Actress Lisa talks about her cooking career and family
Not a lot of people know this, but I’m very good at… speaking French.
I learned at school until I was 15, but then spent time in France modelling in my early twenties.
I’m pretty fluent. Even though I don’t get to practise enough, it’s stayed in my head. I try to visit France at least once a year.
I love Paris, but we’ve had great holidays in Provence. It also came in handy on Celebrity MasterChef, when we had to cook a French menu without translation.
I’m not an overly technical chef, but there are French classics I’ll always love making such as coq au vin and choux pastry.
My best friend is… my little sister, Victoria.
We’ve been through so much together and she’s always an amazing support. She’s the first person I turn to in good times and bad. We share everything. I’m so lucky.
Lisa’s best friend is her little sister Victoria
I’d always loved to cook, but I remember thinking around the semi-finals: “I’d love to do this all the time.”
My nickname is… Gigi.
I was known as Auntie Gigi and it stuck.
The bravest thing I’ve ever done was… Celebrity MasterChef in 2010.
I was so nervous, but I’m so grateful for the whole experience as it changed my life. I’d always loved to cook, but I remember thinking around the semi-finals: “I’d love to do this all the time.”
So when I won, I started working in professional kitchens, writing recipes at home, getting involved in supper clubs. It just kept growing and growing. Something I loved became a new chapter to my career and I’ve never looked back.
And there’s the fact I became friends with John and, eventually, it became something far more important.
My favourite TV show is… the US drama This Is Us.
A wonderful portrayal of family and friendship and all the emotion that comes with it. A must watch.
My perfect evening is… John and I making dinner with all the family – something simple and homely like roast chicken.
Nothing makes me happier than us all being in the kitchen talking about our days and ending up on the sofa with a weepy family movie and perhaps a glass of wine. Bliss.
My first kiss was… wet. Need I say more?
The best thing my parents taught me was… not to follow the crowd. It’s something I’ve prided myself on doing throughout my life. I’ve passed this on to Billie. It’s even harder to practise these days with social media.
My biggest regret is… I don’t believe in regrets. You learn from everything.
I’d like to say sorry to… the lady today from whom I stole a parking space. I’m sorry – I was in a rush. Car park karma will return to me I’m sure.
The one thing I’d change about myself is… my constant ability to worry. I know I’m doing it, but it has always been a part of me. I hope the positive that comes from the worry is that it pushes me to work harder on whatever I am doing.
Lisa’s perfect evening is a night cooking with daughter Billie and partner John Torode
The last time I cried was… watching Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at the cinema. Woody Harrelson’s performance was unbelievable – so vulnerable and honest – I just couldn’t hold back the tears.
The first record I ever bought was… You Drive Me Crazy by Shakin’ Stevens. It’s the perfect way to put a smile on my face and still gets me moving when I hear it. I never danced like him, though.
It’s not good for my image, but I like… every now and then, as a treat and for pure ease, I’ll allow myself Kraft Singles cheese and McCain Smiles. I’m not overly keen on processed foods, but they’re made so well and have never changed taste. There’s definitely food nostalgia going on there.
My greatest weakness is… chocolate.
I have a sweet and savoury tooth, but chocolate is the one I have little control over.
If I could pass any law I would… stop bullying. I’d love the power to end it.
I drive… a black Audi A3. Don’t ask me anything else – I know little about cars and have never coveted them. It has four wheels and a steering wheel.
The shop I can’t walk past is… Liberty London. There’s nothing more fabulous than getting lost in the wonderful world of hand-selected designers. I’ve had dreams about been locked in and being able to take whatever I liked. I love Annina Vogel’s vintage jewellery and the perfumes.
The most expensive thing I’ve ever splashed out on is… I have a real thing for bags. They’re the most expensive things I’d ever buy.
My perfect Sunday is… roast chicken with all the family around the table. We’d then take my miniature schnauzer Rory for a long walk at Alexandra Palace, before ending the day on the sofa playing Monopoly in front of the fire.
The greatest day of Lisa’s life was when she adopted her daughter
My favourite place in Britain is… Nolton Stables in Pembrokeshire. It’s a ruggedly beautiful part of the UK and somewhere I’d happily go back as often as possible. I learned to horse ride a few years ago and that’s what first made me fall in love with the place.
My last holiday was… on the beautiful island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. It’s magical. We were made to feel so welcome and I know it’s a cliché, but it really is amazing to eat fresh seafood by the sea.
I’m currently reading… How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson. I can’t put it down.
The best day of my life was… the day I adopted Billie. I’ll remember that day for the rest of my life. It’s the greatest privilege to be a mother and the greatest challenge of my life and one for which I’m so grateful. Seeing my daughter develop and learn is a miracle to me.
If I had half an hour left on Earth I’d… grab my family and hold them all tight.