Lorraine Pascale on judging Sky Living’s My Kitchen Rules: “We took it in turns to be Simon Cowell”

"Everyone thought I would be 'good cop' but Jason Atherton and I took it in turns to be the Simon Cowell figure" says the TV chef of her new show


How do you wake up?


I like silence in the morning. I’ll hit the snooze button 18 times, realise I’m really late and stress. So it normally goes: shower, hair, make-up, no time to make the bed and no breakfast.

How do you wind down?

Escape to the Country. It provides a nice escape from the madness of London. I’m from the Cotswolds and go down there a lot to see family and friends but I’m getting to the point where I would love to spend more time in the country… I sound like I’m 80!

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I watch a lot of EastEnders. I like to do an iPlayer omnibus at the weekends.

As an ex-model, were you tempted to tune into The Face?

If that’s how modelling is now, I’m glad I’m not a model any more. I wouldn’t have got anywhere. There was a shoot in America’s Next Top Model where the girls were told: “Unless you let us put a tarantula on your face, you’re never going to be a model.” I would have said, “OK then, I’ll never be a model – goodbye!”

What was the last cookery programme you tuned into?

The only one I’ve watched recently is MasterChef: the Professionals. It was really inspiring to see what some of these young chefs come up with, especially when they only have a few ingredients.

Would you ever do Splash! or Strictly Come Dancing?

I would never do anything like that. I couldn’t do Strictly because I’m too clumsy and I couldn’t do Splash! because I’m afraid of heights. Maybe Big Brother – but I would probably be voted out on the first day because I’m not good in small spaces with lots of people.

What was it like being on the other side of the fence and a judge in My Kitchen Rules?

Great. Everyone thought I would be “good cop” but Jason [Atherton] and I took it in turns to be the Simon Cowell figure. I’m very straight-talking but I try to be positive so as not to demoralise. I’m no Gregg Wallace though!

You have a new BBC cookery series in the pipeline. Anything else?

I’m doing a documentary for Foster Care Fortnight in May about what it’s like to foster or be fostered. I’ll be talking about my experience and to the people who fostered me. It’s basically to encourage more people to come forward because there are lots of children who need fostering and a shortfall of 9,000 carers in the UK.

Who should play you in the film of your life?

I’ll have to be really egocentric and say me. I studied acting in New York before I got caught up in the whirlwind of modelling. It’s still something I’d consider if there were a small, gritty, off-the-wall role that was very different.

TV dinner of choice?

Pizza. If it’s a good day, I’ll make some dough. If it’s a day when I’m feeling lazy, I’ve always got a shop-bought one in the freezer.

My Kitchen Rules starts tonight at 9:00pm on Sky Living