Cookin’ Up A Storm – The Tesco Real Food Challenge + Interview with Carol Vorderman


Image courtesy of Tesco’s.

A few weeks ago I had a mystery phone call from a friend. He had something huge to ask me but I had to keep it secret until it was launched because wow, this was so huge if it got out he’d probably be hung, drawn and quartered, and I would be tossed into a dungeon for crossing the powers that be.

…just kidding. But this was huge and I really couldn’t say anything about it until after the launch. You see, Tesco’s were running a huge recipe competition that was going to be televised later this year and he’d like me to be involved – how could I say no? Even better, I was going to be heading up the Me-Time Meals section with a greatly admired and well-loved British celebrity – the very lovely Carol Vorderman. What’s a girl to do, eh? Clearly get on the blower to Carol for a five-minute chat about all things food.

For the interview with Carol Vorderman, information on the competition and Carol’s recipe, read on…

Put simply, Tesco’s are looking for your best recipe in one of their eight food moods and all you have to do is go ahead and enter your recipe on the Real Food competition website. The recipes will be rated by the public, the most popular ones tested by the Real Food Panel, and then these recipes and their creators will go head-to-head on TV later this year. Exciting, no? Of course!

So it was time to chat to Carol Vorderman a little about food and the competition.

Photo courtesy of Carol Vorderman.

It was a tad surreal waiting for her to call me as I sat at my make-shift desk in the kitchen, staring out at the lock outside my balcony. I couldn’t help but remember all of the days I’d spent as a child watching Countdown and trying to figure out the maths problems (I task I always failed at, but it never stopped me from trying) – she was my maths idol and when I went to my Kumon lessons (a rite of passage for most Asian kids) I secretly fantasised about being just like her when I grew up. How strange to think that many years later, as a young adult, I would be chatting to her about food.

So, without further ado: five minutes with Carol Vorderman!

Me: So Carol, how did you get involved with the Tesco’s competition?
Carol: Well really they asked me! But I was very honest and said, ‘well I don’t really do cooking’… so I’m the anti-cook!

Me: Well your recipe looks fantastic – did you come up with it yourself, then?
Carol: Yes – I had a detox book (Detox For Life) which was very successful about ten years ago, so what I do cook is a lot of vegetables and veggie dishes, that kind of thing, and to be honest I can cook but I won’t cook – I’m more that sort of person! But I’m no Nigella and I can’t be bothered watching cookery shows and all that!

Me: Would you say that you’re more of a disaster than a whizz in the kitchen, then?
Carol: Well I’m not a disaster but… I can have a disaster, yes. I just get so bored! That’s the truth! I put something in a pan and I think, ‘why have I got to stand over it for ten minutes?!’ So I go off – my office is next to my kitchen – and I do a few emails… and of course it’s always burnt by the time I come back! It’s a family joke so my daughter just takes over when I’ve wandered out of the kitchen – she takes over and finishes it all! I can cook, I’m not a disaster but I think when you’re a working mum – and I’ve not just got a career but a business – with two kids, you’re a single parent, mother and all the rest of it… something’s got to give, y’know? And that’s the thing that gives. I can do pasta, I can do a great pasta – quick dishes, I can do.

Me: So then did anybody teach you to cook or did you teach yourself?
Carol: No, because my mum will not cook – my mum does not cook, she refuses! In the 60s I was brought up on fish and chips and… um, that’s all we ate! Fish and chips… and egg with chips from the chippie because in those days, the 1960s, it was the cheapest meal you could have. Then when my mum heard the first ‘ding’ of her first microwave – I think that was in 1979 – that was it! She has an oven she’s never used and she’s lived in the flat for five years!

Me: When you’re in London where’s your favourite place to eat out and what do you have?
Carol: Scott’s Restaurant on Mount Street – they have a lot of fish dishes there. I have the chargrilled squid, that’s really nice. They have it with chorizo… and the soup there is fantastic. It is a fish restaurant though and they do fish beautifully… not surprising, really!

Me: If you could have dinner with anybody in the world, who would it be and why?
Carol: Um… Neil Armstrong. Because of who he is! First man on the moon – gotta be!

Me: What would your last meal be?
Carol: Pasta – something with pasta… beautiful pasta… I would like a huge big bowl plate with about four different kinds of pasta on it. I don’t really eat pasta very often but I do love it – I love it. I’m very much a savoury tooth person, a sweet tooth? Nah. If you said to me, ‘Carol you can never eat chocolate again for the rest of your life,’ it wouldn’t bother me… or cake, or anything like that, but if you said, ‘you can’t drink red wine, you can’t have a curry, you can’t have pasta or bread,’ then I’m in trouble!

Me: Finally then, do you have any tips for the entrants of the competition?
Carol: Yeah, just keep entering because there are some great prizes! They’ll have a great time cooking on telly. Whatever happens you’ll have a great time.

So there you have it! You have until the 29th June, 2011 to enter the competition – get going! And as further incentive, even if you don’t make it onto TV, here are some of the fabulous prizes you can win:
Husky Wine Coolers
Olympus Pen Cameras
A two-night break at Ragdale Hall Health Spa
Entry to the Rosemary Shrager Cookery Course at Swinton Park

Enjoy, and in the meantime be sure to check out Carol’s fabulous veggie stir-fry recipe – it’s definitely one I’ll be making soon!

For further information about the competition and for the competition terms and conditions, see the Tesco Real Food Challenge website.

Well? What are you waiting for? Hopefully see your recipes soon and who knows? Maybe even on TV later this year…

Until next time, peace and love.

Jax x

3 Responses to “Cookin’ Up A Storm – The Tesco Real Food Challenge + Interview with Carol Vorderman”

  1. Brian @ A Thought For Food Says:

    How fun! What a fantastic opportunity and a terrific interview!

  2. Sophia Says:

    Oh man. so cool. Now you know how a reporter feels like…getting to talk to cool people! Though obviously, you’re the coolest of them all. ;-)
    I wish I can catch you on TV…update us on all that’s going on!

  3. Ashley Says:

    So obviously I’m not sure who she is :) But nice interview my friend!

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