Fred Sirieix says co-star Emma Willis is 'as beautiful as a Greek statue'

Exclusive: Fred Sirieix talks 'mad friendship' with Gordon Ramsay and Gino D'aCampo

Fred Sirieix and Emma Willis are great friends and work well together on The World Cook. (The World Cook).
Fred Sirieix and Emma Willis are great friends and work well together on The World Cook. (The World Cook).

Fred Sirieix turned on the charm as he praised his TV co-star Emma Willis, telling Yahoo: "She's as beautiful as a Greek statue, she's literally carved out of marble."

In this Reality Recall interview, the trained chef talked about his close bonds in the showbiz world from working alongside Willis to his "mad friendship" with Gordon Ramsay and Gino D'Acampo. The 52-year-old also opened his heart on managing the pressures that come with fame and his secret to staying down-to-earth.

The loveable presenter has taken the TV world by storm, celebrating 10 years of First Dates this year and returning for a second series of The World Cook. In recent months, he made a memorable appearance on reality series I'm A Celebrity where temperatures reached boiling point in the camp kitchen with This Morning's Josie Gibson.

Fred Sirieix's friendship with Emma Willis

Emma Willis and Fred Sirieix host the cooking competition The World Cook. (The World Cook)
Emma Willis and Fred Sirieix host the cooking competition The World Cook. (The World Cook)

In stark contrast, it is no secret that TV pairing Sirieix and Willis are a recipe for a success as they have fantastic fun fronting the global cooking competition The World Cook together. It's the second series on Prime Video and the competition was fiercer than ever.

Sirieix heaped on the praise for co-host Willis who he celebrated for being a "pro" and "kind hearted" as well as always looking "immaculate".

"I love working with Emma," he said. "She's such a pro and she's such a kind woman. When you work with someone who's so good, I get inspired by her. She turns up on set, she knows exactly what to do. She's always looking immaculate."

"She's as beautiful as a Greek statue, she's literally carved out of marble. I keep telling her how beautiful she is. But the most impressive thing about her is how good she is at her job. She's really, really good. So we get on very well and it's nice."

Off screen, they are just as good friends. He shared: "When you finish filming, we would be able to go and have something to eat or go for a walk or just sit down, have a coffee and have a chat about whatever. So we're having a great time together."

Gordon Ramsay and Gino D'Acampo

It is clear on and off camera, Sirieix has made some close friendships in the showbiz world. But he has especially grown close to fellow TV chefs Ramsay and D'Acampo. Having worked together on Gordon, Gino and Fred: Road Trip since 2018, the trio had fantastic fun visiting countries and cities to explore the local cuisine.

"It's a bit of a mad friendship," he said of their bond and working together. "It's unique. I am really in the middle. And you never know what's going to happen. And I love it. It's so unpredictable. I love it. I can't tell you how much I love it."

Ramsay and D'Acampo are also two chefs that Sirieix greatly admires. "I think they are amazing," he said. "Two different chefs, two different reasons. Gordon cooks at the very high level, three Michelin stars for 20 or 25 years. An unbelievable achievement."

He added: "What I like about Gino is he sticks close to his roots. It's about classic Italian cooking, done very simply and very well. His grandma's recipe. Everyone just loves that. If you want a fine cuisine then you go to Gordon's."

Wedding planning

Fred Sirieix and Fruitcake are getting married. (Getty)
Fred Sirieix and Fruitcake are getting married. (Getty)

Congratulations are in order too as the First Dates star's wedding date is fast approaching this year. This timely chat comes at an incredibly busy time for Sirieix who has been juggling all of his TV commitments with preparing for his show-stopping wedding to Fruitcake in the summer in Jamaica but the star makes it look easy.

Used to balancing all of the spinning plates, Sirieix has no concerns and knows how best to stay on top of his TV work and wedding planning at the same time. "I think the busier you are, the more time you have because you have got to be more organised," he quipped.

I'm A Celebrity

Fred Sirieix and Josie Gibson share hug. (ITV screengrab)
Fred Sirieix and Josie Gibson share hug. (ITV screengrab)

Worlds away from the swanky First Dates restaurant, Siriex got a taste for reality TV on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here late last year. At first he settled well into life in the jungle as camp chef but when he become the kitchen porter, things dramatically changed.

Trained chef Sirieix watched in horror as This Morning's Gibson took on the role of camp chef, calling her cooking "the stuff of nightmares". Their row - which was both fiery and playful at times - was the beating heart of the drama on the show. Since then, Sirieix and Gibson reunited on This Morning, proving there was no bad blood between them.

Looking back now at the I'm A Celebrity rows, Sirieix confessed he was surprised by how the show was edited. He said: "When you are on I’m A Celebrity, what you see is not what you think. You don't know what the viewers see. And what I saw was different from what you saw, but it's edited in the way it is edited. C'est la vie, you can't complain... You can't complain and you can't explain. You gotta be there."

Reflecting on life lessons learned from reality TV, Sirieix said he would never intentionally do anything to upset anyone. "You can only be yourself in life," he said. "You can do your best. When you are in real life, when you do something wrong, you can say to people, 'Oh, I'm sorry.'

"People can talk to you in television because it's all recorded there's no opportunity to do that. So for me, as the way I am, I like people to have a good time. I don't want to upset anybody. We all can upset people at times, you know?"

Pressures of fame

Fred Sirieix found fame later in life. (Getty)
Fred Sirieix found fame later in life. (Getty)

Of course being on TV as a presenter and role model comes with some pressure but Sirieix said he remains true to himself regardless. "I am just me," he said. "You can only be you. There was a quote by Anthony Bourdain who said, 'I don't feel any pressure to be to be the person you think I am.' I found that quote very interesting. It made me think quite a lot when I read it."

He further explained: "It's true that there is pressure because people see you in a certain light. And when they meet you in the street, if they approach you and maybe something has happened and they had no idea. You've got to be able to turn it on and give that impression for people.

"But also I think that people understand that you are human and today this is not a TV show. This is me in the street. I'm walking the dog or I'm just going to do my shopping and buy some sausages at the local shop.

"And I think that people know and they understand the difference. But I think that what we have to be is always the best versions of ourselves, not for anybody else but for ourselves. I want to be the best that I can be for me, not for anybody else."

Rise to fame

The restaurant world stood Fred Sirieix in good stead for fame. (Getty)
The restaurant world stood Fred Sirieix in good stead for fame. (Getty)

Sirieix said he is "grateful" he found fame later in life and shared his own experience of "gradually" becoming famous and how his career in the food world stood him in good stead for the spotlight.

"I guess it wasn't overnight fame because the first time I did TV I would have been 39 or 40, I am 52 now," he said. "But before television I had been very well known in the restaurant industry because I have been around the block for a long time. I have always worked in the Premier League of restaurants, in the Premier League of hotels with the best people."

He added: "Although it is not mainstream, I had been well known in the restaurant world. TV happened almost by accident because of charity work I was doing. The work I had done was picked up by the BBC. They wanted to do a programme which became Service which I did with Michel Roux Jr back in the day and so it happened very gradually."

In the bright lights of fame, Sirieix remains down to earth and grounded. He explained: "I'm very thankful for that because I wasn't born famous or become famous in my early teens. And I know what life is like outside of television and outside of being famous because I was like that all my life.

"I'm so grateful for that because I can see how if you are not grounded, and if you don't have your head on your shoulders, how can some people can just switch. It’s just about understanding reality and having a grasp with reality. I'm very down to earth."

Season Two of The World Cook is brought to you by TUI and airs on Prime Video from 16th March.

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