The Hairy Bikers: a Q&A with Si King and Dave Myers

Si King and Dave Myers 

How would you describe the show to people and why should they watch it?
SK: We’re in it, it’s Christmas, and it’s brilliant!

DM: We love cooking together and we have done for years. We did a series called Comfort Foods which we loved: the pair of us, back to basics, cooking. Christmas food is a big part of our life. This series is also a really simple concept: we’re doing some cooking but we’ve also got guests coming in who are fascinating with wonderful tales to tell. I honestly think that this show is a complete tonic for your stomach as well as your soul!

SK: And it’s great for our guests to share their most intimate traditions and memories about Christmas when they were younger, and how Christmas has changed for them all the way through their lives. It’s a lovely warm show. The food reflects all the days leading up to Christmas as well as those bits in between. We have little tips and hints for how to make your money go a little bit further and how to impress at that special time of year.

DM: We’ve got great guests, a theme for each episode and there is a reason behind each recipe. We’re very proud of it. It’s certainly got us in the mood for Christmas!

What three words would you use to describe the series?
DM: Proper Christmas Cheer.

Why did you decide to do a Christmas TV series this year?
DM: We’ve done a couple of Christmas specials but not for a few years, because we didn’t just want to rehash what had already been done. Now we’re a bit older and more 'mature', it’s nice to do something in a comfy environment and talk to people about Christmas. The food we’ve cooked and the people we’ve met have been a great experience and that’s really why we wanted to do it.

SK: It’s always a great opportunity to talk to people and mix their experiences of this time of year with the food we’re cooking. There’s nothing better than making great food for people that you love at a particularly special time of year.

DM: And we both do love Christmas!

When you are developing recipes how do you come up with your ideas - any particular inspirations?
DM: For this programme we started with the theme - the big day itself, the unexpected guests, leftovers. We had a big process of development where we thought about what we would like to eat if it was there in front of us, and worked it out so that people can and will cook it. We hope that these recipes will become part of people’s staple Christmas diets.

SK: Our mantra is still the same: we don’t want to cook anything on telly that people can’t cook at home, that’s important to us. We want people to cook in their homes because there is something very special about that. If some of these recipes become part of people’s repertoire at home, what a wonderful Christmas present for Dave and I.

There will be a special guest on each episode of Home for Christmas, which are you most looking forward to cooking for?
DM: We’ve got such a lot of great guests, it’s hard to pick out. I’m very excited about Gloria Hunniford because she’s somebody who’s had 70 years in showbusiness. So having her coming in, and being able to cook for someone we have great respect for, I am looking forward to very much.

SK: All of them are great! We had a laugh with Jon Culshaw because not only did we get Jon, but all of his impersonations as well which was hilarious.

DM: With all the guests we’ve managed to get to the point where it’s just three people having a lovely time.

Will the guests get to cook for you?
SK: Oh no, it’s all about them.

DM: It’s all about the conversation, so if they’re worried about chopping an onion, it’s not going to spoil that. We want to make them feel at home, pampered, loved and not nervous!

What are your favourite Christmas foods and drinks and why?
SK: You know what I do like on Christmas Eve, a whiskey mac. A third ginger wine and two thirds whiskey.

DM: It’s meant to be the other way round.

SK: I know, I’ve never managed to get that right.

DM: I’m so traditional it’s unreal. I like turkey with all the trimmings, bread sauce, cranberry sauce. silverskin picked onions always come out. I’m not keen on Christmas pudding though.

How do you usually spend Christmas day?
SK: When I was little (and I still do the same now and the kids are in their late teens and 20s) we always had new pyjamas. We go downstairs and open the presents with a bacon sarnie before slowly starting on the cooking.

DM: My wife is Romanian and they celebrate on Christmas Eve, so I’ve adapted to that. So on Christmas Eve we have smoked sausages, pork ribs, polenta and the presents come out then too. But of course I still love Christmas Day, so what we’ve started to do is get the best of both worlds, with me still doing the full-blown Christmas lunch then.

What will be you be asking for as a gift this year?
DM: I don’t really want anything! There comes a point in your life where you’ve got enough! I’m quite happy with something foodie or cookbooks - I love cookbooks. Clothes are quite useful because we’re on the road so much.

SK: Something simple, a great bottle of something or some socks. I like giving presents more than receiving.

DM: After this programme a good quality diet plan might be in order…

November 29, 2017 5:41am ET by BBC One  

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