Lisa Faulkner has admitted she was initially a bit hesitant about turning 50, but is now embracing the milestone age and is excited to see what it brings.
The London-born star got her big break at just 16 when she was approached by a modelling scout while she was waiting on the platform of a tube station.
Since then, she has moved into acting, with notable TV roles in soaps such as Brookside, Holby City, and EastEnders.
She has also launched a successful career as a chef after winning Celebrity MasterChef in 2010.
Reflecting on her career trajectory to the Standard, she says it’s “mad” and considers herself lucky.
She said: “I started off modelling with a view to acting when I was 16. I started acting when I was 19. I’ve always cooked but then, at 39, I started cooking on telly. It’s mad, really! I’m very lucky that I can do both and that I get to do both as a job.”
Of turning the big 5-0, she said: “I actually think turning any decade I seem to have a problem with it and the lead-up to it is like, ‘Oh God, I’m going to be…’ and my friends, as they tell me, I was exactly the same at 20, 30, and 40. I think there’s always that sort of thing about turning a big age.
“Then it was such a wonderful day and weekend with my family and friends that it was just lovely and I sort of feel, ’Oh, I’m here now and I’m very grateful to be here.’ I think age is a privilege, isn’t it?” she continued.
“I think each decade has had different ups and downs. I think my 40s were just discovering food and cooking on television, so that was lovely. My 30s, I became a mum. My 20s, I was just really busy acting. God knows what my 50s will include!”
One thing’s for sure, she won’t be bored.
In addition to working on a new cook book with husband and fellow chef John Torode, she has “a couple of acting jobs” in the pipeline which she says are “tiny, but lovely to do”.
She is also working with online supermarket Ocado on their new Five Meals for Four for £25 campaign, for which she has created a series of tasty, nutritious, and cost-effective recipes for the whole family.
She said: “I think everywhere the cost of living has just gone up and what’s amazing is a lot of people didn’t know that Ocado do their own brand, and that it’s good value for money and really good quality.
“A lot of recipes that you see call for certain ingredients just for that recipe and then you don’t use them again. I wanted to be able to say, like, if you buy, for example, sage or squash, that you can put it in two or three recipes, so you’re not just buying one thing for one recipe [and] you can freeze the rest.”
She has tried and tested her recipes on her family, including her adopted 16-year-old daughter, Billie, as well as Torode, who she sweetly calls her “biggest fan”.
There’s also fish-finger katsu, which is a fun twist to try on National Katsu Curry day on September 27.
Lisa Faulkner has created Five Meals for Four for £25 using Ocado Own Range ingredients. To learn more about Lisa’s Five Meals for Four for £25 and explore the recipes, visit www.ocado.com/webshop/recipecategory/lisa-faulkner-s-recipes/188888/2