Emma Willis: ‘I’m annoyed that I didn’t appreciate my Hollywood handshake’ | Food television

I had never seen a “Hollywood handshake” before having one [on The Great Celebrity Bake Off]. So when he shook my hand, I was like, “Aww, thank you Paul.” Then we filmed afterwards and I realized, “Uh, is that a thing?” Now I’m annoyed because I probably didn’t enjoy it enough. But it was a very firm hand, warm and slightly damp.

You basically eat cookies and Deliveroo when working on a TV show. For instance, Kitchen With the stars Where The voice involve long consecutive days, from 8 a.m. to perhaps 11 p.m. And your closet is full of treats you love and you feel terrible after eating them every day for 10 days. Then you order on Deliveroo and enjoy it in your dressing room, alone during a break. Sorry to shatter the illusion.

When I moved to London to work as a model, I was 17 and couldn’t cook. I had obviously watched my mom at home, so I kind of knew in principle, but I was 17 and couldn’t be a dick, quite frankly. And I remember the girl I was living with asking me, “You don’t eat salad? I used to eat grilled sandwiches or buy frozen chicken burgers and put them in a bun. It would be my dinner. I really don’t know how I survived.

If my children ask, “Please, can we cook?”, I think, “I don’t want to, because I’m going to let it go and you’re going to get mad and come back to lick the bowl at the end.” Then my mommy brain kicks in and I think, “Oh, that’s what you’re supposed to do with your kids.” So I do.

I don’t eat fish, cooked or raw. I blame my mom, because when we were little she would take slices of eggs and fry them in a pan and feed them to us. When I was a kid, it was as disgusting as Brussels sprouts. Now I can’t do anything with a shell or looking at me.

We went to Cornwall for lunch last summer with Jack Stein [guest chef on Cooking With the Stars and son of Rick Stein]. He said, “Shall I order for all of us? And I was like, “Uh, uh, I should probably tell you, I don’t eat fish.” And it was at the Seafood Restaurant. He didn’t know until we arrived. But he thinks it’s great fun, he laughs at me.

I picked up some things of [presenting] Cooking with the stars. I realized that I was overcooking the vegetables. And, the other day, someone on the show microwaved some asparagus. They cooked it perfectly: it was the chef’s little trick. So there’s been this big debate about what you can cook in the microwave. Why not you ? It’s not a dirty word. We all have them in our kitchens, don’t pretend you don’t have them.

Pastry shop paints a very good picture of my skill level. I always think I’m average at everything I try to do. What I think is good is taking direction. If you tell me what to do, I can do it. It may not be brilliant, but I can handle it. And that’s what I did on Pastry shop: I scraped through. Also I eat a lot of cake. When we had to make madeleines, and some people were like, “What the hell is that?” I thought, “Oh, I know what this is. They are wonderful !

my favorite things

Food
Indian cuisine. My favorite order is the chicken pathia with paneer saag, cauliflower bhaji, rice and papadoms with all the dips.

Beverage
I very rarely drink alcohol, but if I do, I’ll go for a pornstar martini. It doesn’t really taste like alcohol, does it? And M&S makes a great one in a box called a passion fruit martini and it’s really delicious. So I’m going to put a few cans and pour them into a fancy glass so they look real.

place to eat
The Deli in my hometown, Sutton Coldfield. He does a very small menu and changes the theme every week. It’s not expensive, the atmosphere is nice and you can take the kids and stay there all night.

Meal to make
I like to make a really good salad. Because salads can be pretty boring, right? But I get a lot more adventurous with my dressings, and if you have a good salad, you can add anything to it.

Cooking With The Stars is on ITV, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

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