THIS MUCH I KNOW

Lor­raine Pas­cale

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

‘Some­times I’m all for

get­ting some­thing out of a packet!’

The most in­flu­en­tial cook in my life has been my adop­tive dad. He was a lan­guage teacher, trav­elled ex­ten­sively and was pas­sion­ate about food. But I’d never cooked side by side with him un­til re­cently, for my TV show. He made gar­lic pota­toes, while I made burg­ers. I knew I was adopted from the start. My par­ents were white and I was black, but you don’t think of that when you’re a child. I don’t feel there’s some­thing miss­ing. Some adopted chil­dren feel that there’s a piece of the puzzle miss­ing. I know my birth par­ents’ names. I know I’ve got three broth­ers and one sis­ter, I know that some of them are in Lon­don, but I don’t have any de­sire or need to find them. One fam­ily is enough. I re­mem­ber hav­ing to see my so­cial worker ev­ery week. She’d ask, ‘How are you, Lor­raine?’ But I wasn’t in­ter­ested in talk­ing, I just wanted to get to the part where she’d buy me a bun and I’d lick and nib­ble the ic­ing off. Grow­ing up, I was al­ways, al­ways eat­ing and I’d spend all my pocket money on choco­late brown­ies. People called me ‘hol­low legs’ be­cause they couldn’t un­der­stand where it went! I’m a dust­bin on set. Since I’ve be­come known for cook­ing on TV [her shows in­clude Bak­ing Made Easy, Home Cook­ing Made Easy and Fast, Fresh and Easy Food], some heck­lers in the street – women – say,‘You can’t be eat­ing that food!’ which I think is in­ter­est­ing, be­cause not only am I shown eat­ing but I’m try­ing out seven or eight recipes a day. I en­joyed modelling but I wasn’t pas­sion­ate about it. A few years ago I gave it up and started do­ing loads of dif­fer­ent cour­ses, try­ing to find the one that re­ally made me tick. I did a hun­dred dif­fer­ent things and gave up half­way through. And then [in 2005] I en­rolled in a course at Lei­ths School of Food and Wine. I fell in love with it, it was like putting on the right clothes or shoes or some­thing. It just… fit. I col­lect flat shoes, es­pe­cially bal­le­rina flats. I wear them be­cause it’s too hard walk­ing around in heels all day. If I need clothes, I go to Westfield Lon­don Shop­ping Cen­tre, be­cause it has all my favourite shops un­der one roof:Top­shop, Zara, Pri­mark and Miu Miu. When I was modelling, there were many din­ners. Ob­vi­ously, I wasn’t eat­ing much back then, usu­ally noth­ing more than a green salad and some dress­ing, but I did get to look at some amaz­ing food. I am a chef, yes, but I am also hu­man. Some­times I’m all for get­ting some­thing out of a packet! Or go­ing to the shop and buy­ing some­thing, prick­ing holes in it and putting it in the oven. But when I have time, I cook. I’m just be­ing my­self. I’m a sin­gle mother who works hard. I love ready meals, es­pe­cially su­per­mar­ket own­brand ones. I don’t cook from scratch ev­ery day. I put on weight when I am shoot­ing. I am who I am. I got mar­ried in my early twen­ties and then a year or two later had my daugh­ter. I have a very close re­la­tion­ship with Ella, who is 17 now. I’m re­ally happy that I had a child young, it’s a nice way of do­ing it. It’s un­for­tu­nate that my mar­riage didn’t work out, but I sup­pose get­ting mar­ried very young is a bit of a gam­ble. Be­cause of my own start in life, I’ve tried to make Ella’s up­bring­ing as sta­ble as pos­si­ble. I think my men­tal tough­ness is ge­netic. My adop­tive par­ents both gave me great guid­ance in other ar­eas but as far as in­ner strength goes, I think it must come from [my own] na­ture. My mother used to say, ‘Be tough, be strong and if you want to cry, don’t cry in front of them. Don’t let them know they’ve got to you.’ I’m not some­one who ever feels set­tled, al­though in the last few years I’ve felt more set­tled than ever be­fore. I say,‘Suc­cess is not fi­nal and fail­ure is not fa­tal.’ I take ev­ery day as it comes and I don’t like to look too far ahead. I don’t know if it’s go­ing to last. The most im­por­tant les­son life has taught me is to keep try­ing un­til you get it right.

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