Dame Mary Berry has sound advice for the stars battling it out on Celebrity Best Home Cook… watch those timings!
The aprons are on, the pans are sizzling and a host of famous faces are starting to feel the heat… as they roll their sleeves up in the kitchen in a bid to prove they’re the Celebrity Best Home Cook.
In a twist on the popular BBC1 culinary series, this third outing sees 10 stars from the worlds of TV, comedy and sport cook their hearts out and serve up tasty food that they hope will impress a trio of formidable judges: Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett, produce expert Chris Bavin and, of course, Dame Mary Berry.
There’s two shows each week and, as with the previous two series, each episode will consist of three challenges: The Ultimate, set by Mary; The Rustle Up, set by Chris; and The Eliminator, set by Angela. As the celebrities’ nerves are tested to the limit, they can rely on some socially-distanced support from host, Claudia Winkleman.
These celebrities are stars in their own fields - but can they cook? We chatted to Dame Mary, 85, to find out…
Celebrity Best Home Cook sees 10 famous faces battle it out in the kitchen. What do the celebrities have to do to impress you and your fellow judges, Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett and produce expert Chris Bavin?
Mary Berry: "For me, a great celebrity home cook is someone who is passionate about cooking at home and maybe has a hidden talent! The celebrities should cook from the heart. And keep an eye on the time - if they don’t finish there is nothing for us judge!"
Among the celebrities taking part are Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati, former MP Ed Balls and ex-Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas. What can viewers expect to see this series? And do you have any time-saving tips for the celebrities?
Mary Berry: "Viewers will see enthusiastic celebrities with good cooking skills and they gain experience, getting better week by week. And there’s lots of surprises! I’d tell the celebrities to make a plan before you start and get organised. And put the oven on - some celebrities may forget this!"
We’ve all been cooking more at home over the last 12 months - what have you been cooking that’s been a hit?
"I’ve been making things for today and freezing half for the following week, as it’s only my husband and I at home in lockdown. I love to cook using home-grown produce from our kitchen garden."
How do you think this past year has changed home cooking? And do you think the last 12 months have altered the nation’s relationship with food?
"This last 12 months has taught us all to use what’s in the fridge and store cupboard and to adapt if something wasn’t available. Shopping once a week is a great lesson in not wasting food. I hope this situation has made us more appreciative of what’s around us locally and that continues."
What has been the best lockdown cookery outcome for you? And name a dish that would win your household over?
"The best thing has been planning the week’s meals ahead. It has to be the perfect Sunday roast. Every element on the plate should be the best of its best and it’s a time for family, to be together, relaxed and enjoying the food as much as the company."
If you were made of three ingredients, what would they be?
"Mmm, that’s rather a strange question… but I’d have to say sugar and spice and all things nice!"
If you could only eat one particular meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
"Toasted sourdough, unsalted butter and homemade marmalade with a chilled glass of white wine. Nutritionally not great - but it keeps me going!"
Celebrity Best Home Cook starts on Tuesday January 26, continuing Wednesday 27 at 9pm on BBC1.
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