Interview With Nick Grimshaw

Category: Press Pack Article

Can you bake?

I cannot. I’ve never, ever baked. I can make dinner – I cook. But I don’t bake anything. So, when I was asked to do this I was like “Oh, I’ll bake the week before.” And then I came to bake a few days before, and I realised I didn’t have scales, a whisk, a rolling pin, I didn’t have anything that you actually need for baking. So, I had to go out and get everything. And then I practiced twice in the week – I tried to make biscuits, and I made a cake, but I didn’t have a rolling pin, so I was using a bottle of wine as my rolling pin. So no, I don’t bake at all. It’s quite the baptism of fire to go from no baking to doing Bake Off.


What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I don’t know if I have any strengths, I think it’s all weaknesses. I suppose I’m quite prepared to be experimental – I’m quite up for trying unusual bakes. And I’m quite happy to be generous with ingredients if I don’t think there’s enough in a recipe. So, I’m confident to experiment. I’d say my weakness is that I don’t concentrate – I get easily distracted talking to people.


And presumably you have people coming over to talk to you the whole way through the bake?

Exactly, yeah. It’s a real problem.


Have you ever had any culinary disasters?

Yeah, all the time! When I was baking at home this week, practicing the biscuits, I put the biscuits in the oven, and I was holding on to the baking tray with a tea towel, and when I pulled the tea towel away, I also pulled all of the biscuit dough out of the oven, and basically flung it on to the floor.  And the dogs were eating raw biscuit dough off the floor. It was a disaster.


Have you spent a lot of time in the kitchen during lockdown?    

Oh my God, yeah, a lot of time in the kitchen, actually. I thought it was a really good thing to do for yourself in terms of self-care, and also as a distraction, just to spend a little bit of time deciding what you fancied eating and taking that time to make yourself something. But I haven’t baked or made anything sweet, I was just making really nice dinners.


I read somewhere that you cooked a lot of Ottolenghi. Is your house now full of weirdly exotic herbs that you’ll probably never use again?

I decided I wanted to make really yummy food that was actually pretty simple – I don’t do anything technical or fancy – so I did go out and buy everything that I never knew I needed. Like different types of mustard seeds and different dried leaves and all sorts of stuff I didn’t know existed. So yeah, it’s stocked with stuff now. But I do cook every day, so I do use it.


Are you competitive? How badly do you want to win?

Oh, I’m like the least competitive person. I’m not competitive at all. To a fault. I’m sure it would be a thrill to win, but really think I wouldn’t mind at all if I was fourth.


Why is SU2C important to you?

Cancer is one of those things that affects everybody. Not only the people that are affected directly by having cancer, but it affects all their family and all their friends. I think it touches everybody, and I think everyone has got their own personal story about it. So, I think it’s good to do as much as we can to raise money to help fight against it, because it’s such a huge issue that affects everybody. All of us.


You’re into your art and are a keen painter. Presumably you’re confident about the decorating side of baking?

No! I thought I’d be good at that, but it doesn’t translate to baking. It’s really technical and it’s really tricky. And you’re under pressure as well. It’s not like “You’ve got a day to do this.” You’re under a time limit. And you don’t really want to put a time limit on anything creative, do you? You want to see how it goes.


Last year you did another show for charity, but that involved you trekking and cycling across Namibia, where you nearly got very unwell indeed. Presumably this is a bit easier?

Oh my God, this was a whole different machine. Namibia was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, but also one of the most transformative experiences of my life. This is also tough, but a different kind of tough. I haven’t, at any point, thought I was going to die, which I did quite a lot on the trek. But doing the baking is making me feel so tired. I don’t know why. I think it’s concentrating for three-and-a-half hours. I never concentrate for that long.


Presumably on the radio you do.

I love doing radio - it’s my passion and I’m super lucky to be able to call it my day job. 

You have to be natural on air, so for me, if l concentrate too hard, it can take away from the flow of the show.


Have you ever commented on Bake Off for Celebrity Gogglebox? Are you worried you might have said something mean about Paul or Prue?

Oh my God, I didn’t think of that! I don’t think I would have said anything mean about them. I love Prue and I love Paul, so I really don’t think that would ever happen.