My Secret Life: Thomasina Miers, chef & food broadcaster

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The Independent Online

Thomasina Miers was born in Cheltenham in February 1976. A former Masterchef winner, she spent a year working in Mexico before opening her restaurant Wahaca in London's Charing Cross. She now has several cookery books to her name; the latest, The Wild Gourmets, co-written with Guy Grieve (Bloomsbury, £20), accompanies her recent Channel Four series of the same name

I drive/ride: an extremely fast bicycle, which I call my trusty steed.

If I have time to myself: I read and read and read ... and then some!

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at: disco dancing. Think Seventies disco or early Eighties with plenty of shimmying. I worship early Michael Jackson.

You may not know it but I'm no good at: singing. At all. Ask anyone I know.

A book that changed me: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy ... I wept uncontrollably, which might have something to do with me having a twin.

Movie heaven: is French film, Spanish film, classic English film, low-budget American, Chinese film ... I am an art-house snob I admit, but they are so much more satisfying than the standard rubbish.

Comfort eating: is lots and lots of dark chocolate. Or chips and mayonnaise. Or a really bloody steak.

When I was a child I wanted to be: a barrister, a stockbroker, a model, a racing-car driver. Not all at once, mind.

I wish I'd never worn: leopard-print leggings at school. It wasn't a good look on an 11-year-old and the cool denim gang really got me for that one.

All my money goes on: fine clothes and good food.

At night I dream of: faraway places.

My favourite building is: Palacio de Bellas Artes – the beautiful Art Deco building in Mexico City.

My biggest regret is: that I never became a professional dancer.

It's not fashionable but I like: wearing men's old shirts.

If I wasn't me I'd like to be: a man. It would be fun.

The shop I can't walk past is: the Chocolate Society in Elizabeth Street in Victoria, London. Or L'Artisan du Chocolate ... heaven is a salted caramel or a dark chocolate ganache.

My favourite work of art is: the sculpture my sister, Talulah Miers, made me. Everything she touches turns into something magical.

The soundtrack to my life is: Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean".

The best invention ever is: a pestle and mortar. How else can you grind up so many delicious flavours together and create incredible things? Pure alchemy.