Nadiya Hussain and Zoe Ball on their fun cookery show for all ages – and why it’s NOT the new Bake Off
Most of us love to dine out at fancy restaurants from time to time.
But nothing beats mum’s homemade shepherd’s pie or grandma’s sticky toffee pudding.
TV Times has come along to a converted barn in Shoreham village, Kent, to watch The Big Family Cooking Showdown filming. Presented by 2015 Bake Off champ Nadiya Hussain and Strictly: It Takes Two host Zoe Ball, the new 12-part series sees 16 very different families battle it out to be crowned the nation’s best family of cooks.
Each week, two families of three will compete in the studio kitchen to impress the judges, renowned chefs Rosemary Shrager and Giorgio Locatelli. The teams will also welcome Nadiya, Zoe, Giorgio and Rosemary into their own homes, where they’ll whip up dishes using their favourite heart-warming feasts.
Here, hosts Nadiya, 32, and Zoe, 46, reveal what tasty treats we can expect on the show…
The Big Family Cooking Showdown will be compared to The Great British Bake Off. Is that a concern? Zoe: People have been asking, ‘Is this the new Bake Off?’. But, truly speaking, Bake Off is the new Bake Off now! Obviously, people will make the comparison because Nadiya won Bake Off. I love it when our contestants see Nadiya for the first time in our studio because we all share that moment when we all wept when she won.
Nadiya: It’s tough watching the contestants getting judged. It has transported me back to Bake Off, and I see that our contestants are engulfed in the madness of this show, just like I was. I often need to step away because it’s too emotional.
What makes The Big Family Cooking Showdown different from other cookery shows? Nadiya: Well, to start with there’s not just one contestant, there are three, all from one family, so it’s a real team effort. We have a great mix of families from all different cultures, cooking different cuisines.
Zoe: Cooking Showdown is intergenerational so, for example, we had three brothers in one family and, in another, we had an amazing grandma who’s 80, who cooks with her daughter and her grandson. Another thing that makes this show different is that we get to go all over Britain, into people’s homes, which is a real privilege.
We may have travelled the entire world in one show – it’s been heaven nadiya hussain
Do you see a different side to these families when they’re cooking in their own homes? Nadiya: You get that competitive nature in the studio and then, when you’re in their homes, you see how they really cook. People are much more comfortable in their homes. Zoe: Yeah, we’ve found they’re much more relaxed because they’ve got their own pots and pans around them and they know how the hob works. But this is also where viewers get to see the relationships within the family: who gets on with who, who’s the boss, who thinks they’re the boss and who does everyone turn to when things start to go wrong.
Have you both always cooked with your children?
Nadiya: Yes. From the moment they could sit in a high chair comfortably, they’ve been chopping vegetables and all sorts. So, with my nine- and 10-year-old, I can leave a list of ingredients on a Post-it note for, say, Bolognese or pesto sauce and they can just get on with it. Growing up, my dad would say, ‘You’ve got to cook’, so now I’m the same with my kids. I tell them, ‘This isn’t a restaurant and I’m not the chef. It’s our home, so we’ve all got to cook’. Zoe: I’ve never been the greatest cook – Jamie Oliver has pretty much saved my life! But I’ve been learning lots on this show – although there have been some hilarious moments where I’ve said things like, ‘Oh, I love fennel’ and Nadiya’s had to tell me, ‘That’s not fennel, Zoe’.
How will judges Rosemary Shrager and Giorgio Locatelli be? Are they like good cop, bad cop?
Zoe: No, while there is a serious element as it’s a competition, Rosemary and Giorgio are an absolute hoot and they really want to help the contestants learn. No matter what happens in the kitchen, Rosemary and Giorgio will always find something positive to say. At the end of the day, someone’s made you food and that’s quite a loving act.
With all these families coming from different backgrounds, what sort of cuisine can viewers expect? Nadiya: We’ve had healthy food, indulgent food and dishes prepared on a budget, things we all think about as families when we’re cooking.
And I think we may have travelled the entire world in one show – all
the different colours, flavours and smells; it’s been heaven.
Zoe: We had one family where the father’s Italian and the mother’s Irish, but they cooked Vietnamese food! While we’ve had favourites like shepherd’s pie, we’ve also had dishes you’d never cook at home that have really had the ‘wow’ factor.
Have you had to worry about your waistlines expanding?
Zoe: I’ve definitely put on weight – it’s a nightmare! I’m not keen on tripe, but apart from that, I’ll eat anything. Nadiya: I decided at the start that I wasn’t going to bother with the scales. We’re not allowed to eat the food, but we try things sneakily. I love potatoes cooked any way. As soon as I see them, I’m in.
We get to go all over Britain, into people’s homes, which is a real privilege
Zoe Ball and nadiya Hussain are our hosts in this fun new cookery series. Each week two families – made up of three members – will go head to head in a trio of challenges to decide which family are the best cooks. Tonight, the Marks family from London go against the Charles clan from Yorkshire. First up, they must cook a weekend lunch for four for under a tenner. Then it’s back to the families’ homes to cook for judges Rosemary Shrager and Giorgio Locatelli. The final round is ‘impress the neighbours’ with two fabulous courses. A big-hearted, feel-good foodie show with lovely family dynamics and a great new hosting combo in Zoe and Nadiya.
Nadiya and Zoe with judges Giorgio Locatelli and rosemary Shrager
Fish soup with Aioli (The Marks family dish)
(The charles family dish)
Who will impress Giorgio, Zoe, Nadiya and Rosemary?