Peterborough’s new celebrity chef talks Loose Women, Lorraine Kelly, This Morning and hugging Phillip Schofield

Parveen at the NTAs
Parveen at the NTAs

The first episode of my Sunday morning TV show Parveen’s Indian Kitchen aired on ITV last month, writes Parveen “The Spice Queen” Ashraf and gosh, it seems so surreal.

After years of demonstrating on shopping channels locally, my recipes are now being shown on ITV!

Parveen's samosa

Parveen's samosa

My goodness, what a huge honour. However, even though I had some amazingly talented people who worked on the show, I don’t mind telling you that I was quite nervous about how people would perceive the show and me.

Were my recipes good enough, and would they stand up to national scrutiny? Did I talk too fast (which I do in real life)? Were my bingo wings going to show and the classic dreaded fear that I think most women have had - does my bum look big in this?

On the morning of the show, my family watched the beginning, while I nervously busied myself in the kitchen, making breakfast and wiping down already clean worktops.

Then I heard the theme tune for the ad break and my daughter shouts over “Mum, it’s OK, the show is brilliant, it’s just you but a slightly posh TV version of you and the food looks fab!”

Phew, I was so relieved as I know my daughter is always honest. I find that my children are my biggest fans but also my biggest critics. Breathing a sigh of relief, I brought breakfast into the living room and watched the rest of the show with my husband and children.

I actually quite enjoyed the show and once I got into it, all I saw was me - just doing what I love to do - talking and cooking. Hmm, probably in that order, just kidding - I love cooking more.

On the Tuesday after the first episode aired, I was invited to the National Television Awards. I was a guest of ITV and met many of the presenters and stars of current ITV shows. There I was, little old me, chatting to the Loose Women, the This Morning Team and Lorraine Kelly - who knew me from my TV show, that was surreal.

I had a selfie with Richard Blackwood, then I was introduced to Phillip Schofield (who I have such a crush on). He also knew who I was, as my TV show is part of the new Sunday morning schedule for ITV...OMG, another surreal moment!

He reached out his hand to shake mine but I just went straight in for a hug. I thought I would seize the moment, well, why not?

He was very gracious about the whole hug/handshake debacle. So, with my surreal experience bubble nearly full, it was only a matter of time before it would burst.

Many of the celebs had cars picking them up. However, I had to walk 20 minutes in the heavy rain from one side of the 02 Arena to the other wearing a full on Bollywood silk gown and killer heels to hail a black cab. Just when I thought I had hit my “surreal moment” quota, the cabbie asked if I was the lady off the telly that made lamb bhuna?

He went on to say that he loved my recipe and he and his wife made it that night. He said how I made the recipe look so easy and it inspired him to cook his first curry.

Suddenly, my aching feet didn’t ache anymore, my cold, wet gown didn’t seem as damp - as the cabbie’s comments made me feel all warm and happy .

It’s then, at 1am in the back of a London black cab, that I had a moment of clarity. I didn’t need to be nervous of how people see me because the real star of the show is the food.

The show is in its 4th week now and I am no longer nervous about what will be shown on screen, as I know it will be my authentic Indian recipes that are easy to cook and look amazing on a TV screen. So, if you want to learn to create some delicious, tasty Indian recipes, then please tune in to Parveen’s Indian Kitchen on Sunday mornings at 9.30am, and hopefully, I may inspire you too!

Happy cooking everyone and see you on Sunday morning.

Check out Parveen’s recipes at www.parveenashraf.com