Interview - Amy Lamé on mafia, Malaysian food and eating meat

By BigHospitality Writer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Eating

Who are you? I had this problem the other day when I got business cards printed. I'll tell you what I put: ‘journalist, broadcaster, performer, producer, presenter and glamour puss'. But you also like your food? Erm, yes. I grew up in ...

Who are you?

I had this problem the other day when I got business cards printed.

I'll tell you what I put: ‘journalist, broadcaster, performer, producer, presenter and glamour puss'.

But you also like your food?

Erm, yes. I grew up in America with a mixture of Italian and Irish extended family. Mealtimes were a three-line whip where we talked about everything over potatoes or pasta.

You're also trying to get into food journalism. Haven't you got enough on your, er, plate?

No, there's never enough. I went on a two-week trip to Malaysia for The Times and the food is the best in Asia. I think Malaysian food will be the next big thing.

Which Malaysian restaurants do you rate?

There's two that I've been to since I've been back. There's Awana in Chelsea for posh and C&R in Soho, where everything on the menu is £6 and it's really authentic.

You're from New Jersey. Have you ever dined with the mafia?

All the time, it's part of the culture.

You'd have dinner with someone one night, then they'd disappear and turn up a week later in a plastic bag. My dad's a plumber and if you've seen The Sopranos you'll know what I mean. I'm working on a food memoir of New Jersey – The Armpit of America – with mafia hangouts included.

And you're vegetarian – how did that happen?

I eat seafood so I'm not strictly vegetarian, but I went to France when I was 15 and got freaked out by all the meat. In the US we're so dissociated from food; I'd never seen a side of beef before. At that age you're looking to be a picky eater and it kind of stuck with me.

I heard you were going back on the meat to eat at El Bulli?

I thought I would give up vegetarianism if I could get a reservation but I'll probably have to wait four years to get in.

You've just become a British citizen. Is it because the food's better over here?

Of course. I've been here for 14 years and I wanted to be more a part of British society, but it's also about being European, having all of Europe on my doorstep and taking advantage of that.

You live in Pimlico with your girlfriend – hardly a good spot for a foodie, is it?

It is a good spot. We've got a fishmonger, a fantastic cheese shop, delis, Italian restaurants, bakers and a fruit and veg market.

You lost 56lbs on Celebrity Fit Club 2. What was the worst thing about appearing on it?

The worst thing they told me was that I would have to give up eating cheese. I can cope with cutting out most things, but when they said that… If you lost too much weight, would you be less funny?

Yeah, because fat people are always so jolly. I don't think so, as humour is so subjective.

Didn't you try to get Danny Baker, your co-host on BBC London 94.9FM, to go onto Celebrity Fit Club 3?

I did because he's a big fat monkey too, but he wasn't having any of it.

He likes his food too much.

What's next for you?

I'm taking my one-woman show – Mama Cass Family Singers – to Brisbane. It's a mis-remembered memoir about family dysfunction and food. amylame.com

Related topics: People

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