We love recreating TV cooking at home to keep the kids and friends happy, says Lisa Faulkner

AFTER appearing on their own cookery show you would imagine Lisa Faulkner and MasterChef host John Torode would want to avoid the kitchen for a while.

But the actress has revealed the couple love nothing more than inviting friends over to their home to recreate ITV’s John And Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen.

And even their kids want in on the action, setting them cooking challenges.

Lisa, who married John in 2019,  said: “We just enjoy cooking side by side.

“We really bounce off each other. That’s why, whenever someone comes over for dinner, we’ll always cook together.

“Our guests will sit themselves at the breakfast bar in the kitchen and will be like, ‘This is just like watching your show’.

"I think they find it a bit surreal. But John and I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Lisa, 49, has 15-year-old daughter Billie, whom she adopted in 2008 with her ex-husband, actor Chris Coghill.

And John, 56, has Lulu, 15,  and Jonah, 17, with ex-wife Jessica, and grown-up children Casper and Marselle from a previous relationship.

Former Holby City and EastEnders actress Lisa  added: “Our kids have the best food life you can imagine.

“Whatever they ask for tea, they get. They will be like, ‘Can we have Korean fried chicken?’, ‘Could you make chicken Milanese, or tacos?’


“Anything they want  gets made because John and I both love cooking. And if we don’t know how to make it, we’ll  find out. But John knows pretty much everything anyway.

“The kids don’t know how lucky they are when it comes to food. My stepkids call me ‘the feeder’ and ‘pushover Lisa’.”

On Friday, around 7.2million  viewers saw John and his co-host Gregg Wallace name Kadeena Cox, 30, the 2021 Celebrity MasterChef champion.

The Paralympic  sprinter and cyclist beat  presenter Joe Swash,  39, and reality star Megan McKenna, 28, to land the trophy in a series which also featured  Katie Price, 43, Melanie Sykes, 51 and Happy Mondays member Bez, 57.

MasterChef  is now the most-watched programme on the BBC’s iPlayer, with 21million views. It even trumps Strictly.

In 2010 Lisa was crowned its celebrity champion after Australian presenter John praised her tartlet and “fantastic palate”.

It led to appearances on other cookery shows and several best-selling cook books.

Lisa got divorced from Chris a year after appearing on Celebrity MasterChef, although she says they get on better now than  ever before.  

John also separated from Jessica in 2011, eventually divorcing three years later.

It paved the way for John to ask Lisa out on a date via  what she describes as a “romantic” letter.

He proposed on Christmas Day  2018 and the couple tied the knot a year later at Aynhoe Park, Oxon, joined by celebrity pals including John’s MasterChef co-star Gregg, 56, actress Tamzin Outhwaite and  Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden.

More than a  decade on from her life-changing win, Lisa and John are filming their hugely successful Weekend Kitchen from   their £3million Edwardian house in London.

Lisa told how they had  spent recent weeks at home, perfecting their recipes together.

Now firmly established as telly’s favourite culinary couple, things are going brilliantly  off-screen, too.

Lisa, who has a pet Schnauzer,  Rory,  said of her blended family life: “I am happiest when I have a house full of people, music on and I am in the kitchen cooking, with the dog at my feet waiting for scraps.

“John never really used to like dogs but now he feeds him too.”

If my house was on fire, after my children and husband, my mum’s last letter is the one thing I’d save

John, who has a 30-year career as a chef, including opening several of his own restaurants, recently revealed his kids prefer Lisa’s dishes to his.

He said: “Anything which is more big family stuff, it’d be Lisa for sure. Lisa’s roast potatoes are far better than mine. And her Yorkshire puddings are far better than mine too.”

On Giovanna Fletcher’s podcast,  Happy Mum, Happy Baby, Lisa told how her younger years were  “joyous”, before  everything changed at the age of 14 when her mum, Julie, was diagnosed with throat cancer.

She died two years later, aged 44, leaving Lisa bereft.

She added: “Before Mum died she wrote me an amazing letter. In it she told me, ‘Put your shoulders back. Be your own person. You know I love you’.

“It must have been very hard for her to write. She was very ill. It is something I can look back on and get strength from.

“If my house was on fire, after my child and husband, the letter is the one thing I’d save.

“Mum wore her heart on her sleeve, was a force of nature, style-obsessed and food-obsessed. I adored her.”

Lisa went on to star in some of the biggest TV hits of the Nineties and Noughties,  including Dangerfield, Spooks and Brookside.

It was the days of lads’ mags, and Lisa — who was once engaged to Trainspotting actor Jonny Lee Miller — found she had became a pin-up along with her Holby City co-stars Angela Griffin and Nicola Stephenson.

She was  voted one of FHM mag’s 100 Sexiest Women In The World six times between 1999 and 2004.

Fearing her acting career could be over at any minute, Lisa was reluctant to prioritise her personal life.

She explained: “I was landing big roles and part of me was concerned that if I stopped then other great actresses would jump ahead of me. So I put starting a family on hold.”

Instead, Lisa volunteered to be a birthing partner to her younger sister Victoria, now 47.

But after a successful first labour, things didn’t quite go to plan the second time round.


She said: “My sister went into labour early and I was out partying with friends when I got the call. When I arrived my sister clocked straight off that I was drunk.”

When Lisa did start trying for her own baby with then-husband Chris she struggled to conceive. She suffered an ectopic pregnancy, collapsing on a TV set in 2003 at the age of 31.

Lisa said: “I was on set one day when I couldn’t see, fainted and blacked out while I was about to go for a take.

"It was terrifying. It took me a few months to get off the sofa. The doctor said, ‘Give it a year and there’s no reason why you can’t get pregnant’.”

But after six months of trying, Lisa still wasn’t pregnant so she started taking fertility drug Clomid —  with a “horrific” effect.

She said: “It is very interesting. It works for loads of people but within two hours of taking it I turned into a monster. I was in tears and had raging anger.

"It was hardly the most romantic setting to be trying for a baby.”

That was the start of a hellish process that ended in three failed rounds of IVF.

During the first round, Lisa was the only one out of ten women going through the procedure alongside her  who did not get pregnant.

Eventually the couple decided to adopt Billie when she was 18 months old, a decision which Lisa described as a “life-changing moment”.

She later wrote  best-selling book, Meant To Be: My Journey To Motherhood.

Lisa said: “I fell in love with her straight away. I just loved everything about being a mum. The simple things, like buying her a dummy, changing her nappy, sitting in a coffee shop with her, taking her for a walk in the pram.

“Billie is an amazing daughter — I feel blessed. Now she’s just turned 15 and I can’t quite believe it.

“Since having a child I realise I am still a child myself and that I have to be patient. And I never ever stop learning.

"It’s a battle between patience and learning. But being a mum means the world to me.

“Adopting Billie has made my life complete. I couldn’t be happier.” 

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