t exactly for skinny people, the best cooking seems to have a lot of butter in it."

How does doing MasterChef compare to doing Strictly Come Dancing in terms of the pressure you felt under and being judged? (Phil took part in Strictly in 2008 and was the first celeb be voted off)

PD :"Well I was cheated out of that one! MasterChef was more my thing. It’s a tricky one. What happens is they tell you that it’s going to be lots and lots of fun and what a great time you’re going to have, but often you get somewhere and it’s less fun and more hard work and there are more rules than you thought there would be…if I can put it that way!"

Gregg Wallace and John Torode Celebrity MasterChef

MasterChef judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace

What did you learn from doing MasterChef?

PD: "My presentation is still isn’t great but my food is all about the taste. I learnt a few new recipes and tricks from John. I also discovered Gregg was a mod when he was younger and is a huge Quadrophenia fan, he could quote bits from it. He brought in a picture of him from his mod days to show me!"

Celebrity MasterChef continues tonight at 7.30pm on BBC1

Pictures (C) Shine TV

Tess Lamacraft
Senior Writer for What's On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite week, Whattowatch.com

Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.