Celebrity MasterChef is back for another series, with a new host of celebrities hoping to be crowned this year’s champion. One of those celebrities is So Macho singer and best pals with Simon Cowell, Sinitta.
It’s hard to think that it was a year ago that Rylan made John Torode and Gregg Wallace his very own Happy Meal; burger, chips, nuggets and a toy.
Sinitta will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow popstar Kimberley Wyatt who was crowned Celebrity MasterChef champion 2015. So I caught up with her to find out more about her Celebrity MasterChef experience.
Here’s what she had to say…
Is this the first time you’ve been asked to be on Celebrity MasterChef?
No! I’ve been asked many many times and have always said no, because I thought you had to be an amazing chef to do it. Then I realised, that actually they teach you to cook, so I didn’t have to already know.
Is that the main reason you said yes?
Yes, when I realised it wasn’t about being some amazing chef who’s going to show off their skills, and that I would learn something, I was like OK, I’ll do it.
Would you say you’re a good cook? We’ve obviously seen you on Come Dine With Me…
Haha! Oh you saw that… Erm, I would say that I’m a good basic cook. But, I’m not a gourmet chef. I don’t do anything fancy, I have a couple of fancy dishes that I do for dinner parties, but they take a few hours to make.
So it’s very different when you have to do it for a competition. I would say I’m not an amazing cook, but I;’m a good basic cook. I mate great salads, I can do a Sunday roast, I can do crispy duck pancakes, things like that.
But they take time and they don’t give you a lot of time on MasterChef, you get an hour!
What was it like the first time you walked into the MasterChef kitchen?
Well firstly, I was really ill. I had this horrible horrible flu, so I was on a lot of medication, and that calmed my nerves a bit.
But it was just surreal walking in there, and the first thing we do is be given some crazy challenge. I was petrified.
How did you find John Torode and Gregg Wallace?
I thought they were really friendly and really charming. But I was very nervous, because it’s a serious show, and I found it difficult to be serious about it because I’m someone who gets silly when I’m nervous.
I laugh, it’s almost like tourettes, where I start laughing because I’m either going to laugh or cry, so I don’t know if they thought I was taking it seriously until they saw that I was really trying hard.
What did you find the hardest?
Just being told to cook things and not having been taught how to cook it first. I wasn’t expecting that. I thought I’d get a whole tutorial and it’s all about paying attention and being able to replicate what you’ve been taught.
So as you can imagine, when you think you’re going to be taught how to do something first, and instead you’re just given it and told to cook it, it freaked me out a bit!
So how did you overcome that? Where did you get your ideas from?
(Laughs) Out of my crazy imagination! I just tried to think, well you know what, I’ve eaten in beautiful restaurants all over the world, I know what a dish looks like, so I kind of did it like that.
I went on visuals so I thought I’d just create something that looks like something I’ve been served before. That was my method.
Who else is in your heat?
Donna Air, Marcus Butler who’s amazing, Tommy Cannon and Alexis Conran. We had lots of guys, there’s only two girls in our heat.
Everyone’s really good actually, and taking it very seriously. Thankfully everyone got on really well, were really nice to each other and try to give each other tips and things.
Did you see anyone as a threat?
They all had very different styles of cooking, so there was no one who I thought wad doing something similar to me, or otherwise. So I didn’t really see anyone as a threat.
Everyone cooked really well.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve taken away from your MasterChef experience?
I do have dinner parties and cook for friends, but I have more time. I can prepare all day and then cook as long as is necessary.
I would say I’m a bit more confident now and I’d say I learnt more in the restaurant challenges, because as I said, surprisingly MasterChef is not about teaching you how to cook. It’s about showing off what you know how to cook, which was like my worst nightmare.
The restaurant challenges were really good fun and i understand how a restaurant kitchen works. Getting all the different courses synchronised to be ready on time, how to present the food etc. That was really good fun. I could work in a restaurant now.
Do you have a better understanding/more respect for what goes on behind the scenes at a restaurant now?
Oh yes, definitely. I understand why they get upset when you complain about the food as well. It is bedlam in the kitchen when it’s lunch time or dinner time and they’ve got all those orders to fulfil.
It’s a really stressful environment.
Will we be seeing any outrageous outfits in the kitchen?
I’m going to try and be a bit stylish, but again, I don’t think the chef’s really appreciated some of the outfits I tried to do. I tried to do a matching little number with matching shoes, and there was a look of distain because you’re supposed to wear ugly black crocs in the kitchen.
So I don’t think they really care about all that, and then they cover you all up with the big chef whites!
Celebrity MasterChef returns Wednesday 22nd June on BBC One