Former Masterchef host and famous food lover, Loyd, is excited about being involved with Food Glorious Food, not least because the show is about real people and real food!
Loyd says: "Food Glorious Food involves the public very widely which is important. People are entering because they love food, not because they want to be celebrities or professionals. These are genuine amateurs who love their food and want to share it. That’s very attractive. We have a lot of programmes on TV with guys in white jackets shouting at members of the public. But on this programme, it’s not about chefs. It's about the love of food."
Loyd’s a self-confessed foodie and says childhood experiences first sparked his interest: "I just loved food. I was very lucky. I travelled a lot as a kid; my parents were interested in food and restaurants so I was exposed to a lot of good food. I grew up in New England where there were both farms and fishing so I saw all the fabulous produce firsthand. I always remember how exciting it would be to go down to the harbour in the morning and see the fishermen unloading their catch."
Loyd explains that, as well as tasting fabulous food, he is interested in the history behind contestant' dishes: "One of the things that makes travel interesting is eating stuff you don’t get at home and understanding how that reflects history. I think Food Glorious Food highlights that. Food is about our culture, our family history and ourselves as individuals. We’ve seen a lot of recipes people have brought in with photographs of their grandmothers, and that’s terrific. It’s about more than what is on the plate. Every singe dish has a story behind it."
For Loyd, filming Food Glorious Food has reminded him that even the simplest dish can taste wonderful. He says: "We shouldn’t settle for second or third rate food. When we were filming in the South West, we ate incredible pasties. The Cornish pasty has become a generic thing you can buy in every petrol station in the country, people forget that the pasty has its history and it can be so delicious. Rediscovering the things we think of as ordinary is a good thing. Whether it’s a fried egg or a Cornish pasty, it can be brilliant if people put some care and attention into it."
But, for Loyd, telling contestants their dishes aren’t up to standard proves tricky – especially where children are involved: "It’s always hard judging younger ones. You want to cut young people a lot of slack and encourage them. On talent shows, you can’t let a six-year-old tap dancer win if they’re not that good at it. Children must be encouraged but you have to judge them with the standards with which you judge everyone else, otherwise it isn’t fair."
And Loyd also confesses to causing offence with a few honest comments about the dishes he has tasted. He says: "People have an emotional investment with their food. You never tell someone their dog is ugly, do you? You might think it, but you don’t say it. It’s hard telling someone their favourite family dish is not exciting."