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foodie heaven 'I'm no Mary Berry,' says host of RTE's Battle of the Food Trucks James Patrice

The social media star is the face of RTÉ's chef show

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James Patrice is very appreciative to be living at home during the Covid pandemic.

James Patrice is very appreciative to be living at home during the Covid pandemic.

James Patrice is very appreciative to be living at home during the Covid pandemic.

If there are two things that have brought the Irish public joy during the pandemic, it's TV host James Patrice and food trucks.

Combine the two and you have an RTÉ Player original, Battle of the Food Trucks, where chefs from across Ireland will go head-to-head in a bid to be crowned Ireland's finest foodie on wheels by judges Eric Matthews and Gina Daly.

"I am certainly no Mary Berry but, my God, I enjoy food - clearly," laughs the self-deprecating presenter.

"It's not just about the food - they have different challenges each week.

"They might make the most delicious dish ever, but if it didn't really meet the brief, then they haven't done what they're supposed to.

"It's stressful, it's suspenseful, you're going to love it."

As one of Ireland's top social media stars, a reporter for RTÉ's Today Show and resident behind-the-scenes host on Dancing With The Stars, you'd think the 32-year-old would be used to being in the hot seat.

"At the end I am there with the green envelope in the hands, saying who's going home and, my goodness, my stomach was in my mouth.

"I was that close to taking a diarrhoea tablet to get through it.

"It is an advertisement for Irish chefs and for what's out there.

"They are from Dingle, from Clare - it celebrates Irish food and Irish talent and the people who have adapted in the last 18 months or so, getting to grips with Covid to get out there and make money and survive."

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In the wake of the pandemic, James hasn't just adapted, he has thrived, providing his 130k plus followers with bucket-loads of joy thanks to his raucous comedy sketches.

"I was at home, bored, with no creativity and having no outlet," he explains. "I started writing sketches to cheer myself up.

"It is very humbling to get messages from people saying, 'I've had a bad week and this has made me smile'.

"Sometimes nurses messaged me in the depths of the pandemic saying, 'We were all in the pits here and we just watched your videos and you've made us laugh'.

"For people to say thank you and all I am doing is sitting at home, having a bit of a laugh and they're saving the world, it's incredible really."

As well as 'Malahide woman', one of James's many onscreen alter egos, fans will also be familiar with his wonderful parents, Jim and Fron, and sister Vanessa.

"We were always very close but Covid made us closer," James says.

"They're my cheerleaders behind the scenes who happen to be ok with wearing wigs and false lashes. I'm still living at home and the way things are going at the moment, as a single person, I think I'd be a bit silly to go out and rent.

"Hopefully I will make a purchase in years to come. If I wasn't living at home and not living with friends, I probably would have been quite lonely, so it's been lovely to be at home with my family."

  • Catch James on the RTÉ Player this Thursday

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