Hairy Biker Dave Myers prepares for Harrogate’s BBC Good Food Show
PUBLISHED: 16:37 17 March 2014 | UPDATED: 16:38 17 March 2014
Meet one half of the Hairy Bikers – TV chef and dancing diva Dave Myers – as he prepares for Harrogate’s BBC Good Food Show. Annie Stirk reports
Dave Myers, the whiskery partner and cooking comrade of similarly hirsute Si King, will be whipping up a storm at the BBC Good Food Show which arrives for the first time in Harrogate next month.
Up to 15,000 visitors are expected at the springtime version of the food and drink extravaganza and Dave for one will be glad to be there, back to his northern roots. ‘I’m absolutely thrilled the show is in Harrogate this year,’ says the 55-year-old TV chef, best known for his biking adventures around Britain in Best of British, Meals on Wheels and Mums Know Best. ‘I was born in Cumbria and as a child we’d often visit Harrogate for a day out, popping into Betty’s Tea Rooms of course.’
Dave will be taking to the food show stage with Mary Berry but is keeping his menu firmly under wraps although ‘it will definitely have a Yorkshire flavour,’ he confides. ‘There may even be a few Yorkshire puddings. And we’re both really excited to be back cooking in front of a live audience again. It’s an honour to be sharing the stage with such fantastic talent – John Torode, James Martin – and for us foodies, the show is like the best party invitation you can get.’
Dave says the county can’t be beaten for the breadth and depth of its food. ‘There’s so much going on in Yorkshire – it has fishing ports and farmland and fantastic cities; it’s the whole deal,’ he says. ‘We’ve met with Andrew Pern at The Star at Harome, and eaten fish and chips in Whitby, but I love it most for its baking and breads including those famous Yorkshire curd tarts.’
Dave says they remind him of his mum’s regular baking at home. ‘Mum was a good old-fashioned home cook and each week there would be a Victoria sponge or some other kind of cake in the kitchen. That’s what it’s like in Yorkshire too, generous food in generous portions.’
However, it was these generous portions that helped Dave and Si’s weight spiral out of control two years ago. ‘We loved good food but there was no getting away from it, we were getting too much of a good thing,’ says Dave. When doctors broke the news that they were clinically obese, the pair knew they had to take action and the Hairy Dieters show of August 2012 documented their weight loss journey.
‘The epiphany came for me when I realised how much we had been consuming on an average lunchtime,’ says Dave. ‘Touring by road, you obviously stop at lots of service stations and we’d both buy the average lunch – a sandwich, packet of crisps, a chocolate bar and a drink – and, although we felt we were having a small lunch, we were in fact eating around 1,000 calories each.’
Losing three stone during the filming, Dave says he’s still managed to keep it off. ‘Booze was a major factor and once we gave that up – and the processed food – the weight just dropped off.’
So as the TV show title suggested, is it possible to Love Food and Lose Weight? ‘Yes definitely,’ says Dave. ‘The recipes I use Monday to Friday are still tasty but much healthier. For example, I’ll do a crispy baked chicken with Parmesan breadcrumbs and a yoghurt dressing and the whole thing is 300 calories.
‘My advice is don’t try to exclude any particular food group but rethink your favourites, and stop being a scale-phobic and let the weight creep up again.’
Of course, Dave’s been lucky enough to find the dieter’s perfect partner – dancing – and in the last series of Strictly Come Dancing he reached week seven with professional dancer Karen Hauer.
‘I toned up an awful lot on Strictly, and although there was no access to weighing scales, every two weeks you’d get measured for your Latin costume and I had to have the trousers taken in each time,’ he says.
Dave adds that the whole experience was both ‘bizarre and brilliant’. ‘Dancing with Karen was amazing but I don’t know how the people with real jobs combined the training with their day job,’ he jokes. ‘We were doing 35 hours a week and I ended up seeing more of Karen than my wife
‘But when you go out on to that dance floor and there’s only the two of you being watched by 11.4 million people, that’s incredible.’ Although he was voted out, after a reported ‘backlash from viewers’, he did manage some favourable comments from the judges.
‘Head judge Len Goodman said I reminded him of a low budget airline – great value but a bit bumpy in places – and I was happy with that,’ says Dave. ‘I was worried the whole thing might damage my dignity but what better way for a middle-aged man to spend his time than with the World Mambo Champion.’
Dave pays tribute to his mum for instilling in him a love of cookery, but while he helped out a lot as a child it was when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis that his repertoire was forced to expand.
‘When my mum got MS, my father took over the cooking with varying degrees of success,’ says Dave. ‘And in a way, learning to cook became a necessity for me at that time so I could help look after the family.’
Since then, and after a varied career that has seen him operating a furnace in a steelworks to becoming a make-up artist specialising in prosthetics, he’s discovered many new and interesting styles of cookery.
‘When I was training at art school in London, I got my first taste of Asian food and I haven’t stopped since,’ says Dave. ‘Of course the best place for a great curry is Bradford and my wife, who is a dressmaker, often goes there for fabrics and we always make a day of it with a good Yorkshire curry.’
In fact, Asian food is the theme of the Hairy Bikers new series – The Hairy Bikers’ Asian Adventure – which went on air in February and sees them biking through Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and Korea.
But despite his jet-setting lifestyle, Dave says he loves being based in Britain.
‘I feel lucky to live here as we have such a cosmopolitan flavour. It’s our own little world; with our own lovely local food but the ability to have Indian, Italian, Chinese any night of the week too if we want to.’
The BBC Good Food Show Spring runs from April 25th-27th at Harrogate International Conference Centre. To find out more go to
bbcgoodfoodshowspring.com or call 0844 581 1358