Rachel Khoo barely pauses for breath, as she lists off the reasons why the tiny Parisian flat in which she found fame wasn’t as romantic as it seemed.
“Everybody has this rose-tinted vision of The Little Paris Kitchen, but there was mould growing on the ceiling, the windows didn’t shut, it was wired from the Sixties,” says the TV chef. “So you could have electrocuted yourself, it was drafty, you could hear the neighbour snoring - and doing other things...”
The Croydon-born foodie, who recently revealed that she once took a cookery course at Leiths School of Food and Wine with the Duchess of Cambridge, moved to the French capital in 2006 and studied at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu.
She was later snapped up by the BBC to front The Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking With Rachel Khoo, a show demystifying French food, in which Khoo whipped up impressive meals inside her quirky and cramped studio apartment.
As more TV series, books and newspaper columns followed, Khoo continued to wizard up everything from Quiche Lorraine to molten lava cake in her tiny toaster oven. But the time for change finally came...
“I was recipe-tasting a cake, it rose and the top got stuck to the oven so it burnt and I was there scraping it,” she recalls. I thought, ‘You know what? I have done a TV show on the BBC, I’ve published three books, I am over this small kitchen!’”
The 33-year-old has kept on her place in Paris, but is now based primarily in the UK (“All the work is coming out of London, so it just makes sense,” she notes), where she has invested in a decent-sized oven and a proper bed.
“For eight years, I slept on a futon bed, so every time I get into bed now I’m like, ‘Ahhh’,” she says with a sigh of pleasure. “It’s a real bed, and I don’t have to fold it up!”
In addition to travelling to foodie destinations around the world for her Kitchen Notebook show on the Good Food Channel, busy Khoo has been working on recipes with British Cherries, the industry body that represents more than 70 per cent of growers.
With her natural beauty and vintage style, she was also chosen to model for Marks and Spencer’s star-studded Leading Ladies ad campaign earlier this year, alongside the likes of actress Emma Thompson and singers Annie Lennox and Rita Ora.
Cherry-lovers can approach Khoo’s summery British Cherries recipes with delight. Here is a recipe to try at home. For more information, visit www.seasonalberries.co.uk or follow @BritishBerries on Twitter.