ITV1 has commissioned series eight of John & Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen following its continued rating success, with brand new series returning from springtime 2023 on ITV1 and ITVX.
Hosted by television’s top culinary couple John Torode and Lisa Faulkner, the series – produced by ITV Studios Daytime – will see the perfect partnership serve up 10 brand new episodes after their autumn and festive airings (series seven) achieved its highest audience share since John & Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen first launched in 2019.
Best known for their expertise in creating delicious, original and family-favourite dishes that encompass cost-effective and time-saving hacks, the couple will continue to deliver more mouth-watering meals that pair perfectly with the imminent lighter evenings
We spoke to John and Lisa ahead the return of the series which continues on Saturdays, 11.35am on ITV1 and ITVX
Viewers last saw you during the winter months, how does it feel being back together for series eight of Weekend Kitchen and what can viewers expect this time round?
Lisa: “We are so happy to be back! We really do love it so much and welcoming new viewers each time. The whole thing is such a pleasure to do.”
John: “It’s great and this time we are airing in spring and there’ll be episodes heading into summer as well, so we’ve tailor-made some rather brilliant new recipes for that time of year. There’ll be plenty of green, tasty, seasonal and healthy stuff…”
L: “Yes, there will be a lot more fresh and light ideas… Some real classic British flavours, delicious Easter treats and some perfect family feasting suggestions, as well as some picnic favourites too.”
J: “We’ve also tried to introduce a few new ingredients here and there and gone a little bit off-piste… but we’ve kept our one meat-free dish in every show, we’ve kept a bake on every show and there are definitely some classics with modern twists – but there are some new and outrageous things too!”
What excites you most about the changing seasons and does it get harder to think of new dish ideas?
J: “Not at all. I think spring and summer opens up a huge box of delights!”
L: “It’s been really lovely actually do some spring and summer dishes because we’ve been doing so much autumn or festive winter food – which we do love doing too – but it’s been really nice to come up with new things this time round that are more for the light longer days we’re about to have, and including things that are a bit more green like delicious warm salads. There are lots of lighter options that are still very cost effective that we want viewers to explore with us.”
J: “With these seasons there are options to also do more grilling outside too for instance and incorporate lots of spring veg. You can learn how to do asparagus properly for example or how to make the most of the garden pea… We actually do a whole show about everything green! So this time of year I think is packed full of really luscious and good-for-you stuff.”
Do your daily routines change as you approach summer?
L: “It completely changes because the daylight is there. I try to not wish the days away but when you wake up and it’s light outside and it’s the daylight that wakes you up, the days just feel so much longer. You want to go out for a walk more, you can just fit more into the day and looking around you seeing spring springing – everything just feels more hopeful! I don’t think I’m as good with winter.”
J: “And almost automatically I think your body wants to start eating differently. It does yearn for different things and what we’ve tried to reflect this series is exactly that, so yes our days are completely different. We get up a lot later, we light the barbie outside, we have people outside in the garden, and just enjoy sitting outside more…”
L: “To start having the windows and doors open more is so nice – that gives me joy!”
Like Christmas, Easter is often a time when friends and families get together – do you have any plans organised yet?
J: “We are not sure what we’ll be doing this year. Our families are growing and have their own lives too, to a certain extent.”
L: “We will all try and get together if we can. We are still slaves to school and college holidays at the moment but I hope that Easter weekend will bring us all together.”
If you could have any surprise inside your Easter egg, what would it be?
J: “Twenty seven million dollars… It’s a line from a film! For Christmas I was wishing for some sunshine and a holiday and I was lucky to get that so I just feel like this year is going to be a really good year. Hopefully that will be the case and that’s all I’ll need.”
L: “Well I would just like [John’s] salted caramel sauce in the middle of my egg!”
J: “Ha! Maybe I’ll just go for some gooey marshmallow in mine instead then too.”
Your children are growing up now, do they ever cook for you? Have you learnt any tips from them?
J: “I think you have to be open-minded about everything and the youth of today have so much information flooding to them from social media… So yes, they do sometimes make their own food or make food for us. We’re often like ‘where did you learn how to do that?’ and they say ‘Tik Tok’. I’ve experienced it on Masterchef before too with Kitty Scott-Claus when she cleaned a prawn – which she hated doing – but she told me she’d learnt how to do it from Tik Tok too!
“Social media can be so incredible. I’ve seen people skin a salmon with no knife at all, so I do think the younger generation are watching and learning heaps of different things.”
J: “I’ve just asked one of my sons for his yorkshire pudding recipe actually, because his are way better than mine! They’re amazing!”
L: “It’s great to share tips and learn new ways of doing things.”
J: “You’d be silly not to, the world is massive and people have seen lots of things so there’s no reason why you can’t keep learning from others too… and if you don’t think you can learn from your kids, then that’s a problem!”
When you get time off, what do you enjoy doing?
J: “We do enjoy watching Love Island! I love it because you just don’t have to think about it and I yearn for sunshine all year round. I yearn for swimming in the sea, I just love all that. Sunshine is a good thing and it makes me smile.”
L: “Sadly because of busy schedules we didn’t see the Winter Love Island though.”
J: “What else do we do? I cycle a lot, I love to ride my bike. It clears my head, and we walk a lot too…”
L: “Yes we do and we loved watching Happy Valley together because you couldn’t binge that which I quite liked… I did however binge Maternal which was great. I do enjoy a good drama!”
J: “White Lotus was brilliant, and again, it was all about sunshine and beaches so that’s clearly what I’m drawn to and get escapism from.”
Would either of you consider doing any reality shows? Could you face the IAC jungle for example?…
J: “Well anything is possible but I don’t think I could ever do it – although I’d be very happy to host it, I think we’d be great at that!”
L: “Definitely not be IN the jungle! I enjoy watching it from my sofa too much…”
J: “With what I do for my job, I’ve probably eaten worse things than what contestants have eaten in the jungle that’s for sure!”
Lisa, viewers have also seen you act on screen again – will there be more to come and do you ever practise your scenes with John?
J: “So Lisa used to practise her lines with me and she’d give me a script but she’s stopped because I’m really bad at it. I just don’t get the directions right and I’d miss out parts… I’m cr*p!”
L: “He was a bit! Luckily I do have some actor friends. I mean it’s very kind that he’ll run through it but if you’re doing an audition, you just run through the lines that you need to learn… he’d read each stage direction between the lines to set the scene and I’d be like ‘yeah, I just need to know the lines!’ but it’s nice that I can do that with him.
“I do still love acting and I still go for meetings and auditions and I’d love to do more of it. I’ve been doing some other bits for ITV dramas but I’m not sure when those will air yet.”
John, you were recently awarded your MBE medal, how was that?
J: “I was a bit nervous beforehand. It is a big deal, you know, and it was one of those things you go to and don’t know what to expect. I’ve been lucky enough to go to Buckingham Palace before but I think when you’re receiving something like that it’s a big honour. But they make you feel so comfortable and there are lots of other people who are just as nervous and we all chatted. It was really good. And also really humbling.
“To see Prince William, who is now of course the Prince of Wales again was just brilliant. When we spoke I reminded him that the last time we met I cooked for him at a charity polo match, that’s how I started the conversation. It was before he was married, but Catherine was there with him, and he said they raised lots of money [at the event]. The time spent chatting together all goes so quickly.”
L: “I was just so very proud of him. I really was bursting with pride the whole day! It’s such a huge achievement, and I was thrilled it was my favourite royal Prince William that gave him his medal. And John looked so handsome too!”
J: “Thanks! I have to thank the people at Favourbrook who helped me with the suit. I saw that Damien Lewis wore a blue tails to his investiture, so I was inspired by Damien Lewis! I found out where he got his suit from and I went to the same place and got mine fitted there as well. It was down Pall Mall, next door to St James’ Palace so it was all very fitting! I might never wear it again, but listen, it was a very special day for me and I took my 16 year old daughter with me who bought a new dress for the occasion too.”
Did you celebrate afterwards?
J: “Yes, we went for a lovely lunch in Mayfair where Lisa joined us. It was all just a bit surreal really, even the next day when I woke up and I saw the medal I thought ‘it’s real, it really happened!’ My dad rang me the day it happened too and I said ‘you’re up early!’ [with the time difference] and he said ‘I had to talk to you before you went to bed’. He wanted to know all about it. He was just so excited and so proud.
“I’m having a think about where I should keep it because you get a certificate as well, and what’s fascinating is that I was on The Queen’s last honours list so my certificate is signed my Queen Elizabeth, but my investiture notes are all by King Charles, so I’ve got this extraordinary piece of history. I’ve also got a letter from the Queen Consort that she gave me when I received news of my honour – just a personal note to say congratulations – which was very nice because I had met her a few times before and I know her, but that is signed by Camilla before she became the Queen Consort too. So perhaps I will get it all framed in some way…”
So we’re on series eight of Weekend Kitchen – what are your eight essentials for a happy marriage?
L: “Looking after each other and being caring…”
J: “A really well made bed. You spend lots of time in it! Honestly, the bedroom – having that sanctuary of a place to go to – I think that’s really important. And nice towels so you feel good about yourself. Looking after yourself is as important as looking after each other.”
J: “Yes, going on date nights – that’s really really important.”
L: “Having holidays, and getting quality time together away from work schedules.”
J: “Smiling and laughter.”
L: “And cooking together!”
J: “Yes of course, I really like cooking for Lisa actually. I really enjoy it.”
And what are your eight essential kitchen gadgets or ingredients you just can’t live without?
L: “I couldn’t live without my Magimix food processor, I just love it!”
J: “Mustard is high up on my list. I like mustard on lots of things and it makes good dressings. My mortar and pestle as well, I use it all the time.”
L: “Cherry tomatoes are a really good thing, I love a cherry tomato… A good knife set is essential too… Oh and I’m obsessed with these frozen paratha or roti’s – you pan fry them and they puff up – they’re amazing!”
J: “They are really delicious. The newest thing in our house are some incense sticks called Hollywood….”
L: “Oh my God, they are incredible and from Liberty’s.”
J: “When you cook a lot and your house is starting to smell a little bit weird, you just light one of those sticks and your house suddenly smells like the most exotic hotel in the world.
“Finally, I think just some good hot soapy water and sometimes a bit of friendly bleach to clean down surfaces is pretty essential too.”