The actuality star turned singer chats to Katie Wright as she launches her first cookbook.
Soon after profitable The X-Element: Superstar at the stop of 2019 and landing a offer with Simon Cowell’s report label, Megan McKenna was on the brink of getting her singing profession to the subsequent stage. But then the pandemic strike.
Was the actuality Tv set star – who found fame on exhibits like Ex On The Beach, Celebrity Significant Brother and The Only Way Is Essex – gutted she had to place her tunes plans on hold?
“Every little thing transpires in a strange way,” she claims on a Zoom simply call from her household in Essex. “I have experienced time to do my producing and get all my materials prepared. It has held items back again, but which is wonderful – it held the complete planet again, not just me.”
In reality, McKenna, who went to a accomplishing arts faculty and introduced her debut album Story Of Me in 2018, relished the probability to gradual down for when.
“I have been mad for however lots of yrs I have been accomplishing Tv set – 7 or eight several years. So to actually have time to do me… I was at property, I’m so blessed to have a attractive property with a backyard.”
Passionate about cooking, the 29-year-old bought fast paced in the kitchen as an alternative. She shared cooking videos with her 2.4m Instagram followers, and identified her gluten-totally free recipes struck a chord.
Diagnosed with coeliac disorder – wherever your immune technique assaults your individual tissues when you eat gluten – and a wheat allergy in her teenagers, McKenna is aware the stigma that can appear with a gluten-no cost diet regime.
“Persons routinely feel you happen to be fussy. They’re like, ‘Oh, you are just just one of them, you are just gluten-free’. But no, basically, it can make me truly, seriously ill,” suggests the London-born celeb.
“With wheat, I get hives, allergic reactions. With the coeliac, it can be more of a lifelong autoimmune ailment. So if I hold eating [gluten], in afterwards daily life it can lead to problems.”
You will find no cure for the issue, but McKenna, who is in a marriage with business operator Josh Riley (“we’re incredibly content and he enjoys my cooking, which is often a reward,” is all she’ll say on that subject), has discovered to get over the shame she made use of to feel about currently being unique.
“I constantly utilised to say to my mum ‘I want I was normal’. When you happen to be at school, you just want to have college dinners, you don’t actually want to stand out, do you? I did experience a little little bit like the odd one out.
“But my mum has usually been the most extraordinary cook, and has been ready to cook for me from scratch. This is what I wished to put throughout in the e book: you never have to take in a salad, you you should not have to consume dull [things]. You can consume pastries, you can consume cake.”
That guide is Can You Make That Gluten-Cost-free? – and the title is motivated by the culinary dilemma McKenna gets requested the most.
In it, she shares the recipes she swears by, such as the fluffy, American-model pancakes that are her weekday breakfast go-to, the Sunday staple of beef and crispy roasties, and a host of vibrant cakes and puds.
“The ebook isn’t just for allergy persons,” she insists. “Some of the recipes in the book are by natural means gluten-cost-free in any case. That’s just how I prepare dinner.”
McKenna, who was identified on fact Television set for her fiery identity, showed off her skills on Superstar Masterchef in 2021, earning it to the closing just before being pipped to the publish by Paralympian Kadeena Cox.
“Just about every single person on the judging panel explained they would never know it was gluten-cost-free,” she recollects. “I know I can make the foods flavor awesome, that is why I’m so self-confident with this reserve. I actually assume it is going to transform people’s lives.”
Owning guested on so a lot of Television set reveals, would she like to entrance her have cooking collection? “That would be astounding! I hardly ever know what’s in the pipeline, but getting ready to make men and women realise you can consume awesome [gluten-free food] is my objective.”
Music is her other massive emphasis. Right after touring with Michael Ball and Alfie Boe in 2021, the singer is gearing up to release extra audio quickly, and hints at some “genuinely thrilling major items coming up”.
And with a huge 3- in September, she’s energized about what the long term retains. “I sense like my 30s are likely to be the ideal time of my everyday living. I experience like my 20s have been a studying curve. I’ve carried out a good deal in my 20s – a good deal – and I experience like I’ve moulded into who I am now.”
She continues: “I’ve learnt from all my mistakes, I have grown up, I’ve acquired my property. So I assume my 30s will be about residing my aspiration.”
Can You Make That Gluten-Free of charge? by Megan McKenna is revealed by Hamlyn, priced £20. Photography by Louise Hagger. Readily available now.