We caught up with her to talk about how an old friend from the soap is like an aunty to her kids and how her footballer husband Harry Kewell helped her prepare for the show…
How did you feel before going on
“I was so nervous you wouldn’t believe! The production company tell you nothing, you don’t know who the other celebrities are going to be until you turn up on the day and you don’t meet the judges until you walk into the kitchens! The nerves were unreal.”
Have you always been a big MasterChef fan?
“I’ve watched MasterChef for years! I like all of them. It was so surreal walking into the kitchen for the first time. It was so bizarre, I just wanted to laugh, thinking how did I get here?”
Have you always wanted to be on the show?
“When my agent asked if I wanted to be on it I was a little bit apprehensive. I like cooking and I like baking, but I’m not a confident cook, I don’t really cook for people apart from my kids. But my agent convinced me to do it and I’m glad because I had a great time.”
How did you handle the tasks in the first episode?
“The invention test was difficult. We were given random ingredients and told to create something, but when they showed us the food we had to use I didn’t even know what kind of meat we’d been given. I had to ask someone.”
Is your husband, ex Liverpool and Australia football star Harry Kewell, good in the kitchen?
“Yes, Harry loves cooking. He’s a bit more adventurous than me and will get the kids to try new stuff, whereas I’ll just give them what I know they’ll eat.”
Did you test out some of your dishes on him before going on the show?
“Yes, he got really involved and he didn’t hold back when I practised my dishes on him – which caused a few arguments! He’s really competitive and I know he just wanted me to do well so it was fine. We kind of went through the experience together and I think he secretly wishes he was doing it.”
Did you tell him how you were getting on during the series?
“It was so secretive and you’re not supposed to tell anyone anything about what was going on, but I had to tell Harry. He’d know I’d done a challenge and he’d text me and be waiting by the phone patiently to see how I’d got on. He was so into it.”
Did you get on with the other celebrities in your heat?
“Yes, everyone was lovely and we really helped each other a lot. I’m in touch with them now still as well. So I picked up lots of cooking tips and made lots of new friends.”
How did you get on with Masterchef judges Greg Wallace and John Torode?
“They were great and really encouraging. They wanted us to get as much out of it as possible.”
You’ve been in Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and also Neighbours – you must love the soaps?
“Yeah, I love all of them and still watch them all the time! My kids are at that age now when they really enjoy them. That’s handy because it means I don’t have to sneak away and watch them any more – we can watch them together!
Are you still in contact with your friends at Emmerdale?
“I’m still really good friends with Charley Webb, who plays Debbie Dingle, and she’s always in our house so she’s like an aunty to the kids. They love watching her on the TV, too, so they always tune in to watch her. Also it’s nice to see how everyone’s doing!”