Meet the hosts of Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose
Steve Jones and Lisa Snowdon
have teamed up to present
a new Saturday morning show...
so how’s their on-screen chemistry? Lucy Allen finds out
Television presenter Steve Jones has no hesitation when asked about his ‘dream guest’.
‘Patrick Stewart,’ he says straight away. ‘I have never interviewed him but I saw him on the red carpet at the Baftas and it was very exciting. I’m a big Star Trek fan; The Next Generation is my all-time favourite show and his portrayal of Jean-Luc Picard is mesmerising.
‘I always think if I saw him in a bar in Soho I’d send over a bottle of Champagne and say to the waiter or waitress: “The guy over there says thank you for Picard.”
‘And I envisage him raising his glass to me and saying cheers. He is never far from my thoughts, Patrick.’
Sadly for Jones, Stewart is not on the guestlist for the first Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose, the new Saturday morning show Jones will present with Lisa Snowdon.But singer-turned-actor Martin Kemp, actress Celia Imrie and chef Jean-Christophe Novelli are.
And it is the celebrity cooks who will appear each week that Snowdon says are her dream guests.
‘It is the chefs I am excited to meet,’ she says. ‘Raymond Blanc, Michel Roux – I’m super-excited about being in the kitchen with them.’
Cooking will be an important element of the new magazine-style show, which is broadcast live on Channel 4 from this Saturday. Jones and Snowdon will assist the chefs, a role 37-year-old Jones is used to. He says: ‘My girlfriend does most of the cooking, thankfully. I’m the sous chef – she cooks and I’m there chopping stuff and mixing stuff. But I’m hoping to pick up some tips on the show. I’m there to say, “what’s this, what’s that?”. I’m the idiot on screen.’
Despite not cooking much, he is good at eating, he says. ‘I will eat anything, that is my food superpower. I’ve eaten scorpion, tarantula, maggots, cockroaches, all sorts.’
He adds: ‘Rat brain – that's the weirdest thing I’ve eaten. I was in the Amazon for four days [for a TV show] and I hadn’t eaten – it was the only thing we could catch. But I also like chicken supernoodles, delicious!’
One-time Strictly Come Dancing finalist Snowdon is a better cook, she says.
‘I’m not a bad cook, but it’s basic. I do a good roast, which I think most people can, and I like to do jerk chicken, pasta and chilli and wholesome rustic yummy food,’ she says.
But she is the opposite of Jones in terms of eating unconventional food. ‘I’m not that adventurous,’ she admits. ‘Things like jellied eels I would not want, or jellied anything, and I don’t eat snails or frogs’ legs or anything kind of freaky-deaky like that. We are going to be a little bit out of our comfort zone when we are asked to assist, I think.’
On the show...
The new show promises a relaxed mixture of cooking, celebrity interviews and videos from around the country about food producers and artisans. So relaxed, in fact, that Jones will be bringing along one of his two dogs, a French bulldog called Dexter.
‘It is his first time on TV but he loves everybody – he has never growled at anybody in his life,’ he says. ‘He is good for nothing but love. The show is very, very laid-back, so there might be something happening in the kitchen but if Martin Kemp wants to sit and read the paper, that will be just fine.’
Jones and Snowdon have never worked together, they reveal, although they had met a few times before they were approached to front the programme.
Jones, a former model and ex-presenter of The X Factor USA, says: ‘We thought: “yeah, sounds like fun” so we met up and had lunch at Duck and Waffle, up the Heron Tower, and we had a laugh.’
Jones, you would imagine, could have a laugh with anyone. In fact, he points to a journalist at the pre-show interview and says: ‘We could do a show together, you know. We would just sit down for half an hour and have a chat about our interests and then we’d be okay. Let’s do it!
‘In general, people just get on, don’t they? There’s no formula as such.’
He adds: ‘And Lisa is a great person and I’m decent enough…’
Snowdon pretends to be affronted: ‘So you’re basically missing our amazing on-screen chemistry, then?’ But it is obvious the duo have really clicked.
The 9am slot will mean 42-year-old Snowdon, who hosts the breakfast show on Capital FM radio from Monday to Friday, getting up early six mornings a week.
‘Luckily I do like mornings,’ she says. ‘Although I suppose I could just stay out all night and come in at five o’clock!’
She is looking forward to introducing viewers to the wonderful world of food and farming around the UK, with segments to include an underground snail farm.
‘There will be cool artisan people, specialists in their fields, talking about interesting things like upcycling, gardening and lobster fishing, and we are going to celebrate that, the groovy stuff that is happening,’ she says. ‘There will be something for everybody.’
On fronting a live show...
‘It is always scary doing live TV,' says Welshman Jones. 'But it can be funny when you mess up. As long as you don’t swear. I think of it as like being around my mother – I would never swear in front of my mother, I just don’t. I would never consider using the F-bomb.’
Nervous or not, Snowdon, a former model and famously the one-time girlfriend of Hollywood’s George Clooney, also seems excited to be away from the life of A-list glamour. She says happily: ‘It will be all light-hearted and homely and dressed down with a sofa and us in T-shirts and jeans. This is right up my street: the chefs, the relaxed nature of it and the lifestyle element – and working with Steve, of course.’
Recipes at waitrose.com/weekendkitchen