Dell’icious! Nancy leads Jewish trio taking on this year's Celebrity MasterChef challenge

Dell'Olio joins Birds of a Feather actress Lesley Joseph and All Saints singer Melanie Blatt in the famous BBC kitchen


Celebrity Masterchef S17,Announcement,Portrait,Lesley Joseph,**STRICTLY EMBARGOED NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01 HRS ON MONDAY 11TH JULY 2022**,Shine TV,Production

As someone who famously wore a sparking red catsuit, plunged to the navel, when she attended a Downing Street reception with then-boyfriend Sven-Goran Eriksson, Nancy Dell’Olio doesn’t seem the type to be scared of much.

But ahead of her appearance on Celebrity MasterChef, she admits to having “quite a few butterflies in my stomach”.

Although both Jews and Italians are famous for their love of food, Nancy, who is both, reveals that she prefers eating it to cooking it.

“The idea that I’m going to start cooking shortly does make me feel quite tense,” she admits shortly before walking into the famous MasterChef kitchen.

“I am still asking myself why I agreed to do Celebrity MasterChef. It is exciting but also it is tense. Quite tense.”

Nancy, 60, will be the first of three Jewish celebrities to appear in this year’s competition.

The other two are All Saints singer Melanie Blatt and Birds of a Feather actress Lesley Joseph, who will appear later on in the series.

We may hope that they have slightly more experience of cooking than Nancy, who appears on the show wearing towering heels and leopard-skin trousers and admits that all she has in her fridge is “plenty of water, champagne and wine”.

If she wants to eat, “I prefer someone does the cooking for me — I prefer to go to beautiful restaurants.” While the dish she professes she could make on a desert island is Italian classic parmigiana aubergine, which her Jewish mother taught her, she admits that when it comes to following recipes, “I am a bit of a rebel.”

During her reign as the First Wag of the England team, Nancy was known for her glamorous lifestyle. Since splitting from Eriksson she has reinvented herself as a media personality with appearances on Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Big Brother.

During the first three trials of Celebrity MasterChef — in which she competes against comics Kae Kurd and Paul Chuckle, reality star Faye Winter and TV judge Danny Jones — she has to make a dish with Bramley apples, recreate Korean street food and impress the judges with a signature dish.

Other challenges include cooking to restaurant standards and making a classic dessert. At the end of each week of heats, just two of the five celebrities are chosen to go through to the semi-final round.

Among the 20 contestants are Call the Midwife’s Cliff Parisi, TV presenter Lisa Snowdon, choirmaster Gareth Malone, and boxer Chris Eubank who, with typical modesty said,

“You will see on the show I had one simple dish where I even knocked me off my feet.”
Nancy is a little less effusive: “It is an adventure and I think it will be an opportunity to discover another side of me.”

Celebrity Masterchef starts on BBC1 next Wednesday (10 August).

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