ITV's This Morning presenter and life coach Jeff Brazier lives in Brighton with his two sons, Bobby, 13, and Freddy, 11. Known for his roles in reality TV shows Shipwrecked, Celebrity Wife Swap and Dancing on Ice, the presenter has never been one to shy away from the cameras – unless his boys are involved that is.
A single Dad, Jeff prefers a normal family life for his kids, one that includes plenty of football, family bonding and good food. We spoke to Jeff to find out how he juggles his hectic life with family time and what food keeps his gang going after a hearty game of footie. Just don't talk to him about chicken claws!
Do you cook at home?
Yes – as a single dad, I had to learn quickly. I like to get the boys involved, too. If they’ve invested in dinner, they’re more likely to eat it. And I want to give them a good sense of the basics so when they leave home, they can cook for themselves.
What are their fave foods?
Bobby is a real carnivore, but Freddy’s favourite is aubergine!
Quick weekday supper?
Lemony Mushroom & Chicken Pasta. It’s so easy – that’s the magic of it – so I can feed hungry mouths after football practice and then spend time helping them with homework later.
Steak with garlic butter and sweet potato fries. My grandpa used to cook me a medium ribeye from the butcher as a treat. This marbled cut is not the best you can get, but it’s the one I love the most because it reminds me of him.
What do the family eat for breakfast?
Randomly, chicken and chorizo with anything added to the pan that’s good for you – kale, mushroom, sweet potato, tomato... It sets us up well for the day.
Your cooking inspiration?
Jamie Oliver. His shopping app is idiot-proof for guys like me! I really supported his school dinners campaign, too.
Who are your dream dinner party guests?
Buddha, Martin Luther King and Richard Bandler, the founder of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP). [Jeff is a consultant in NLP.]
No ladies invited, Jeff?
It is a bit testosterone heavy. The Queen, then!
Rootdown in Clapton, east London. The scallops and black pudding followed by sea bass with gyoza and lobster bisque sauce are to die for! I went there recently with my girlfriend, Kate, and we got stuck into some cocktails – I like my drinks sweet!
How do you treat the boys?
For special occasions, like remembering their mum, Jade, on the anniversary of her death [reality star Jade Goody died in 2009], we go to Gaucho for steak. We love their chimichurri dip with cheesy bread starter.
Worst food experience?
Trekking the Great Wall of China for a charity, Grief Encounter, last year – the chicken claws were particularly disgusting. I haven’t been able to eat a Chinese takeaway since.
Any other food phobias?
When I was a kid, Findus Crispy Pancakes. I was made to finish every last bite!
Reese’s Pieces. The fluorescent orange wrapper is so alluring! A few months ago, I couldn’t make it to the checkout without finishing a bag. That was a real low.
Do you diet?
I watch my portion sizes and I’m trying to swap sugar for high-cocoa dark chocolate. I love The Body Coach Joe Wicks’ clean-eating approach. I watch his videos and, in 25 seconds, I’ve learnt how to make something new.
Do you help clients with their diets?
We may talk about their attitude to food. Some people automatically reach for comfort food, to give their inner child a cuddle. Instead, be good to yourself in other ways, such as taking time out to read a book, go for a walk, It is a bit testosterone I love have a bath or meditate.
Jeff is the ambassador for justaddmushrooms.com - log on for his exclusive mushroom recipes.