Paul Whitehouse on Maltesers, corned beef pie and fishing snacks

Comedian, presenter and BAFTA-winning actor and writer Paul Whitehouse is known for his 1990s sketch show The Fast Show but more recently, for slowing down in nature on his much-loved TV show with Bob Mortimer: Gone Fishing. We spoke to Paul about his food preferences, best fishing catches and why it’s not okay to waste baked beans.

Paul Whitehouse on Maltesers, corned beef pie and fishing snacks

What’s the best experience you’ve ever had out fishing?
I’ve had so many extraordinary experiences fishing, it’s hard to pin it down to one. I’ve caught sailfish off Costa Rica, Atlantic salmon like bars of silver and massive trout in Iceland, a big barbel from the tiny River Mole in Sussex… I could go on. I’ll narrow it down to the first fish I ever caught, a small roach from the River Lea canal with my dad just outside Enfield… that’s the fish that got me hooked. Sorry for the lazy pun.

Are you a get-every-bean-out-of-the-tin type of person or does that not bother you?
Why on earth would you waste a bean? When I’m preparing my signature dish of beans on toast (is there anything to beat it? Really?), why wouldn’t I ensure every single bean is out and not callously tossed away with the tin. Mind you I always lose some of the sauce.

What snack would we find in your coat pocket when you’re out on a fishing trip?
My go-to snack is a banana. Simple. Great when you’re fishing, healthy and doesn’t melt or freeze! There is an old superstition among commercial fishers that a banana is unlucky on a boat – daft.

What’s your hot drink of choice? How many do you average a day?
Double macchiato. A bit of extra milk please. Strong as you like. One sugar. Three a day. Thank you.

What’s your favourite restaurant for a special occasion – and what should you order?
Probably the Greyhound on the Test in Hampshire – it’s one of my prime dinner-and- a-pint spots post-fishing. That’s why it had to be a part of my Fish and Feast experience with GetYourGuide as it is too good a gem not to share. I’ve been bothering Bob, Jackie and Zak there with my presence for a long, long time…

The place I go to most though other than Gail’s(!), is my local Indian restaurant, Zaffrani.

When did you learn to cook?
I was talking to an old mate I shared a flat with when we were in our twenties in happy Hackney, and we used to do quite a bit of cooking. These days I eat quite simple fare most of the time; grilled fish and steamed vegetables, mainly. Might sound boring but I like it. It was great to see Nick from Hunter Gather Cook in his element during my curation of our GetYourGuide experience, I’ve taken a tip or two for how to season and smoke my fish…

Smoked fish
Smoking fish on Paul’s GetYourGuide feast in Hampshire

What attitudes towards food did you grow up with?
Food was fairly basic growing up in my home. My mum’s signature dish was corned beef pie. Honest. It might not sound very Michelin, but Bob and I re-created it for Gone Fishing and it was delicious.

"Food was fairly basic growing up in my home. My mum’s signature dish was corned beef pie. Honest. It might not sound very Michelin, but Bob and I re-created it for Gone Fishing and it was delicious."

Do you have any strong food preferences or restrictions? How do they affect you?
Since being diagnosed with heart disease I am more careful about what I eat but not to the point of obsession. I do exercise every day and I’m on heart medication so I can be reasonably flexible. I’ve been told to consume 80% of the healthy good stuff and 20% of the not so good. I mean it’s very hard to turn down Green and Black’s chocolate but even harder to turn down a Malteser… or two… or three… or…, you get my drift. In my defence, I always start the day with plain bio-live yogurt and fruit and follow up with some worthy cereal with soya milk or porridge.

My week in food

What was the best thing you ate this week?
I couldn’t pinpoint one meal that was the best ever, but I love Thai food. Though I rarely eat it these days. I had a couple of great experiences on Saturday Kitchen with food hell and food heaven. They managed to produce some heaven for me in the shape of scallops and a chicken “pie”. And a duck pancake. Hard to beat a duck pancake. I love a nice bit of ‘allibut’ if you’re buying. Thanks very much.

Where did you shop for food – and what did you buy?
We’re very lucky round my way. We’ve got a Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and an M&S, right next to each other. If I’m feeling very flush, I’ll nick down to Planet Organic. I don’t find shopping enjoyable on any level, so I go to the easiest and quietest which seems usually to be Waitrose. If you examined the contents of my basket or trolley either in Waitrose or Sainsbury’s, you’d find yogurt, fruit, veg, tuna, rice, Maltesers and maybe a bottle of plonk!

What did you do to relax?
My two hobbies are fishing and going to Spurs home games. Both have provided me with much joy and misery over the years. A less traumatic pursuit is a bit of strumming my old knackered cheap acoustic guitar and singing along only for my own entertainment. I say less traumatic, but maybe not for people passing by my house. I’m also addicted to the very distracting word game, Wordscapes. Thank you and goodnight.

For the chance to join Paul Whitehouse at an ‘Originals by GetYourGuide’ experience, entrants can enter via an exclusive free raffle at GetYourGuide. Ticket availability is limited.

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