The Ready, Steady, Chuck! Celebrity Chef Interview:

Chef Olga

Chef Olga Olga Svensvensennsennsen reprises her critically acclaimed role as the drunk woman in Wedding II: The Return (2004).

Chef Olga is a very difficult woman to get hold of. She is in demand in so many different ways she never seems to know whether she is coming or going. However, after a lot of rearranged appointments, in breaks between takes of her latest film when she wasn't practising on the klyteharpa, we did finally manage to get her alone for an hour or so.

Interviewer: Chef Olga, it's great to finally have you all to myself. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better on behalf of our readers.

So what's the film you're working on at the moment?

Yes, you are lucky that I can do it with you now. I am really hard at it today as you can see. I'm one of the important roles in the sequel to a film I did a few years ago. It's an interesting political drama set in Anglesey in the 1950s. It draws on themes from Dawn of the Dead and The Sound of Music, but has a strong religious message overall. I think they're planning on following the precedent set by Mel Gibson's Last Temptation of Christ and releasing the film in Aramaic, but with Welsh subtitles. Oh, did I mention it's called 'Hot Latvian Nuns Wrestling in Miracle Whip IV'.

That sounds ... interesting. And what part are you playing?

Well, darling, I am in several positions in this one, which you will be able to see if you are here later. Mainly, I play the Mother Superior of the convent, which is alright except for the mountain song which is so difficult to get right with the sound of the donkeys and chainsaws going on all around. I am also doing it in the background of a few other scenes, especially near the end.

Right. Well, I think we should probably move on now. What's your favourite Ready, Steady, Chuck! recipe?

Oh, my favourite Ready, Steady, Chuck! recipe would be the Marmalized Pork. I am very fond of pork as you know. Pork, when cooked properly is so delectable and when dribbled with the marmalade it takes on an air of importance, especially when wrapped in a croissant. Pork and croissant are such natural partners. The addition of another cereal adds to the marvellous crunch factor, and I do like it crunchy. I take every opportunity I can to enjoy a good piece of pork.

What's the most memorable moment you've had doing Ready, Steady, Chuck!?

That is so hard! There have really been very many of them! I have fun every time I am with any of the chefs. They have so much energy for it. But one of the moments that always puts a smile on my face was with the Cheesy Sponge Pudding, because it just got everywhere! I had so much fun with Chef Phil on that day, boys will be boys you know.

Who is your favourite celebrity chef, and what do you like about them?

I definitely have a soft spot for the Hairy Bikers. They're both so active and manly, and I like that a lot. The way they handle their machines and their cookery is just so impressive. And I love that little Jamie as well. He has such a cute accent. I'm sure he would love my films. It's a real shame he's married!

So how did you get interested in fusion cooking initially?

Well, darling, a long time ago I had a boyfriend called Weston. Anyway, he had a brother, who I think was called Spaghetti, who worked as a celebrity food psychologist and regularly appeared on daytime chat shows and TV programmes with a Bolognese theme. He suggested I got more experience with sauce and so my agent arranged an audition for the Ready, Steady, Chuck! judging panel. I think it was my Swedish accent and my appreciation of melons that got me on the job.

Do you have any pets?

Not at the moment, but I do like animals and I get plenty of opportunities to work with them. When I was little I had a hamster, which we called Richard.

What's the most important thing for you to keep your kitchen stocked with?

A massive variety of utensils. I like my tools to be just right - not too small or too big, too short or too long. It's a wonderful feeling when the chef has the perfect tool in his hands, and when he's showing you all the things he can do with it on the kitchen table.

Now this is the question everyone wants to know the answer to. How do you keep your skin so young-looking?

Well, let me tell you my secret. I've tried all sorts of moisturiser over the years but I have found that nothing works quite like Miracle Whip. I make it a habit of applying a little to my cheeks every evening, especially when my skin is suffering from rough treatment. I also find it very soothing on my lips to stop them getting chapped, and I'm told it has lots of other benefits as well, as long as you use it in moderation.

What's your all-time favourite book?

I don't get a lot of time for reading because of my busy schedule, and when I do I usually just find myself browsing through magazines that interest me, like BBC Good Food, Tattler, and Lap-Dancing Monthly.

If you were a kitchen utensil, which would you be?

Well, darling, I have always thought of myself as a bit of a a good mover and mixer, so I think I would probably be a whisk.

What's your favourite colour, and why?

Darling, I can tell you have spent such a long time thinking about these questions, they are so good. And so difficult to answer! I think I look best in pink, though. I have so much exposure on the television that I need to choose a colour that matches my skintone well.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

Oh, lots of things - I am in great demand! Apart from this film, I have been starring in two others, both of which will go straight to DVD I am told. I'm also writing my children's book, of course. It's the sad tale of an internal organ that was surgically removed, and its quest to be reunited with its owner. It's an allegorical tale which adults can relate to as well as children, especially the piano-playing bits.

You're quite well known in knitting circles as well, for your artistic work. Can you tell us about that?

Sometimes I have a lot of time between takes, and I knit to keep my hands supple. I started a project in early 1997 to knit a scale model of the entire human body and so far I have completed most of the major internal organs. More recently I have been working on the brain, but it's very difficult to get the texture quite right. I've just finished the medulla oblongata and am now moving on to the olfactory lobe. Eventually I would like to exhibit my work and I am hoping it will be as popular as the display of stuffed people, you know, by that funny German fellow.

Knitting internal organs does seem a very specialist area. How did you get started with that?

I've always had a keen interest in certain parts of the human body. When I was young I used to make necklaces and it wasn't long before I was turning them into spinal columns or alimentary tracts instead. I used to give them away but somehow people weren't that keen to wear simulated organs around their necks. So I changed medium, and after experimenting with Meccano for a few months I moved on to knitting, which is much better. People definitely use the small pink handbags I have made for them even though they're based on a knitting pattern for testicles.

So do you consider yourself to be a creative person?

Oh yes. Many people have told me that I am highly creative, but that I am simply not adequately skilled. I think the evidence speaks for itself, though. Just look at some of my films.

What do you get up to in the evenings?

Well, darling, after a hard day at it at work I like to relax in the bath with a glass of champagne. Sometimes I like to spend time with my friends, business associates or other people, but usually I am on my own in the bath.

If you had an industrial quantity of Miracle Whip, what would you do with it?

Actually, I think we probably do have one of those on the film set. We need a lot of Miracle Whip for this film, you see. There's one scene with four girls bathing in it, though of course they can't stay in too long for safety reasons. And some of the other scenes use a lot, too, for a lot of other reasons.

Where would you be most likely to be seen?

On Latvian TV, darling. They're doing re-runs of some of the old soap operas I was doing at the start of my career. After the lap-dancing, that is. It's amazing how much people like it in the Baltic.

And finally: What would you most like to see on the Ready, Steady, Chuck! web pages?

I'd love it if the celebrity chefs were able to get more exposure, either on the web or the television. They just have so much to give and I don't think people are taking advantage of them enough. A webcam in the kitchen like the one in my bedroom might be fun, don't you think?

Interviewer: Yes, I'll definitely check that out. Thank you, Chef Olga. You have been most revealing.