Cheating with Delia

I met Delia Smith last week when she was signing copies of her latest book for staff at ASDA Head Office in Leeds.

The book entitled ‘How to Cheat at Cooking’ is an update of her original 1971 best seller of the same title.

She was very polite; however I didn’t seem to be able to strike up the same rapport with her as I do when photographing most celebrities. Perhaps she was just bored of the conveyer-belt style tour that book signings involve and didn’t feel like chatting.

Cookery books always seem to fly off the shelves, and they make great gifts however I’m sure that most of them hardly ever get used. Most people I know have a shelf full of Delia, Nigella, Jamie Oliver, Gary Rhodes et al. At our house they just collect inches of dust but I still couldn’t resist taking home a signed copy of this latest one!

I do admire how Delia has become such a huge household name and given so many previously poor-selling products ‘The Delia Effect’. Sales of eggs, cranberries and Kenwood Mini Choppers all went sky high when Delia recommended them.

Despite my enthusiasm for her new book, I still chose the easy option and went out for Sunday Lunch. I took my family to the carvery at The Nag’s Head at Ainley Top, which was delicious, and I love the new contemporary interior they have created there.

Perhaps now I’ve mentioned it in this column, The Nag’s Head will benefit from the ‘Terry Effect’!

I love Sunday Lunch and am always searching for the best one so if you have any recommendations they would be more than welcome.

As the majority shareholder in Norwich City Football Club, Delia could no doubt beat me hands down at a game of ‘guess the celebrity footballer’. So when my sister Rosemarie pointed out former Leeds United defender Clarke Carlisle, who now plays for Burnley, enjoying lunch at The Nag’s Head too, I didn’t recognise him.

I was stumped again when Liverpool midfielder Jermaine Pennant came into my bar, Fibre last week. I had to ask my Partner, Michael an avid Manchester United supporter to tell me who he was.

From Echo Beach to Transylvania

Introduce me to a soap star however and I’m much more likely to know them. So when Christian Cooke came to chat to me at my Club Mission recently I recognised him instantly.

Christian is better known as Brae Marrack in Echo Beach and when I met him in the VIP Lounge he was partying with his girlfriend and brother.

He is very good looking, which along with his acting will prove an attractive package as he tries to break into Hollywood. His latest role, produced by Sony Pictures is a drama based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula which has been sold to America.

When I mentioned his good looks he said he hates being chosen for that alone. He’s obviously not shy though as he took his shirt off and got down on the dance floor.

I was laughing to myself about the Dracula role, as his girlfriend kept kissing me. She was very flirty and friendly. I wondered how she would feel if I pretended to do the same to Christian, but she just laughed it off.

Losing Neverland

I was shocked to hear that my old friend Michael Jackson may be forced to auction his Californian ranch, Neverland as he faces a financial bill of $25 million.

He hasn’t returned to his former home, since it was ransacked by detectives a few years ago however he doesn’t want the estate with it’s roller coasters, water slides and zoo to be sold.

I can’t help thinking it would prove more financially lucrative to turn it into a commercial venture, like Elvis’ former Memphis home Graceland which is the second most visited private residence in the USA behind the White House. It has even been declared a national historic landmark.