Liam Charles on the Importance of Indulgence
Liam Charles is a breath of fresh air. At 22, the hugely in-demand TV presenter and author has a winning, puppyish energy and enthusiasm that makes him such a warm and welcoming presence on the small screen.
What’s more, Liam wants us all to actively enjoy food, even if – heck, especially if – that means indulging your sweet tooth.
“Don’t get me wrong: I work out five or six times a week, I do eat relatively healthily, but there are times when you can have a slice of cake,” he says. “It’s all about balance.” (We promise we didn’t pay him to say that).
“Don’t teach people to go so far left where they feel like they’re restricting themselves,” he adds. “You have to find the balance between everything. Also, I’m down for healthy baking, but to this day I think the best cake recipe is when you use butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Don’t get me wrong, alternative cakes, I’ve tried them. However…” He trails off, suggesting they don’t quite hit the sweet spot.
“Veganism is great for people who have found the balance,” he continues. “However, what I’ve found is that some people are doing it for trend’s sake. No disrespect to anyone, but some books, there is no substance to them. They’re doing it because it’s a cash cow.”
Indeed, if you’re yearning for a book that isn’t all about watching what you eat, then Second Helpings is your bible. Liam explains: “Obviously you do have indulgent recipes, there are lighter healthier dishes too. I wanted to see how I live my day-to-day through food. There’s shakes and juices, but there’s also cakes, doughnuts… It’s 65 per cent indulgent, 35 per cent healthier. You can have healthier food without restricting tasty stuff.”
The food world’s gain is drama’s loss. “It’s funny because I studied drama at uni and I wanted to become an actor,” he says. “Then there was one year I said to myself: ‘I’m going to go for it.’ I didn’t realise that until I started to develop my own recipes, there’s a dramatic element to it. Then doing Bake Off and my own show The Professionals, it combines my two loves.” He adds: “I’ve fused my two passions – which are food and performing – so it’s not even like I’m working.”
For more recipes like this, get your hands on a copy of Second Helpings by Liam Charles – available now on Amazon.