Rylan Clark-Neal on Ready Steady Cook: ‘It’s like it’s never been away!’

Ready Steady Cook is back, with new host Rylan Clark-Neal inviting contestants to team up with chefs to whip up some tasty culinary creations...

After a 10-year absence away from our screens, TV’s original cookery challenge show Ready Steady Cook is back!

The teatime treat that made household names of Gino D’Acampo, James Martin and Antony Worrall Thompson, among others, returns next week with five brand-new chefs and a new host in the shape of Celebrity MasterChef 2015 finalist and This Morning presenter Rylan Clark-Neal.

In each episode, two contestants will each be paired up with a chef – either Mike Reid, Romy Gill, Akis Petretzikis, Ellis Barrie and Anna Haugh – to face two different taste tests against the clock. In the first challenge, each contestant must cook up a tasty dish in 20 minutes using a bag of ingredients, all bought within a £10 budget.

Ready Steady Cook Rylan and Chefs

Rylan’s all smiles alongside chefs [L-R] Akis, Anna, Romy, Ellis and Mike…

For the second challenge, each pair has just 10 minutes to create more amazing dishes, this time based on randomly selected audience ingredients cards.

As Rylan prepares to utter those immortal words Ready… Steady… Cook! we chatted to the host, 31, to find out more…

Were you a fan of the original Ready Steady Cook, which ran for 21 series from 1994? How does this version compare?

“I was a big fan of this show. I remember coming home from school and Ready Steady Cook would be on the TV waiting for me. But it’s been 10 years since it was on and the world has changed a lot in that time. The show has moved with the times for the better but it’s still got everything that people will know and love about the original series with five brilliant new chefs.”

So what’s new about this series?

“Well, there’s a real focus on sustainability so, for example, we have three bins on set, so that we can make sure food waste and recycling goes where it’s meant to go. Also, all the produce we use is locally sourced, ideally always in-season, and some of the contestants have been making tasty dishes in our 10- and 20-minute challenges using bags of ingredients on a £3.50 budget. We’re aiming to be the most sustainable show on TV. It’s my new obsession.”

Ready Steady Cook Rylan Anna Ep 1

MasterChef 2015 finalist Rylan gives chef Anna a helping hand in the kitchen…

What can you tell us about the five chefs on this show?

“We’re lucky to have Mike Reid, Romy Gill, Akis Petretzikis, Ellis Barrie and Anna Haugh on board this series. All of these chefs are really successful – they’re probably already at the level that chefs like Gino D’Acampo and James Martin achieved from being ON Ready Steady Cook! They too grew up watching this show so, despite their success, many of our chefs are like: ‘Forget about all that. I’m on Ready Steady Cook!'”

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Did former hosts Fern Britton and Ainsley Harriott give you any advice?

“The first person I called was Fern, who I think was more excited about me getting this job than I was! She told me I was gonna love it. I watched it through the Ainsley years and there are lots of nods to Ainsley – such as ‘Percy Pepper’ and ‘Susie Salt’ – throughout. He told me to go out there and make it my own. Hopefully when people watch this, they’ll feel like the show never went away.”

Will we see you get involved in the challenges? And do you get to eat any of the dishes?

“Coming runner-up on MasterChef [in 2015] showed me that I’m not a terrible cook. I’m a workaholic, though, so I never really have the time to cook as much as I want to, so I love getting involved where I can on this show but only if the chefs want me to. Hopefully they’ll say I’m helpful. I’ve been eating everything in sight, I’m like a gannet. I will never be able to wear skinny jeans again!”

Ready Steady Cook airs daily from Monday March 2 at 4.30pm on BBC1.

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