Celeb chef Rachel Allen says she ‘can’t bring herself’ to watch her son’s MMA fights
Joshua, who hit the headlines after being convicted and jailed for drug offences, took up MMA last year
Celebrity chef Rachel Allen reveals she still hasn’t brought herself to watch one of her son Joshua’s MMA fights as she’s terrified of seeing him get hurt.
Joshua — who hit the headlines after being convicted and jailed for drug offences — has taken up the sport in the past year and has won several fights.
Rachel admits she’s proud of all three of her children and their varied interests, but admits she’s concerned about injuries to Joshua in the octagon, or to son Lucca on the racetrack where he is a Formula 4 driver.
“Isaac, my husband, goes to every single one, every single race and every single fight,” Rachel (50) tells the Sunday World.
“I have gone to some races, I can’t say I don’t watch the racing from behind my eyes. But MMA, I haven’t brought myself to watch that yet. I like to say that I support him 100 per cent while I’m at home praying to my father and husband that everything will be OK. I definitely will have to go some time.”
Dubliner Rachel went to the Ballymaloe cookery school in Co Cork at the age of 18 to do a course where she met and fell in love with Isaac, who is part of the Allen dynasty there.
She says her three kids, Joshua (22), Lucca (20) and Scarlett (13), all have good culinary skills at their Co Cork home.
“Scarlett, she bakes a lot, she’s always baking,” she exclaims. “I was always baking at that age too and that can be just a lovely thing to do on your own or with your friends, they love all baking together in someone’s house or a cousin’s house. So, who knows?
“Josh is into cooking when he’s training. He needs to eat certain things higher in protein. So he will cook well for himself in that respect, and Lucca is the same. Quite often with the training angle as well.”
Joshua first fell foul of the law in 2018 at the age of 18 when he was charged with drugs offences. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison, with the second half suspended and backdated, after he pleaded guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to possession for sale or supply of more than €22,000 worth of cannabis.
Despite going into rehab and seemingly getting his life back on track, he was caught with cocaine for his own personal use. Even a direct plea to the courts from his granny, Darina Allen, to give him another chance could not spare Joshua getting a seven-month jail sentence.
His troubles were something Rachel publicly addressed for the first time when she tearfully confessed to Lucy Kennedy on her ‘Living With Lucy’ TV show that it ailed her.
Rachel admitted to Lucy she felt “really bad” and “really responsible” for the attention her son’s conviction received, given her public profile.
“With Josh, with the whole drugs thing, it’s brought home to me that parenthood is so hard,” she said on the Virgin Media programme last November.
“He’s still so young, I know we still have a distance to go, but anyone who is a parent knows you are there for them, you will literally put your life on the line to support, to help, to do everything you can.
“You just have to be there and try and throw all the support that you can into trying to get to a better place.”
The TV chef has not commented publicly since Joshua’s latest court appearance.
During the Living With Lucy episode viewers got to see Rachel sea swimming, a hobby she says she took up during the pandemic.
“I took up sea swimming before lockdown. Every day. I just love it,” she tells us. “Living With Lucy was a hoot, she’s just great.”
Rachel will return to our screens next week when alongside Marco Pierre White and a guest chef, she will judge six celebrities on Virgin Media’s ‘The Restaurant’.
The new series will feature Ireland rugby star Devin Toner, actress Demi Isaac Oviawe – from The Young Offenders and Dublin GAA legend Philly McMahon, broadcaster and social media star Doireann Garrihy, Olympic silver medallist and world champion rower Gary O’Donovan and comedian Deirdre O’Kane.
And Rachel admits that she is delighted to be back on the show. “It’s great. I was so delighted when they said ‘it’s back and would you like to do it again’,” she says.
“ I really enjoy it. Sitting in a restaurant you have a surprise menu, you don’t know what you’re going to get.
“I love that. I just love the experience of getting to sit and spend time with Marco, and then our guest judges are always great, it’s a dream job, it’s just lovely.”
She also enjoyed all the guest chefs.
“It was great. They must have been practising a lot of cooking over Covid, because the standard was very high,” beams Rachel.
“There seems to be a nice bit of confidence. The judges weren’t overly fussy. Demi, I should have guessed her because she was cooking some food with a West African twist and some Cork hints, I should have guessed her because I love the Young Offenders. When she came out, she said, ‘you should have guessed it was me, I’m from Cork’. She’s exactly like she is on the programme, she made me laugh. As of course did Deirdre O’Kane.”
Rachel herself still loves being in the kitchen.
“I love baking. I like cooking everything. I love working with fish, because I love filleting it, I love preparing. If I’m in a comforting mood it could be as something as simple as roast chicken, or spicy noodle stir fry.”
The Restaurant is on Tuesday on Virgin Media One at 9pm and on the Virgin Media Player.
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