What’s the heat really like in the Celebrity MasterChef kitchen?

Tasty pizza

With Celebrity MasterChef series 14 on our screens here at Mecca, we caught up with 2 former Celebrities who took part in the show; TV actress Tina Malone and England Cricketing legend Monty Panesar. Here’s what they had to tell us about their experiences on the show and who they think will win this season of Celebrity MasterChef…

Tina Malone

Tina Malone

Could you cook before Celebrity MasterChef?

Do bears **** in the woods?! Ha ha! I’m a very precious cook actually. In fact, if 10 people said to me “Your acting is rubbish or you’re not funny”, I could laugh it off, but if 1 person said “I don’t think much of your Banoffee pie.” I would curl up and cry my eyes out. I pride myself on my cooking.

What goes on behind the scenes at Celebrity Masterchef?

Not really much that you don’t see. We are all in a hotel together though and I hung out with Sid Owen from Eastenders, we had a ball. We had no tips or hints from anyone on what we would be doing each day. It’s a very fast, slick and well organised show, but you don’t know anything until you’re on set, pinny on, ready to go. So, if people think we are pre-told anything, we aren’t.

Were you nervous?

Yes, everyone is nervous to be honest, although I knew I didn’t stand a chance of winning because we had a great bunch of Celebs including Alexis Conran, Louise Minchin and Sid Owen. It’s nerve wracking because you can’t prepare, train or practice. You’re just told “do this in this time” – and off you go! It’s invigorating, but scary.

Have you got a favourite dish?

I have a few certain signature dishes. I tend to keep things simple and traditional. If it’s Greek, I do Moussaka. Spanish, I cook Paella. Italian, lasagne, Indian, a nice curry. It’s all about taste, quality and ingredients. I use garlic and turmeric in everything. I swear that’s why I heal quick and never get ill. I put chocolate in my lasagne and chilli too, there’s a secret for you.

Do you have a lucky charm?

I don’t have a lucky charm but I’ve had OCD since childhood so I have rituals before going on stage, on set – whatever I’m about to do – but I’m not saying what they are. Several cast members have watched me in the wings and are probably thinking ‘what is she doing, the weirdo!’

Did anyone drop their food or make a mistake?

Nobody dropped any food but it’s so quick, fast and frantic with long hours. Some mistakes were made, it’s inevitable. It’s hard when you have to go out and cook for 80 people in a posh restaurant in London or for 120 Virgin staff at Gatwick. I tried to bum a couple of 1st class returns to New York as my food went down the best, but no joy. They weren’t taking me up on my blatant hints!

Anything we didn’t see on camera?

I’ve got to say John and Greg did comment saying nobody had ever finished on time with every dish complete and pans cleaned before. With my OCD, I always cleaned every single thing, that helped impress them too.

Who do you think will win this year?

I think maybe Razor Ruddock – as long as he doesn’t forget part of the meal like he’s done before with nearly missing the chips, ha! But I think he’s done really well so far.

Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar

Can you tell us what happens behind the scenes?

We relaxed on the sofa and talked about our recipes and how nervous we all felt. There was so much nervous energy flying around that I got nervous too. You don’t really think about what you’re about to do until you’re all sitting in one room getting ready.

Do you have a secret recipe you can share or a cooking tip?

I do have some great recipes but they’re my Mum’s – so I can’t share, sorry!

Did you have a lucky charm?

Nope, I‘m a great cook, generally, I think – so I didn’t need a lucky charm. I just try my hardest at everything I do and hope that is good enough.

Were there any funny moments you can share from your series?

I cooked an omelette in one show without putting any oil on the frying pan. Gosh! That’s what pressure does to you though on the show. It was a nightmare and such a simple thing to forget.

Who did you really get on with in your series and why?

Gemma Collins because we both sat on the sofa after filming and complained about the mutual mental fatigue. It really was hard you put a lot of pressure on yourself to do well.

Can you tell us something fun we might not have seen on camera?

In one episode I left my mousse in the cooling fridge too long and it went too stiff. I don’t think it was in any mousse state at the end!

Who do you think might win this year and why?

Razor Ruddock because he’s got good cooking skills, he loves his food – and let’s not forget his accent! I think he’s got this.


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