Model turned foodie icon Lorraine Pascale talks motivation, inspiration and her part in Aptaclub’s Eating for 2 campaign
Considering her lustrous career path as a model-turned-chef-turned-bestselling-author, you could be forgiven for thinking Lorraine Pascale has it easy. But as a working mama from a less than privileged background, it took hard work, tenacity and tactical thinking for her to achieve success. We spoke to her about inspiration, working life, becoming a mother and her latest collaboration, the “Eating for 2” campaign with Aptaclub.
Q. You’ve been very open about your path to your current career, and about taking time to find your passion. Did you ever feel like giving up?
A. I never felt like giving up as I knew that one day I would find that special something that made me tick. So I just kept on going and didn’t listen to the voices around me – some of which kept saying that I should hurry up and pick one thing, and stop bouncing around. It’s about having that self-belief that you will find [your passion].
Q. In cooking, it seems you’ve found a vocation. How much of your passion is for the food itself and how much is for inspiring others?
A. That’s quite perceptive. I like to do things that make people feel good, feel better. I like to leave people feeling better than they did before they baked the recipe
or read an article.
I’ve had many bumps in life, especially in my early years. I used to see them as a negative but now I see them as a positive. I’ve worked hard to overcome setbacks and now from that place I want to help others as much as possible and enhance lives.
Q. Your first job was as a fashion model. Is there anything you miss about that life?
A. My first job was actually ironing smalls and sheets. I was only paid a pound an hour but I loved the fact that I was actually making money. I still model today, but my focus is on other things.
Q. You’ve also said that it was the birth of your daughter that led you to seek a different career – in what other ways do you think motherhood has changed and influenced you?
A. It has made me more patient and less selfish as there is someone else to consider besides myself. It has made me feel younger and stay feeling young. Children help you to feel young!
Q. You’re now officially a “celebrity chef” (and we mean that in the best sense of the term). Do you find TV work to be a challenge with a young daughter? Or is there more flexibility than in other careers? (For example, running a bakery must have been tough, hours-wise!)
A. There can be flexibility in many careers, it all depends on the employer. Will they let you work from home? Will they let you leave early or (if you have to) at the last minute? I think all work can be challenging with regard to time management – with or without a child!
Q. Your writing really emphasises your interest in psychology, neuroscience and life as an emotional journey. Do you think this was informed by your own experiences?
A. Absolutely. When I was younger I was so insecure, so scared of my own shadow and so angry with the world because of what had happened to me. I envied friends who had a stable background, one family and consistency and love. It took a lot of mistakes and tears to come to a place of peace and acceptance. I’ve used psychologists along the way and been fortunate enough to have been helped by some insightful, brilliant and funny people. I don’t want to be a psychologist but I do want to be a conduit to help people change. I have read so many stories of people’s personal, emotional and mental transformation and they inspired me along the way. I am currently developing platforms on social media and otherwise to be able to inspire and help people the way these amazing people helped me.
Q. Do you have a favourite cuisine to cook and/or eat? A favourite dish of yours?
A. I must say, I don’t have a favourite dish. I cook many dishes and it all depends on one’s mood. I haven’t been able to cook that much recently as I’m just building a kitchen studio and have been having lots of dinners out, so I can’t wait to get back in the kitchen! If I had to choose, I’d say pan-Asian, as it’s one of my many favourites. Fast, fresh and easy.
Q. What do you think about the rise in popularity of “clean eating” and – you must get asked this a lot – how do you stay so slim while being such a proficient baker?
A. I don’t bake as much as people think I do. And I certainly don’t eat the whole cake when I cook it! I [go to the] gym six times a week, and I think about the food that I’m eating. Is it healthy? Is it good for my body? Not always, but I like to feel healthy and fit.
Q. What can we expect from you next? What’s on the horizon? Tell us about the “Eating for 2” campaign.
A. There will be more food and more things around wellness and helping people transform and lead better lives. Eating for 2 is a fantastic campaign I’m working on at the moment for Aptaclub. It’s a free nutritional resource for mums-to-be to help bust the myth about “eating for two”, which many people still believe means eating twice as much. Aptaclub has teamed up with Dr Dawn Harper to provide lots of useful information about diet during pregnancy, and to provide women with all the information they need. Alongside this, I’ve been working with a nutritionist and have created seven new delicious recipes that are specifically tailored for pregnancy, to give mums some inspiration in the kitchen. We want to dispel the myth of eating for two but also provide easy-to-make and nutritious recipes to shows mums-to-be that, just because you’re pregnant, it doesn’t mean meals have to be boring!
Q. How do you see your career progressing and evolving? Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
A. In 10 years’ time?! I haven’t projected that far into the future. I hope that I’m making a positive difference in people’s lives and I hope that I’m happy, healthy and at peace.
Spiced prawn lunch box
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
225g wholegrain rice
4 spring onions, finely sliced
2 large tomatoes, cut into small cubes
250g raw (or pre-cooked) peeled king prawns
(optional) 5 slices of jalapeno pepper (from a jar, no added sugar), roughly chopped
½ tsp powdered chili
½ tsp powdered cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
½ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
½ bunch of chives, finely chopped
1 tsp rapeseed oil
A pinch of salt
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
Recipe allergens: crustaceans (prawns).
1. Cook the rice according to the packets instructions.
2. 5 minutes before the rice is ready, put 1 tsp of oil in a medium frying pan over a high heat. Once hot, add the raw or precooked prawns, slices of jalapeno (if using), chilli, cayenne and cumin, along with a pinch of salt.
3. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly, until they turn pink and are cooked through (if you are using raw prawns) or until they are piping hot inside.
4. When the rice is finished, drain it and then add the sliced spring onions and the chopped tomato, stir a little then tip the cooked prawns in with the rice, stirring again.
5. Sprinkle on the parsley and chives and serve with a lemon wedge.
Blackberry and raspberry ginger yoghurt pots
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 17 minutes
2 tsp ground ginger
1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
1tsp rapeseed oil
500g natural yoghurt
Recipe allergens: oats and milk.
1. Put berries in a wide, medium pan with the ground and fresh ginger and 2 teaspoons of water and place over a low heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft and mushy.
2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely before serving.
3. Meanwhile using some kitchen paper, rub a medium non-stick frying pan with the oil and set it over a medium heat
4. Add the oats and cook for 4-5 minutes, tossing frequently, until just catching colour. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely before serving.
5. Divide the yoghurt, berries and oats among four bowls and serve
Roast chickpeas & almonds with smoked paprika
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 10 x 20g servings
400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (about 1 tsbp), finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
100g whole almonds
Freshly ground black pepper
Recipe allergens: tree nuts (almonds). All nutritional claims based on analysis of 100g.
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C), 400°F, Gas Mark 6.
2. Toss the chickpeas, rosemary, cumin, paprika and pepper together on a large baking tray. Spread them out in an even layer and bake for 15 minutes until just beginning to crisp up.
3. After this time, scatter in the almonds and give everything a good toss together. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes until the chickpeas are crisp and have caught colour.
4. Remove from the oven, top into a bowl, allow to cool a little more then serve.
Apricot, mixed seed & vanilla muesli
Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2 x 45g servings
400g porridge oats
75g dried apricots, roughly chopped
75g dates, roughly chopped
150g whole almonds
175g mixed seeds (like pumpkin, sunflower, linseeds, poppy and sesame seeds)
50g toasted flaked almonds
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
135ml unsweetened fortified almond milk to serve
Recipe allergens: oats, tree nuts (almonds), sesame seeds, gluten and sulphites.
1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until evenly combined.
2. Pour into an airtight container.
3. Serve with almond milk.
These recipes are from a selection of new pregnancy recipes developed by Lorraine Pascale for Aptaclub’s Eating For 2 online resource. For the full list visit aptaclub.co.uk/eatingfor2