Interview: Desiree Burch On Celebrity Best Home Cook

Interview: Desiree Burch On Celebrity Best Home Cook

London-based American comedian/storyteller Desiree Burch is in the line-up for the new BBC series, Celebrity Best Home Cook. The other famous faces donning the Best Home Cook apron for the first time are reality TV star Ferne McCann; broadcaster and former Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls; Don’t Take My Baby and Years And Years actor Ruth Madeley; Celebs Go Dating’s Tom Read Wilson; Coronation Street and Doctor Who actor Shobna Gulati; CBBC presenter and Strictly contestant Karim Zeroual; journalist and presenter Rachel Johnson; comedian and presenter Ed Byrne; and former Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas.

Here Desiree Burch talks about her culinary past, celery, raisin and how her flat doesn't seem to have a functioning extractor fan.

Celebrity Best Home Cook, Tuesdays from January 26, 9pm, BBC One.


Hello Desiree, what is your home cooked signature dish? And how did it come about?

It’s a wonderous dessert monstrosity called Monkey Bread that’s basically a bundt tin baked mountain of cinnamon rolls. I tend do to desserts for dinner parties or holidays, and found a recipe for this in my 20s. After bringing it to a Friendsgiving dinner one year, it became routinely requested well into my 30s among friend gatherings.

Claudia, Mary, Chris and Angela are coming to your house for dinner, what’s on the menu?

Probably something not particularly British. It’s easier to be impressed if it’s not something you normally eat. Possibly just a simple grilled salmon with some roasted vegetables. I like to focus on pudding, so there’d be a sweet pie of some sort to top it all off.

What is your earliest memory of home cooking. Who was it with, and what did you make?

It would have been Saturday morning breakfast as a kid. Spam, eggs and fried potatoes. That breakfast was on point for years!

Tell us about a home cooking disaster?

As none of the extractor fans work in my flat (or from what I can tell, a good chunk of the building) I definitely have set off the smoke alarm MANY TIMES - once around 1am while practicing for this show!

How are you going to impress the judges?

I think I am going to try to choose things that are challenging but interesting to me, because cooking is a process of adventure and discovery, but I am going to work to make sure all those things have flavour because, at the end of the day, I think flavour reigns supreme. I hope I’ll be able to deliver on that, and that the judges want to come along for the ride.

What can viewers look forward to from you in this competition?

Flavour for sure. Hopefully fun as well. Or at least a lot of comic frustration.

It’s late, you’ve just come home after a long day - what’s your go to, ready in a flash meal?

A chicken and veg stir-fry over rice.

Tell us about your best maverick ingredient?

Just recently have been using a lot more celery in everything. I used to think this was something boring to put peanut butter on for a kids snack or to use once a year in Thanksgiving stuffing, but I’ve come to appreciate how powerful and distinctive a flavour it is, and just want to have it with everything.

Tell us about your worst ingredient or any foods you really don’t like?

I do not like raisins. Ugh. Boring, insidiously insipid. In too many things as an afterthought. There are very few things that contain raisins that I have a bite of and don’t think, this would have been better without the raisins.

We’ve all been cooking more at home over the last 12 months, what have you been cooking that’s been a hit? And what have you learnt that you love about home cooking?

Dude! Cornbread! I don’t think this one happens in the UK, but it’s something I remembered from the States that we generally have around the holidays. It can go sweet or savoury in a snap and satisfies that need for bread, dessert, etc.. What I love about home cooking is the dance around the kitchen to the music in your head that hopefully makes the food taste better - though the best part of home cooking is sharing it with someone else.

If you were made of three ingredients, what would they be and why?

Mussels, because the name is funny, so sort of clever, and the food is good for your brain, and I can relate to all these things.

Bone broth, because I am the hot new trend that was always around here being good for you.

And nuts, because, obviously!

If you could bring one dish over here from home, what would it be and why? Or alternatively which dish have you sampled here that you wish they served in LA?

Honestly, I wish black pudding was a thing in the States. It sounds gross, but it’s so so yummy. I mean, you could definitely find it at a British-themed restaurant, but it’s not a thing you’re gonna buy in the frozen food section to have at home. Which is sad.

What would it mean to you to be crowned Celebrity Best Home Cook?

It would mean something had gone terribly wrong in the competition and perhaps even in Britain.


Interview suppled by BBC




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