When Lisa Faulkner won Celebrity Masterchef last year it was to be the start of quite a transformation for the actress.
And now as we see her back on our screens offering judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace her thoughts on the amateur contestants’ offerings, we caught up with the sometime TV cook and recipe-book author to find out her family food secrets and whether going out with a MasterChef judge puts the pressure on.
“Celebrity MasterChef made me more adventurous without doubt,” Lisa says. “On the programme they throw you in at the deep end and the challenges meant I had to cook in working restaurants, the Orient Express and in a Chateux in Paris.
“Since the show I’ve cooked in restaurants, done pop ups, cooked charity dinners as well as writing two books and demo-ing at cookery shows. That has to make you want to be more inventive with your recipes.”
The former Holby City actress has kept her relationship with John Torode out of the media as much as possible, making few references to the budding romance. But since the pair started dating in 2012 Lisa’s admitted that as soon as the word ‘MasterChef’ is involved, she feels the pressure of cooking for the chef.
“I put pressure on myself whenever I cook for people because I want people to love everything I cook, so from writing my books, to creating recipes for Boursin and cooking for friends, I always want my food to be the best it can ever be,” she says.
“Having said that, cooking a dish on stage at the BBC Good Food Show recently against Shelina - John and Greg were both judging us again and that was quite stressful!”
Looking back to the show she remembers: “Cooking pear seven ways was extraordinarily difficult. I broke down and it was the most awful day.
“I had worked so hard to make it alright and there was an issue with the translation of the recipe and I was gutted.”
Lisa’s recent cookbook was dedicated to her daughter Billie and recalled her mum, who passed away very young, and her love of cooking.
“My mum passed away when I was 16 but my influences and food memories are from growing up and of her food being part of family life.
“I still remember the chink of her wedding ring on her rolling pin.
“Taking part in Celebrity MasterChef was a steep learning curve and since then working in kitchens has given me incredible technical experience but my mother’s influences of creating dishes that are for family and friends to share and enjoy is the main part of all my recipe creations.”
For her daughter, her go-to dish midweek is simple pasta and thought her food’s first about flavour, she does all she can to ensure whatever she cooks is healthy.
“Flavour always comes first but it’s easy to use healthy processes and still have great tasting food. Using rapeseed oil for example, or anchovies or olives instead of salt, herbs for flavour are just some ways that I make sure my food is healthy as well as tasty.“
And luckily for Lisa, Billie’s scrunch up her nose food is chips.
“She’s also not the biggest fan of salmon or fish but she does like my fish cakes! She loves food so I’m really lucky that I don’t have too much of a problem with getting her to eat food.
“She loves cooking with me, she has her own knife that she’s allowed to use and helps me all the time. When I’m cooking at home, she’s usually with me.”
Especially for Boursin, Lisa Faulkner has created a range of quick and easy recipes using the indulgent cheese; from a tomato, onion & chive tart to wild mushroom fettuccine with garlic & herb sauce. Please click here to see the full collection: www.boursin.co.uk.