Tess daly at baftas

Strictly’s Tess Daly talks chocolate, sea urchins and her favourite foodie moments

‘I’m the cook – Vernon’s hopeless!’

Strictly’s Tess Daly talks chocolate, sea urchins and her favourite foodie moments

Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess Daly, 47, is a family woman at heart. Married to fellow presenter Vernon Kay, 41, she lives in Buckinghamshire with daughters, Phoebe, 11, and Amber, seven. Probably best known for presenting Strictly since 2004, she's worked with many familiar faces, from co-hosts Claudia Winkleman and Bruce Forsyth to stars such as Peter Andre, Pixie Lott, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Jerry Hall.

We caught up with the presenter for a glimpse into her foodie life. When she isn't rubbing shoulders with the A-list, she loves nothing more than making her kids quality home cooked dishes, baking princess birthday cakes and eating out at her favourite restaurants. Just don't serve her up live sea urchins or she'll run a mile!

What’s been your most exciting food discovery?

Sushi. When I was 17 and modelling, I ended up living in Tokyo. At first, I couldn’t get my head round eating raw fish but, luckily, I loved it.

Your favourite childhood food?

My mum’s apple crumble and custard. She only used to make puddings for us at the weekend, so I really looked forward to it.

What’s been your worst-ever food experience?

Eating live sea urchins for our honeymoon breakfast when we were in the Caribbean. The guy who’d been diving for them was so proud that I couldn’t refuse, but my stomach turned – they were still moving on the plate!

Who’s the cook in your house?

Me. Vernon’s hopeless. He needs some educating!

Favourite roast?

I’ve never liked red meat – in my teens, I used to squirrel it away in a napkin. But now I love cooking roast chicken on Sunday. And our local pub always brings extra gravy and Yorkshires when we turn up. ‘Here come the northerners!’

Do you have a trick for getting your kids to eat veg?

I’ve discovered a great dish – steamed broccoli with a squeeze of lemon juice, chilli, garlic and bit of soy sauce, topped with toasted almonds – they love it!

Do you limit their sugar intake?

I keep chocolate as a treat at the weekend. I remember my dad would give me and my sister a Mars Bar as a treat on Friday nights. We’d slice it up into little pieces to make it last as long as possible.

Top snack?

I love Marmite Cashews.


Strictly starts tonight! The Launch show at 715pm BBC1...roll on the glitter! #strictly #castof2015 ❤️❤️����

A photo posted by Tess Daly (@tessdalyofficial) on

Handy kitchen tip?

I keep blueberries in the freezer then pop them in the microwave. They’re as good as fresh and I have them on oatmeal with maple syrup.

Best comfort food?

Fish, chips and a large helping of mushy peas. We’ve got an amazing local chippy – the batter melts in your mouth.

What’s Vernon’s favourite food?

He loves a good steak but I never cook it at home, poor thing.

Favourite restaurant?

Nobu in London. My perfect meal is yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, then black cod, and to end, a chocolate bombe with green tea ice cream. It’s to die for!



A photo posted by Tess Daly (@tessdalyofficial) on

Do you have any phobias?

Raw meat. I can’t stand touching it and I’m obsessed with germs. I worry how clean the cupboard handles are!

Do you bake?

I made Amber a fairy princess ice cream cake for her last birthday. The base was layers of Neapolitan ice cream with sponge cake in a skirt shape – and half a Barbie was poking out of the top.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I try to eat healthily but I’ve got a sweet tooth. I love Toffee Crisp Biscuits. I fight the kids for them at the weekend!

How do you stay in shape?

In January, after Strictly finished, I began exercising with a trainer twice a week. Then, for Sport Relief, I did a FitBit Celebrity Step-a-thon challenge with comedian Al Murray to help raise £100,000. Monitoring my steps has really motivated me to ditch the car and walk more. 


Find out more about Tess' Sports Relief work at fitbitforsportrelief.com.