Russell Grant Interview

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I am really worried about cooking Marco style. I am workers caff. I am greasy spoon, Wimbledon theatre darling, and spag bowl.”


Astrologer and actor Russell Grant admits that the one reason for doing the show was to cook with his favourite TV chef.


“I have turned down lots of other cookery shows, but to me Marco is a hero.  I love watching him on the telly. He’s just a great guy.  He is also born in December, and I get on very well with Sagittarians.  I love their optimism and inspirational value, and he’s all those things.


“But he can also be very formidable. Especially when he gives us the look of death!”


This time last year Russell couldn’t even think about dashing around Marco’s kitchen, keeping up with the high-speed turnover of meals for 25 diners. He was fighting his own battles with food.


“I was nearly 24 stone, and I’m only short, about five foot six. I couldn’t even walk a few yards without using a stick. All the weight I’d lost in Celebrity Fit Club a few years earlier, I’d put on, again…and more.


“It came to the point, I had to do something because there were so many good things happening to me astrologically. So I started my diet on a new moon, and then basically each day looked at the aspects. I found that good aspects were bad for a diet because you thought you could eat anything. And the bad aspects were challenging, but good for a diet.


“I started to eat more little and often, have breakfasts which I’d never eaten before, give up bread because I had a yeast allergy, eat my main meal at lunch time each day, and stop eating after 6pm.


“Over a year I lost seven and a half stone.  My relationship with food is much more sensible now. It’s changed my life completely and means that all this is now possible. I am totally thrilled.”


Back home in Wales, Russell loves cooking for friends and family in his designer kitchen.


“I cook ‘school dinners’. People who love partridge and fondant potatoes can go to Marco. For your roast beef, Yorkshire puds, gravy, and eggs and bacon they can come to me.


“I am really worried about cooking Marco style. I am workers caff, I am Wimbledon theatre greasy spoon, darling, and spag bowl.”


At the start of his TV career, there is one dinner party that Russell would rather forget.


“The worst thing I ever did was when I followed a recipe for a curry which called for hard boiled eggs to be placed in the middle of the rice. But it didn’t say anything about taking off the shells, and all I could hear was my two friends crunching their way through these eggs. I never saw them again!”


His most memorable meals are those cooked by his two beloved grandmothers.


“It was my grandmothers who taught me to cook. My nanny Lilly used to make the most wonderful comfort food. The best thing she did was fry ups – most delicious fried bread eve and roasts. And my nanny Alice made the best pastries and apple pies and the best roast lamb. “


Most of all he is hoping to learn a few tricks of the trade from Marco, and see how the other half eat.


“I will be asking Marco for help, which I know will lose me some points, but I would much rather diners go away happy. It would upset me greatly if they had to go to McDonalds afterwards. “


He’s even checked out the planets to see what the future holds.


“What I do know is that this is one of the heaviest weeks, astrologically revealing chinks in our armour. So it’s going to be a difficult week for everyone. It’s an important week for us to play to our strengths.


“The problem is I’m not very competitive. I love being here with my new friends, and at the moment, we are all being jokey.“


He is thrilled that Marco has already given him a giant pat on the back.


“He said I got his Maitre d’ vote and that if he had a restaurant he would want me as the perfect person for front of house. It was a huge compliment.”


So far, Russell has managed to avoid the temptation of chocolate desserts in Marco’s kitchen.


“In the past, I wouldn’t have been able to resist them. My weakness is cheese and chocolate. But I have fought my demons, and had a change of attitude. I’ll eat what I want now and throw the rest away.”


As for fancy cooking…Marco style.


“I’ll pick up a few tips from him, and might be a bit dainty at times and do something spectacular with a pudding for my next dinner party. But I don’t think people who come to me want to be surprised by cordon bleu. They want wholesome food.”


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