Lisa Faulkner, winner of celebrity MasterChef, on the secret power of shallots and her favourite tapas bar in London

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Lisa Faulkner

Photograph: Michael Paul/Rex Features

Lisa Faulkner, celebrity MasterChef winner

Mum and l used to hang out in the kitchen together. She was a brilliant cook, so my family was always obsessed with food.

Mum made lots of proper 1980s nouvelle cuisine. I remember filling profiteroles with cream, making tarragon sauce and chopping vegetables for a ratatouille.

I adore Nigella. I love Nigel Slater, too. I read their books like they’re novels – they just inspire me. There are so many chefs and cooks that I’ve had the luck to meet and been blessed to work with.

One thing I always have is chicken stock. I make loads of it so I can just pull it out of the freezer, add some noodles, vegetables and a bit of cooked chicken and you’ve got a quick-fix home-cooked dinner.

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Chicken noodle soup

Photograph: Martin Poole

Take stock: add chicken, noodles and veg for a quick supper, Faulkner-style

My last supper would be a roast dinner. I’d be quite happy if it was beef or chicken – I’d have to have Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, gravy and roast potatoes.

I’m passionate about getting kids cooking. I’ve managed to relinquish all power in the kitchen and let my six-year-old daughter Billie cook with me – she’s got a little blunt knife she uses to chop carrots.

Eating healthily starts with making your own food. Even if you use butter, you know most of the other ingredients are healthy and you don’t have to add much salt. 

I love Spanish food. The Opera Tavern tapas bar in Covent Garden is a favourite. Their croquetas and ham are amazing.

I also love Indian and Japanese food. In fact the only things I don't like are cinnamon and kidneys.

Street food is a big trend. My best friend [actress] Angela Griffin has a van at Barnet Market in London called Pigs and Dogs, which sells pulled-pork buns. I’m obsessed with them. 

The only things I don’t like are cinnamon and kidneys.

My larder looks like I’m prepared for war. It’s always full and I have to have pancetta, tinned tomatoes, shallots and a lot of breadcrumbs.

Friends always ask me to cook my monkfish stew. It’s got prawns, almonds and chilli in it. It started off as someone else’s recipe but I’ve added and taken things away from it since. I actually cooked it on Celebrity MasterChef [which Lisa won in 2010].

I’d like to cook for Eric, played by Alexander Skarsgard, from the vampire series True Blood. He’s just beautiful. I’d cook him a rare steak – he’d be alright with that.

Making ‘pear seven ways’ was pretty challenging. It was one of the challenges on MasterChef and I’d never made any of the things before. I had to do little tuilles, ice cream, macaroons and all sorts of foams. 

Lisa Faulkner: fast facts


Muffin or cupcake? Muffin.

Boiled, poached or scrambled eggs? Boiled.

Cafetière or instant? I don’t drink coffee – I only drink Earl Grey tea.

Sharing plates or individual portions? Sharing plates

Red or white wine?  Red.

• This piece first appeared in Sainsbury's magazine, May 2013.