Daniel Green in Dubai

Brit celebrity chef on why he doesn't hate fat people

Interview, Hot seat, The Knowledge

Daniel, welcome to Dubai. Do you have plans to do any sightseeing while you’re here?
Sadly not, but I was here 10 years ago, so I got to do some then.

Quite a bit has changed since then.
Yes, I suppose it has.

If you did have time, what would you like to do?
Hit the beach. It’s -10°C at the moment back in Minnesota [where Daniel is based].

What are you doing while you’re here?
I’ve teamed up with Dusit Hotels to develop healthy-eating menus and do some demonstrations. I’ve got a gala dinner tonight, which you know about because some Time Out readers are coming.

You’re a model, a cook and a TV presenter, but which of these is your forte?
I’m definitely not a model – that was many years ago. My day-to-day job is presenting on Shop NBC, which is one of the biggest shopping networks in America. But, from what I’ve done on the cooking side, being a healthy-eating chef is what I think I’m all about.

How do you find time to write your books between full-time presenting and all these soirées abroad?
I have six cookbooks, but that has been over the past decade. I also endorse a fat-free cheese in America and I have a weekly show called Kitchen Takeover.

Which celebrity chefs do you like and dislike?
Well, I don’t like the English one that pretended he was a chef for Buckingham Palace and got his own show in America [Robert Irvine, formerly of Dinner Impossible].

Is he giving Brits abroad a bad name?
Absolutely. The fact that he got thrown off the Food Network for lying then got another gig is amazing. Otherwise, I admire the style of cooking of Australian chefs Bill Granger and Kylie Kwong – the way they put things together.

Being a British presenter on an American shopping channel, do you get a lot of attention from bored American housewives?
I don’t know about that, but we [broadcast to] 70 million homes, so you do get a lot of coverage there. But the English [accent] definitely goes a long way – especially in the Midwest.

What kind of things do you sell on the Shopping Channel?
They brought me in to concentrate on food. We sell food, pots and pans – I actually have my own line – and things like that, but somehow I’m selling a lot of watches.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to sell?
Oh, there have been lots of things. Probably the spin-mop.

We read on your website that you were overweight as a child, then decided to lose a load of weight. What was that all about?
Well, I just didn’t feel good about myself. That’s how I got into healthy cooking and developing recipes in a different way to how chefs normally cook.

Okay. So it’s not that you hate fat people?
Oh no.

Try Daniel’s healthy-eating options at the Dusit Thani Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 343 3333).

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