Posted by Louise in November's Magazine
Some of you will recognise Jacquie from a recent episode of Channel 4’s ‘Come Dine with Me’. She was the bubbly, ‘feisty’ – as Heat Magazine labelled her in their TV section – contestant who had no toilet seat and turned her Hollandaise sauce into scrambled eggs. If you were watching the X-Factor results on the other side and missed it all, you can still watch it on Channel 4 On Demand I caught up with her a week later to find out more…
You not only cooked for complete strangers, it was also televised to over one million viewers. What was the appeal?
Every year I have a couple of New Year resolutions. Usually to appear on ‘Come Dine with Me’ and get an allotment; both came true in the same year! I’m a real foodie, I love entertaining, and there’s always been a wee superstar in me trying to get out. I once auditioned to be a weather girl on the Big Breakfast but the audition went really badly.
Part of the reason for going on ‘Come Dine With Me’ was to win the prize money, which I planned to donate to the Edinburgh hospital radio station Red Dot Radio. I’m a DJ there and also their new press and fundraising manager.
How did you come up with your menu?
You are given £125 to buy all the food and wine. You’d be surprised how much you end up spending especially when you have to buy all the wine. For my starter of Thai beef salad, I followed a recipe of Gordon Ramsay’s from the ‘F Word’. The pickled ginger was a last minute addition, which unfortunately didn’t go down very well with the other contestants. The Salmon Coulibiac was a Delia Smith recipe, which I’d made many times before. Due to copyright reasons, I had to modify it. I decided to serve it with Hollandaise sauce, which I’d never made before. I thought I could just wing it. The ice bowl and dry ice effect for my dessert were my own creations, along with the ice cream, but I took inspiration from Raymond Blanc for the summer berries.
What did you think of your fellow contestants?
I’ve got quite an open mind and don’t judge people too quickly. Four nights doesn’t really give you a chance to get to know someone. The filming also gets in the way there’s lots of stopping and starting with each of us being taken away to comment on one another’s food. Coranne was a glamorous, smart, intelligent woman. Gordon was very entertaining. And Terry – well I really liked him actually – he was very down to earth and natural.
Did you mind losing to Coranne?
I thought Gordon should have won. He put in the most effort and had the best quality ingredients. I found Coranne’s venison very heavy – and not very summery. Terry might not have served up the best food but his evening was the most fun.
How much does the production crew influence what happens on the night?
A lot! They instigate the asking of certain questions to promote debate, and they are always telling you what to do next. I was really annoyed with the director on the evening of my dinner party as my timings were all messed up by having to stop and start all of the time. I was also not happy with the Hollandaise sauce. I actually had a jar from Waitrose in the cupboard but they wouldn’t let me use it. They made me serve up the curdled sauce. I would never have done that normally. I’m also convinced that the production crew planted the dirty glass that Coranne made such a fuss about at the table. I had checked all the glasses the night before. But I take full responsibility for the missing toilet seat!
When you saw it back was it wildly edited or pretty much how you remember it?
It was a pretty tame representation of what actually happened over the course of the week. Coranne’s appreciation of Gordon’s scallops for example, was completely played down. I also noticed that some of the things that I’d said in jest were cut out or used by Dave Lamb the voiceover guy. I came across as much quieter and subdued. They left a lot out, including our karaoke session at Terry’s house. I was proud of my 98% score for ‘Eye of the Tiger’; I’d hoped Simon Cowell might be watching!
So, what’s next? MasterChef? X-Factor?
I thought about maybe doing a YouTube cookery school… I’ll definitely audition for X-factor next year. I would have done it this year but I had a friend’s wedding on the day of the auditions. These are all ‘tick the box’ experiences. I don’t want to be old and grey and say ‘what if’. If I get on to X-Factor, I get on, if I get laughed off the park then that’s fine too.