Why Bake Off favourite Nadiya Hussain wants us all to enjoy food again

Nadiya Hussain will be at Chatsworth at the end of the month.
Nadiya Hussain will be at Chatsworth at the end of the month.

Cooking star Nadiya Hussain has whipped up TV shows and books galore since winning Great British Bake Off three years ago.

But the mum and national favourite admits she will still be nervous before making her demonstration debut at the Chatsworth Country Fair in Derbyshire later this month

And it will be something of a reunion - as master bakers and famous GBBO presenter duo Paul Hollywood plus former star Mary Berry are also appearing.

“I have seen Mary lots and lots since the bake off, all the time when I’m doing festivals - she’s lovely”, Nadiya said in an exclusive interview.

“I always think she is going to forget who I am and she never does. I’m okay with Mary saying ‘Nadiya who?’

“Somewhere like Chatsworth, for me makes me really nervous because I feel like I don’t fit in - I’m so used to being the only brown face.

“These events make me nervous but I have to think this is really important, this is something that needs doing. I am really excited.” 

Among the dishes Nadiya will cook at the fair, which takes place from August 31 - September 2, before signing books for fans is a summer cucumber and fish broth.  

“It’s lovely but you don’t think to cook cucumber”, she said.

Making unusual dishes is also a theme she explores on her current TV show, Nadiya’s Family Favourites, which this week featured carrot cake pakoras.
“I love just listening to the chat on Twitter and people say ‘that’s not going to work’ and it does”, she added.

There’s a bigger ambition from the show, too, that of celebrating food, rather than labelling it as good or bad.

Nadiya added: “We’ve got a whole generation of children who are being raised and it’s really scary where we are living in this world where it’s all about ‘this is bad for you’ and ‘this is good for you’.

“As long as you teach them what is bad and what is good, and as long as everything is in moderation and balanced... who cares? 

“That’s probably where there is a bit of Yorkshire in me, I think come on now, enjoy your food.
“It’s okay to have a pie the size of your head occasionally.

“I think people have stopped enjoying food, and I hope that when they watch the show they get the sense that I love cooking, and eating and I enjoy food.”

Nadiya was born in Luton to a Bangladeshi family, and lived in Leeds for more than a decade before she appeared on the bake off series in 2015. 

While she won’t be drawn on whether food is superior in the north or the south, she still has favourite Yorkshire dishes and spent last weekend visiting Malham Cove and Brimham Rocks with her family. 

“The fat rascals (a scone) at Betty’s are the best”, she smiles.

“I suppose growing up in a Bangladeshi household I never think food is north or south - I was making Lancashire hotpots before I was in the north. Ever since I’ve had kids Yorkshire puddings and Sunday roasts have been something I love making.”

Nadiya will appear at Chatsworth Country Fair on Friday, August 31.

She, Paul and Mary will be a huge draw for the thousands of visitors who attend each year, and there will also be chefs from across Derbyshire and Yorkshire showcasing their expertise. 

Food fans can also enjoy the Fine Food Village with more than 100 stalls.

To buy tickets, or for more details of the line-up, visit www.chatsworth.org.