My Secret Life: Gizzi Erskine, 32, TV chef


My parents were... completely bohemian – my father was a photographer, and my mum was a model and actress. They were really well travelled and way ahead of their time.

When I was a child I wanted to be... When I was about three, I wanted to be a squirrel, but my first real plan was to make computer games – I was obsessed and I used to draw my own characters.

If I could change one thing about myself... Thicker hair! I want to have a bigger beehive.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... drawing. And I'm pretty nifty at making characters out of Blu-Tack.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... My attention span is really really short. I think I might be a little ADHD.

At night I dream of... I have a recurring dream: I stand on the top of a cliff and I can see a tsunami coming and sharks in the water. I'm quite used to it now.

I wish I had never worn... I was a punk and I used to wear PVC zip-up shorts, thick tights and a T-shirt. I remember one day thinking "I'll push it", and wearing my mum's Marks & Spencer's basque over it! She didn't know – she'd have killed me.

What I see when I look in the mirror... A really young version of myself. When I'm not wearing make-up I still look about 17; it's hard to compute I am as old as I am!

It's not fashionable but I like... the Kardashians. I secretly really love them – and I really don't want to.

I drive... taxis. I don't drive. I used to cycle but I live in Hackney and by the time I get to meetings I'm disgusting.

My house is... a maisonette over a split level. I collect Sixties furniture and taxidermy, it's quite avant garde – bell jars with weird stuff in them. I'm going to get some skeletons, and a pickled baby pig!

Movie heaven... I'm a complete B-movie nerd – Barbarella, Attack of the 50ft Woman, even Rocky Horror.

My greatest regret... I went to a casting, and having taken all this advice – "you need to cover up your tattoos and hair" – I didn't get it because they actually wanted someone edgy; [I learned] you have to always be yourself.

My secret crush... I'm completely besotted with Anthony Bourdain. And Michael Pitt from Boardwalk Empire – he is so unbelievably hot, and he does look quite like my boyfriend, so it's OK.

The last time I cried... I had my appendix out at the beginning of the year. I saw the New Year in, in a hotel room, on my own, doubled over in pain.

My life in six words... complicated, fun, unconventional, lucky, hardworking, complete.


Griselda Erskine was born in Dumfries, Scotland in 1979 and moved to London as a child. She worked as a body piercer before graduating top of her year at Leith's School of Food and Wine. Erskine became one of four presenters on the TV series, Cook Yourself Thin in 2007, going on to become the solo host; an accompanying book was also released. She was a judge of the TV show Cookery School, and has published another recipe book, Gizzi's Kitchen Magic. Erskine lives in Hackney with her boyfriend