Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me is being broadcast in the North East this week. Savour editor Georga Spottiswood catches up with best friend Jade O’Callaghan, of South Shields, who’s one of the contestants
“I can’t cook,” laughs Jade down the phone when I called my friend since college about being featured on this week’s Come Dine With Me.
“I applied for the couples’ show as Joe [her husband] is a great cook and I’m a top hostess, so I thought, ‘we could win this.’
“But they had already filmed the couple’s series and asked me to go on the singles show instead, so I said yes.”
Having known Jade since college (and yes, I know she can’t cook – or she’s kept it well hidden for the past 20 years!), it’s no surprise producers took a shine to her cookie personality.
A salt-of-the-earth mum of three, Jade is always the life and soul of any soiree: fun, happy and always hilarious – although she confesses that she thinks the other contestants got the wrong impression of her at first.
“You’re not allowed to say much about your personal background until you host the night. I wore a suit on day one and I think they all though I was some serious career girl who doesn’t let her hair down. I don’t even let on that I’m a sexual health nurse until the night I’m host – and I tell them my son calls me a penis doctor,’ laughs 36-year-old Jade.
The series was filmed at Dissington Hall, in Northumberland so the contestants could socially distance. On Monday, 45-year-old clothes shop owner Lee, kicked off with a Greek salad.
“I felt really nervous on the first night,” said Jade. “I thought Lee has put a lot of effort into the night and by that point I hadn’t even been shopping; I had nothing organised. Although to be fair, she hardly cooked,” laughed Jade.
Jade and Lee were joined by 43-year-old hairdresser Simon, 47-year-old nurse Sophie, and 27-year-old emergency planner James.
“By the end of the night I was thinking, they’re just as crazy as me. Simon was my ‘one to watch’, I assumed he must be a chef. So, I decided the only way to try and scoop the prize was to either win them over with my food or have fun, so I host a Wild West themed night!
“My plan was to get them drunk – so they don’t notice the food. I’m great at baking. I do a mean lemon drizzle cake and an outstanding key lime pie but just not that good a cook.”
In tonight’s show which aired at 5.30pm, nurse Sophie’s fake-away fast-food menu and kid’s party theme let the guests unleash their inner children.
And, just like at any kid’s party, it wasn’t long before Jade and Simon had a squabble over some sauce!
“It’s funny to see how you come across on TV, I think they all thought I was miss aggressive and miss competitive! I was worried people think I am mean.
“But we’ve all had a few get-togethers since filming the series; Lee hosted a showing at her house on Monday when the show was aired, and we all drank Champagne and had a good laugh.”So, has Jade caught the TV bug or are her five minutes of fame done with? “You’ve got no chance of me going back on TV again. It’s actually really hard work.”
Watch Jade host her Wild West themed night on Thursday, October 28th at 5.30pm on Channel 4. You can also catch up with the shows from Monday on demand.