Erotic novelist Jude Calvert-Toulmin got to display her two biggest talents on national TV on Friday night.
Sheffielder Jude cooked her way to the £1,000 prize on Come Dine with Me – and after reading out an excerpt of her raunchy book, Mother-In-Law, Son-In-Law, its sales have soared.
On top of that, her next dinner date could well be round the table in the Big Brother house.
“I adore cooking and to win was amazing. But my main reason for doing the show was to promote my book. It’s definitely done that – all weekend my novel was in Amazon’s top 100 erotica charts,” says the mum of three. “Now Channel 4 have invited me to audition for Big Brother.”
Jude, 53, was nagged into entering by student daughter Jodie. “She thought I was suitably wacky and a good enough cook,” she says.
Self-taught in her teens, Jude lists patisserie and curries as her specialities. She’s also passionate about growing food and runs two allotments with husband Brian Trevelyan, who makes his own wine, cider and a brown sauce “to die for.”
Says Jude of her TV debut: “It was one of the best weeks of my life, second only to having my babies and meeting my husband.
“Being filmed cooking was not nearly as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be, as I was focusing on the task at hand. And I’d told the director I was determined our episode was not going to be one of those that dissolves into unpleasantness.
“It was such a strange feeling, knowing that three complete strangers were going to come into my house.
“I was underwhelmed by their cooking but we really did hit it off.”
Saucy Jude, who had heard tales of past contestants spending thousands doing up their homes, did it on the cheap. She glammed up her conservatory Middle Eastern-style, persuaded Sheffield ukelele band The Everly Pregnant Brothers to play and bought all her food from Sheffield market.
She started her seduction of fellow Sheffield contestants Lucy Croft, Robert Tingle and Neil Goodwin with a starter of exotic Coca Xira, a dish based on a Spanish octopus pie she discovered on her honeymoon and worked out how to cook. A main of Moghlai cashew jhool with lemon couscous was followed by a debauched chocolate truffle tart, accompanied by her favourite beer, a Chocolate Chilli Stout brewed by Wentworth Brewery.
Woodseats Jude, who spent a chunk of her winnings on a Kitchen Aid mixer, chose to take with a pinch of salt a few vicious online comments made about her – and her unfortunate passage of wind. In fact, the show has given her a taste for more telly appearances.
She’s going to think long and hard about the BB invite, though. “It might help me sell a few books,” she muses, “but I could be shut away with a bunch of nutters for weeks on end.
“Plus it would mean an entire summer away from my family and allotment.”
Fancy proving you’re the host or hostess with the mostest? The Star is looking for four decent cooks willing to host a dinner party at home for a feature in The Star.Contact Jo Davison, The Star, York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU or at firstname.lastname@example.org (write Come Dine With Me in the subject field).