The Lowdown: restaurant stars on reality TV

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Food critic Grace Dent and Fred Sirieix to appear on the latest series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

Related tags Grace Dent Fred Sirieix Television

Food critic Grace Dent and maitre d' turned TV presenter Fred Sirieix are heading into the jungle for the latest series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

Not exactly a show known for its fine dining…

You can say that again. When was the last time you went to a Michelin-starred restaurant that served camel’s anus? Although maybe that’s part of the appeal. Dent has already said in a preview interview that she expects to be so hungry that the idea of eating an animal testicle will be ‘quite tempting’.

Yum. Is that the sort of thing we can expect from the series?
Absolutely. If you’re not familiar with the format – and by now you probably should be, it’s been going for more than 20 years – then here’s a quick primer. The series sees a dozen or so celebrities sent to live in a camp in the Australian jungle where there’s plenty of creatures, but very few comforts. While there they have to undertakes challenges to secure additional food and treats for the group, which can include physical tasks involving snakes, spiders or other creepy-crawlies, or potentially having to eat a variety of ‘jungle’ foods; and avoid being voted out by viewers during their stay. Joining Dent and Sirieix on this year’s line up will be Jamie Lynn Spears, sister of Britney; Hollyoaks​ actor Nick Pickard; singer Marvin Humes; and right-wing foghorn Nigel Farage.


What’s possessed Dent and Sirieix to take part?
You might well ask. Both are likely to receive a decent paycheck for appearing and, despite their relative fame, appearing on the show could really help boost their profile with a wider audience – the series draws in around nine million viewers on average each year. Amusingly, Dent has previously dubbed the show as being ‘televised constipation’. “Let's be frank, I'm a Celeb, love or hate it, is far from a deluxe viewing experience,” she wrote in TheIndependent​ back in 2012. “It is a puerile venture into starvation, televised constipation and animal cruelty, abbreviated by ads for Iceland £1 curries.” However, she added that she invariably does watch the show, saying: “We all need our big dumb fun somewhere.”

Are they the first big names from the restaurant world to take part?
Not by a long shot. The first industry name to take part was Antony Worrall Thompson way back in 2003. Subsequently the likes of John Burton-Race, Rosemary Shrager and Gino D'Acampo have all taken part, with the latter actually winning the series he appeared on.

What other reality shows have industry names appeared on?
More high-profile names have included Marco Pierre White and Aldo Zilli, who appeared respectively as guests on the eighth and ninth series of Celebrity Big Brother​ back in the day. And for a more recent example, why not look to the recent reboot of Big Brother ​on ITV, which has featured food influencer Henry Southan among its line-up.

Are either Dent or Sirieix likely to win the series?
Sirieix certainly has a high chance, with Ladbrokes currently putting his odds at just 4/1. Dent’s odds are down 20/1 but we still think with her down-to-earth charm and razor wit she could be in with a chance. But let's face it, anyone is in with a chance really - lest we forget that last year’s series controversially featured disgraced former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and he managed to not only reach the final, but come third overall.

So, it's a case of wait and see...
Potentially more interesting will be which restaurant Dent chooses to review on her return to London. One hopes it will be a step up from the jungle fare , but you never know...

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