Cumbria's famous food critic Grace Dent admits she is ‘absolutely dreading’ the camp diet.
Grace says she also thinks she will almost certainly be asked to take part in an eating trial because of the nature of her job. And whilst she is happy to help cook some meals around the campfire, she isn’t sure how she will get on without any spices.
“Everything is filling me with a real sense of dread,” admits Grace. “But I am especially dreading being really hungry because I tend to eat four or five posh meals out a week because I am a restaurant critic.
“I know they are going to give me an eating trial and I am dreading putting even worse things in my mouth than I have in the past in fancy restaurants! I think I will be writing very stiff columns about the jungle food when I come out!
“Will I cook there? Yes, I am a practical cook but it is not cooking as we know it in the jungle. What makes food is herbs and spices and I am not going to have any ingredients. I don’t know how you are going to make an alligator’s foot taste delicious if there are no spices. I can already imagine the dinner I am going to have the moment I get out. I am going to go to a really fancy restaurant and have something delicious, wearing a lovely dress.”
Cumbrian Grace goes on to admit she has already started to eat far less than normal in the run-up to life in the jungle and she has also tried to cut out caffeine. Yet whilst the food will pose a problem and she knows it is going to prove tough at times, the outspoken critic says nothing will ever be harder than losing her beloved parents.
“I have been through a really difficult time over the last four or five years,” she explains. “My dad had dementia, I cared for him and I lost him. Mum had cancer and I lost her. I think that this has made me very strong and resilient. This is going to be a big challenge and now I am older, life is for living and it’s one of the reasons why I said yes."
In terms of phobias, it’s the thought of ‘horrible people’ that she is most scared of. “I think I am quite good with rats,” she adds before joking: “They are quite cute but maybe that’s the one I saw in the cartoon, Ratatouille!
“I am not scared of snakes either but this has always been in a controlled environment and I don’t know what I will be like when I am locked in with them. My biggest phobia is really horrible people. I hope I can be somebody who people can talk to and I do hope I can stay out of any drama. I always think you don’t change people’s opinions by shouting. But what we have got is the time to really begin to understand why people believe the things they believe. This isn’t social media where you express it in a small number of characters.”
So how will her fellow food critics react when they find out she is going on I’m A Celebrity? “They will be absolutely amazed that I have agreed to do this,” she replies. “They have only seen me in a very expensive frock eating very posh dinners with all my make-up done. I do think they will be voting for me!”
Winning, she insists, is definitely not something she has thought about. “I am just determined to not go out first,” she explains. “And if I can get quite far, I would be really pleased. I don’t want my life to be different when I finish this programme. I don’t want to change anything at all but this is such a great challenge. It’s going to be fun.”
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