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tough cook-ie Celebrity chef Rachel Allen opens up about the impact of her son's drug conviction

Chef's son, Joshua Allen, hit the headlines last year after he pleaded guilty to possession of over €22,000 worth of cannabis for sale and supply

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Lucy Kennedy chats with Rachel Allen about the publicity surrounding her son's drug conviction

Lucy Kennedy chats with Rachel Allen about the publicity surrounding her son's drug conviction

Lucy Kennedy chats with Rachel Allen about the publicity surrounding her son's drug conviction

Rachel Allen has said "parenthood is so hard" as she opens up about her son's drug conviction for the first time in detail.

The TV chef's son, Joshua Allen, hit the headlines last year after he pleaded guilty to possession of over €22,000 worth of cannabis for sale and supply.

The 21-year-old received a 15-month suspended sentence after being caught with the drugs at the family's famous Ballymaloe Cookery School, in Co. Cork, in 2018.

Following his conviction, Rachel released a statement saying she would continue to support her son while admitting he made a mistake.

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Joshua Allen pictured leaving Cork Circuit Criminal Court

Joshua Allen pictured leaving Cork Circuit Criminal Court

Joshua Allen pictured leaving Cork Circuit Criminal Court

In September, Joshua was back before the courts on a separate drugs charge. He is currently out on bail after he was convicted for possession of €280 of cocaine in East Cork last year. He is due to have an appeal against his conviction for minor drug possession heard in December.

Speaking to Lucy Kennedy on tomorrow night's episode of Living with Lucy, the celeb chef opened up about the impact the conviction had on her family.

She says: "I do get into the sea and sometimes shout underwater. With Josh, with the whole drugs thing, it has definitely brought home to me that parenthood is so hard - but it really is."

"You seem so calm, did you not go absolutely mental?" Lucy asked.

"Of course, of course," she laughed. "Did you shout and scream?" Lucy asked. "Absolutely, but you have to just be there and try and throw all the support that you can - to try and get to a better place," Rachel said.

"He's still so young, and I know we still have a distance to go but being your child, anyone who's a parent will know that you're there for them, you will put your life on the line to support, to help - to do every single thing you can.

"Do you think it would have got less attention had he not been your child?" Kennedy continued, in a gentle mother-to-mother chat with the 49-year-old television star.

"Oh absolutely - and for that I feel really bad, and for that I feel absolutely responsible."

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Speaking to the Sunday World, Lucy opened up about filming the sensitive scenes with Rachel.

"I was very mindful of [Rachel's recent difficulties], because mum to mum, we all want the best for our children. Who knows what the future holds for all of us, so who am I to judge?" she said.

"I have a son and two daughters, so I kinda said to Rachel: 'Look, we'll talk about Josh but we'll do this as mum to mum because it's obviously very personal, and it's legal, and obviously I don't want to upset or offend you or your child'.

"I think, working in the media, now and again we all need to remind ourselves that there are real people with feelings reading and so I did not want him, for her child, and he's still her child, to watch and be discussed on the telly," Lucy said.

While Lucy filmed the Virgin Media show in Cork, she met Rachel's family, including her husband Isaac, mother in law Darina, daughter Scarlett and of course, Josh.

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Lucy Kennedy and Rachel Allen after a dip

Lucy Kennedy and Rachel Allen after a dip

Lucy Kennedy and Rachel Allen after a dip

"[Josh is] like anybody's son really, he's no different to anybody else, he's just a normal 21-year-old boy... He's just like a normal guy with a famous parent," she said of meeting the young man.

"I do think - and I suppose it's just something that comes with the job - if your parent is famous, more people are going to read about your mistakes."

When asked if she was nervous asking Rachel about Josh, Lucy joked that she isn't afraid of the hard questions after living with a particularly controversial personality.

"Nah, not at all, sure I lived with Katie Hopkins! But I am always mindful of people's feelings," she said. "Because I always think 'would I let someone into my house? To discuss my children with me?' Absolutely not. I wouldn't."

Lucy says that asking the difficult questions depends on how you ask.

"There's a nice way to ask every question. I think that's why people let me in, and people still let me into their house, is because they trust me. They trust me, that I don't take their decision to let me into their lives lightly," she says.

Gushing about her admiration for Rachel, Lucy reveals she has been invited back to Cork - but this time without the cameras in tow.

"She's lovely. She's exactly how you'd expect her to be, the girl next door. She greets everybody with a warm smile, she's a lovely person and she's brilliant with people," Lucy says.

"She really looked after us. She's just amazing. She has a lovely gentle manner, she's very gentle and she's got a wicked sense of humour.


"A lot of people don't know this but she's great craic!

"I'm mad about Rachel Allen, in fact, and I don't feel this way about everybody, but I did say to her 'we should be friends' and she said 'yeah, we should.'"

l Living with Lucy airs Monday, November 15, at 9pm on Virgin Media One.

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