Carol Smillie Interview

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Predominantly I am happier with a power tool in my hand doing DIY, than a wooden spoon, cooking.”


Scottish TV presenter Carol Smillie, 48, reveals she agreed to a role swap with her restaurateur husband. At home, he did the cooking, and she did the DIY.


“I suppose it was a bit unusual, but predominantly I am happier with a power tool in my hand doing DIY, than a wooden spoon cooking.


“My husband used to do most of the meals, but then got in a bit of a strop about it, and said it wasn’t fair. Now we split the cooking and DIY between us.


“So I am hoping on Marco’s Kitchen Burnout, I will learn to cook.”


She admits that she is not at her most relaxed in a kitchen, and wonders how she will fare under Marco’s gaze.


“I can get riled and easily distracted, although if I’ve got all the ingredients in front of me, I will be happy to have a play with them.


“It’s not that I dislike cooking. I would describe myself as an adequate cook. I just get bored with it.


“I’ve suggested to my girlfriends that once a week we should go to each other’s houses and make something for each other’s families. The same boring old stuff we make every week for our own family, won’t be boring to theirs.”


Now she wants to see if she can pep up her dishes, with a few sizzling ingredients from Marco.


“From what I have been told, he’s not in the business of tearing us off a strip because he is only here to advise us.


“If he does tell us off, how I would react would depend if I deserved it. I can’t be bothered with this ‘humiliation’ nonsense. It’s so ridiculous.  I would probably laugh, which is possibly the worst thing I could do!


“Most professional chefs tend to be egotistical maniacs. They are the king of their own castle. Fair enough. But we are not chefs. My husband has four restaurants, but he is not a chef, and has never cooked in one. And I have no experience in a restaurant kitchen whatsoever. So this is all new for me.”


She has already bonded with her first-round competitors, Russell Grant and Alex Ferns.


“I am most worried about being the first off of the three. The trouble is that we are getting on so well, no one wants to go.


“But my biggest fear is people leaving the restaurant because the food is so inedible. The maximum amount of people I’ve ever cooked for is ten, and that would have been a big roast, not lots of different dishes.


Growing up in Glasgow, Carol, a former model, has her own childhood memories of inedible food.


“I was raised with very Presbyterian Scottish cooking with no seasoning and soggy veg that makes you feel sick.


“There is family folk law at home that I don’t eat green vegetables. I was force fed them as a child. And I hated them.


“So I perfected a technique for avoiding them. At dinner, I’d be sitting next to the fridge. And as the youngest of four, no one really listens to what you have to say. So when no one was looking, I would fire my green veg down the back of the fridge. And tightly pack peas into the side of my mouth, which I would spit out when I excused myself to go to the toilet half way through the meal.


“Unfortunately over time, the fridge broke down from the weight of rotting veg behind it. The guy came to fix it, and when dad pulled it out, there it all was. I am surprised we didn’t have rats the size of dogs.”


Since those days, she has learned to make vegetables more palatable in soups and stir frying them.


“I have to eat vegetables in front of my children or I wouldn’t be a good mother.  But I would rather pull out my finger nails than eat brussel sprouts.”


Cooking for three children, Christie, 14, Robbie, 12 and Jodie, 10, she doesn’t give in to fussy eating. Despite the fact that her elder daughter is following in her mother’s footsteps as a model.


“At 14, I would hate her to worry about food. I have never dieted in my life, or watched what I have eaten. Subconsciously, whether you like it or not, if you worry about your weight, you will pass it on to your children.


“I tend to like picky food like Thai or Chinese because you can try a bit of everyone else’s and that is socially acceptable.”


What she’s looking forward to most in Marco’s kitchen is a sense of achievement.


“I’m after the sweet taste of success. It would be unbelievable if I won. I have never won anything in my life. Mind you, if I do, I could be making a rod for my own back. I might never be allowed out of the kitchen by my husband again!”



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