SHE freely admits that she can’t cook and after her appearance on Celebrity Come Dine with Me this week, Celia Holman Lee says she will never do a cookery show again, “ever”.
The Limerick model agent described the experience as “beyond stressful”.
“I can stand behind at the Rose of Tralee fashion show with 40 shops and 36 models and it doesn’t knock a feather out of me. I was actually comatose after the cooking,” Celia told the Leader this week after over half a million viewers tuned into TV3 on Monday night to watch her tackle Thai green chicken curry.
While she said she was glad that she challenged herself, she will not be starring in another cookery programme.
“I would never, ever, ever do a cookery show again – ever,” she stated. “I didn’t enjoy it – I don’t enjoy cooking. I just don’t. I found it beyond stressful.”
The night hosted by Celia at La Stampa Hotel in Dublin saw her treat fellow contestants –including the newly engaged Rosanna Davison – to a “Moroccan-themed evening”.
The menu included Prawn Pil Pil, Thai green chicken curry and Eton Mess with vegetarian options for Rosanna. “I do cook dinners but very plain dinners like chops and spaghetti Bolognese,” said Celia of her cooking ability. “I don’t experiment and I don’t venture too far into food that is too exotic or complex”.
In a bid to get the taste spot on, Celia practised the meal three times from scratch in the week leading up to the filming of the show – twice at Limerick’s Cornstore restaurant and once at her Ballysheedy home.
“Chefs Maura Baxter and Caroline Ingle in the Cornstore taught me how to measure up. I was trying to remember all the ingredients and trying to get the right amounts in because every time I practised making the meal it tasted different. I was trying to find out what I was doing wrong,” she explained
“You should have seen me walking around the supermarket looking for those bloody ingredients like green paste – I thought green paste was something to put up the wallpaper when it came down. I certainly didn’t know it was to give the colour to the Thai green curry!” she laughed.
So did she get any help on the QT from the chefs at La Stampa? “The chefs were super but they weren’t allowed help me. I would say, ‘Excuse me chef, may I?’ and the producer would look at me as if I had 10 heads.”
And while she may have been under pressure, outwardly Celia was her usual glamorous self, dressed in a dazzling green dress from Be Fabulous in Limerick and headpiece by Limerick designer Aisling Maher. In keeping with the Arabian nights theme, models Becky Costello from Kilmallock and Louise Cooney from Dooradoyle were dressed in silks and scarves as they greeted guests at the door. Inside, Mr Ireland – Leo Delaney from Limerick – waited on the guests.
Although she did get on with the four other contestants, Celia – who scored 30 marks on the night – did admit to taking some of the comments to heart. “I’m always told, ‘You can’t cook – that food was awful Celia!’ That doesn’t bother me but actually, when you hear it on national television, it hits you a little bit more. I was actually about five flights downstairs in the hotel, I was running up and I didn’t take too kindly to Joe saying the meal was cold after I bloody telling them it was five stories high!”