Career chameleon Lorraine Pascale’s latest guise sees her judging Sky Living’s new cookery competition, My Kitchen Rules, with Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton.
The model cook talks about coping with criticism, her favourite dishes and the secret of dinner party success.
Lorraine Pascale knows a fair few things about criticism.
The model-turned-TV chef was once, accused of breaking a customer’s pearly whites with a vanilla cupcake sold in her shop, The Cupcake Bakehouse, in London.
But the 41-year-old wasn’t about to give up because of one disgruntled punter.
“I thought, ‘You need to get your teeth sorted if they break after eating frosting on a cupcake.
“People have said things about my food and my books, but it’s all about not believing the good and not believing the bad and staying in the middle,” adds Pascale, who has a teenage daughter, Ella, and dipped her toe in hypnotherapy and car mechanics before pursuing a food career.
These words may prove some comfort to the contestants in Pascale’s new Sky Living cooking competition, My Kitchen Rules.
The 10-part series will see Pascale and Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton judge dishes made by six pairs of amateur cooks in their own homes, with the winning couple scooping £25,000.
Pascale, known for her BBC Two cookery shows like Baking Made Easy and Home Cooking Made Easy, is adamant that she and Atherton should remain objective and not allow emotions to get the better of them.
“It’s about being constructive,” says the famous foodie, of judging the six pairs of contestants who’ll be representing different UK regions.
“As a viewer, you’ll see if something doesn’t look good, so if we’re saying, ‘Oh, that looks nice’, you’d be at home saying, ‘Well, it doesn’t from where I’m sitting.’
“It’s just about being honest, not being unnecessarily harsh and giving the contestants feedback that they can hopefully take away and use.”
To impress Pascale, she likes her grub to have a “lot of texture, taste and a sense of theatre when it’s presented”.
And there’s one meal she especially loves to eat with her family and friends: “I do like a medium-cooked steak with bearnaise sauce and chunky chips.”
While it remains to be seen if any of the contestants manage the Holy Grail of impressing both Atherton and Pascale, the former model was chuffed to learn some unexpected advice from one of the budding foodie pairs.
“There was a couple from Liverpool who were young, talented and funny. They showed me how to make your hair really big, which they achieve by putting their heads down and using lots of hairspray.”
Despite not throwing too many “lavish dinner parties” herself, Pascale has a grounded approach to dining success.
“If someone’s cooking for me, I just eat it,I don’t criticise or judge. It’s not all about the food. It’s about connecting and talking to people.”