What’s Your Flavour? Nadiya Hussain comes to this years Flavour Fest in Plymouth

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Fans of the Great British Bake Off are in for a treat at this year’s Flavour Fest in Plymouth, with series six winner Nadiya Hussain and series eight runner-up Steven Carter-Bailey both appearing in the Cookery Theatre. We caught up with Nadiya to talk about her passion for baking, self-esteem issues as well as how meeting Ainsley Harriott topped meeting the Queen.

Nadiya will be the star of the show on Saturday 1 June, making two appearances in the Cookery Theatre and demonstrating some delicious cooking.

Since winning the Great British Bake Off, Nadiya has presented a plethora of programmes for BBC including The Chronicles of Nadiya, Nadiya’s Asian Odyssey, Nadiya’s British Food Adventure and Nadiya’s Family Favourites. Her cookery books and books for children have reached bestseller status and she regularly writes for media including The Times and has featured in the BBC’s 100 Most Infl uential Women list.

You bring such enthusiasm and passion to your baking/cooking. What were your first ‘food’ memories?

Every weekend, my dad would buy half a sheep and we’d have the whole family over. It was such a busy house that we’d all sit round on the fl oor and tuck in because we couldn’t all fi t around the table. That’s a very fond food memory for me.

Nadiya Hussein Book shoot

Do you think having positive early memories of food/cooking are important for children growing up, giving them an understanding of taste combinations/health benefits and more?

Definitely! I think all children should be involved in the kitchen – cooking not only hones a skill that is needed in life in general beyond childhood, but it also teaches self-confi dence, how to be frugal, understanding ingredients and where they come from, measuring, being organised… the list could go on! My eldest son Musa loves to cook and often prepares dinner for the whole family. He can whip up a mean spaghetti bolognaise.

I read that you suffered from low self-esteem before winning bake-off. How difficult was it, and how much courage did you have to find, in order to enter?

I was so busy being a mum I forgot to make time for myself. I had three very young children and I was a young mum. Being their mum was all I thought about for a long time. I think a lot of parents can relate to that. Luckily I have a very supportive husband and it was actually Abdal who entered me for Bake Off without me knowing. He said I should go and do something for myself. Of course I was nervous doing it but I just took it week by week and I’m so thankful I did it. Look at the amazing opportunities it has given me!

It is amazing to see you now, full of confi dence, and embracing everything that comes your way. Do you still have those self doubts though?

Winning Bake Off has meant I’ve been able to do everything I’ve ever dreamed of. I’m shaping my future every single day and seeing where it takes me but I’m not a different person, I’m a different version of myself. I still relate to that slightly nervous character on Bake Off.

Having suffered from low self-esteem what would be your message to anyone stopping themselves from achieving something that they really wanted?

I suffer from panic disorder and it can be different things that set it off. It has no rhyme and reason and you get to learn your triggers and give yourself coping mechanisms. So I would advise people to be kind to themselves and recognise when they need to take a step back.

Winning ‘Bake-Off’ and receiving such positive feedback from viewers must have been an amazing feeling?

It’s really nice to see that my background paired with the win can inspire so many different people. What has really stunned me I have to say is how much it has inspired the younger generation to get in the kitchen. I have met many parents who have said that I have inspired their younger children to get in the kitchen. Now to me that feels like the biggest achievement.

The last two years must have been a whirlwind. I understand meeting Ainsley Harriott even topped meeting the Queen! Has there been anything since that has topped it?

It’s hard to top baking the Queen’s birthday cake but I got so nervous when I saw last year’s Strictly winner Ore Oduba at a do recently. I was too shy to say hello so I gave him a little smile and he did the same to me. I loved him on Strictly so I felt so gutted that I’d not had the courage to say hello. I sent him a tweet after!

What has been the best bit of advice you have received since winning the show?

To have boundaries between your life as someone in the public eye and your life as mum. Selfi es seem to be the new autograph and I’ve had to learn to say no to people when I’m with my kids. That’s when I’m mum so I’m polite and say hello but I don’t do selfies anymore when I’m with my children.

And on coming to Plymouth?

I’’m really excited to visit Plymouth and meet everyone at Flavour Fest! It’ll be great to try some of the South West’s amazing local fresh produce too.

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