Gareth malone

Gareth Malone talks macaroni cheese, raw turkey and acid reflux

"I once served a roast turkey raw. That was not a great moment"

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Gareth Malone talks macaroni cheese, raw turkey and acid reflux

Choirmaster Gareth Malone, 42, lives in north London with his wife Becky, 37, and their children Esther, seven, and Gilbert, five

What’s your daily diet like?

I have a fast metabolism, so I’m constantly hungry; it’s always three meals and a bit of a graze as well. 

Talk us through those meals…

If I’m filming, I’ll have porridge, maple syrup and some raisins to start the day. For lunch, I’ll grab a tuna sandwich. Then when the kids are in bed, dinner with my wife is our chance to catch up. Becky is very much the day-to-day cook; we’ll often have a vegetable stir-fry and rice. We’re verging on vegetarian during the week. It’s an ethical choice. 

What kind of a cook are you?

When I was a teenager, my mum taught me how to roast a chicken, peel potatoes and cook carrots; standard survival stuff. I can now cook a sausage without killing myself! I’ll do the Sunday roast and I cooked at Christmas, too. 

Biggest culinary disaster?

When I was at university, I had all my fellow students over for a turkey roast. I misread the instructions and cooked it for 25 minutes then served it next to raw. That was not a great moment.

First dish you ever cooked?

Macaroni cheese. I was eight and it was for my cub scouts cookery badge. I can still cook it from memory.

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What dish reminds you of home?

My mum’s lemon layer pudding, made from lots of sugar, a bit of flour and lemons, is a taste of my childhood. When I was 10, I had pleurisy, which is an infection of the lining of the lung, and I barely ate for two whole weeks. I lost a lot of weight and from then on, I was always very slim. My mother constantly made delicious, tempting puddings to try to fatten me up!

Which chef do you most admire?

I really like Marcus Wareing – I’ve had some great meals at his restaurants. And Jamie Oliver – he’s a very motivated guy and I’ve always felt a bit of a kinship with him. 

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Do any foods affect your voice?

People say to avoid dairy, but I’ve never found that to be a problem. If I’m singing, I will avoid heavy, acidic food the night before because acid reflux can burn the vocal cords. 

Do you have any food rituals?

I fuel up as much as I can before a gig because of the energy requirements of performing. As a student, I sang with a choral society and would lodge with a family for the holidays – they’d serve a tiny quiche between five people. I’m now never more than five metres away from a bag of nuts.

Gareth is touring the UK with a live show in May and June.