Carol's indulging a love of food and regional recipes
If you happen to bump into Carol Vorderman before May, do not offer her any chocolate, because she's on a detox. The slimline Loose Women presenter has been indulging in her love of all things edible thanks to her new job hosting cooking competition Food Glorious Food.
"Yeah, I did eat vast amounts," admits the 52-year-old, a little sheepishly. "I'm on a detox for three months because I've eaten so much. I'm terrible, once I start eating certain kinds of food, I go on eating them, so I've got to re-train myself."
The show, made by Simon Cowell's production company Syco and styled as a cross between The X Factor and The Great British Bake Off, sees contestants from around the country compete to wow judges with their best home-cooked dish.
"People would make lovely bread and butter pudding in the morning, so I'd have that for breakfast and then you'd follow that with a curry for elevenses, followed by whatever else and I would try everything I could... And often get told off for it because it was meant to go on camera," she adds with a giggle.
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"But if it was something I really liked, I would eat the whole thing rather than a delicate little spoonful."
Her confession over, it's down to the serious business of discussing what the show involves.
Former MasterChef presenter Loyd Grossman is on the judging panel, along with the Duchess of Cornwall's son and food writer Tom Parker Bowles, MasterChef finalist Stacie Stewart, who owns a bakery, and vice chairwoman of the Women's Institute Anne Harrison. The winner will receive a £20,000 prize, plus their dish will be available in Marks & Spencer the day after the final is shown on ITV1.
A series of heats are held around the country, and each judge is responsible for awarding rosettes to budding cooks in their area of expertise. Grossman is the international cuisine expert, Parker Bowles judges historical recipes, while Stewart does sweet dishes and Harrison the savouries.
Once rosettes have been awarded, the judges have to fight it out over who to send through to the next round.
"This is not X Factor – it has a very different, very British feel, it's kind of eccentric," says Carol.
"I know it's a competition, but it's very gentle."
Every dish tells a story and the contestants are a colourful bunch of characters covering a wide age range – the oldest being 92-year-old Eunice from Cornwall.
"She had been making Cornish pasties every day since she was a child with her grandmother," says Carol. "She had her particular little knife and an old Tupperware rolling pin filled with water.
"And she never stops talking, you'd have 'the wisdom of Eunice' about everything. So she'd go, 'Oh, I don't know Carol, I mean these young people, they go sleeping with each other, I don't know why!' She was very special, we all loved Eunice."
The show also represents the UK's cultural diversity, as people arrived to cook Kenyan and Indian dishes, as well as regional favourites, including baked fresh crab from a family of fishermen.
And then there was the naked chef. "That was a bit dangerous," says Carol, smiling. "He was wearing an apron and was filmed from the back quite a bit, but I refused to go and stand next to him!"
Although she enjoyed trying most of the dishes, there was one recipe Carol steered well clear of.
"When we were doing the heat for Yorkshire and the North East, this guy turned up and said, 'I've got the world's hottest curry'. He told me the story about how he'd cooked it for his friend two months before. He'd had a plateful and half an hour later had to call an ambulance!
"Tom Parker Bowles tried a bit and went into shock – after a spoonful!"
When she's not travelling round the country, tasting the best of British home-cooked grub, Carol lives in Bristol with her mother and children Katie and Cameron.
Food Glorious Food starts on February 27 on ITV1.