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Kirsty Wark Hosts a Question of Taste

3rd January 2012

Newsnight presenter, facilitator, after dinner speaker and awards host Kirsty Warkis moving to primetime to front A Question of Taste - the toughest food quiz on BBC 2!

The Scottish newsreader answered a Q&A for Digital Spy, in which she revealed her love of food, cooking and knowledge!

DS: Do you enjoy being interviewed rather than doing the interviewing for a change?
KW: "Well, I think I prefer doing the interviewing, but it's fine, it's fine."

DS:Why should people be interested in A Question of Taste?
KW:"I think of it as entertaining and also quite exacting. It will really test people's cookery knowledge. I think it's as fun to play along at home as it is in the studio.

"What's really great about the show though is the teams. We have two teams of three and they have such passion for food and cooking. They love to create their own recipes, they might be a supper club, a wine society or just a group of friends. And they love taking part because it drills down into their own knowledge and really challenges them."

DS:Do you think there's a demand for a cookery quiz show?
KW:"I think so. I think there's so much interest in the food industry. I also think the people at home know more than they think they know, that's the other thing. They've picked up things from their own cooking, their families cooking or what they have read. It's something you can test yourself against. But you've had a go yourself at the quiz - how did you find it?"

DS:I found it bloody hard!
KW:"[Laughs] It's meant to be quite tough, but it's not supposed to be off-putting. You were probably thrown in at the deep end as a journalist, not someone who knew what they letting themselves get in for. You might not be that passionate about food... or maybe you are..."

DS:I thought I knew about food before today...
KW:"[Laughs] It is a tough quiz. But it's a quiz you can master, it's a quiz you can enjoy even if you don't know anything, because you'll be taking away so much knowledge from it. I'll tell you what I found surprising. I was shocked by the amount of gameplay there was. They were competitive. Really competitive. They are so passionate about what they do and they want to win."

DS:Are you hoping for this show to become a big, long-running format?
KW:"Hopefully it will be a big show and hopefully it will be a family show. If you take the amount of kids that watch MasterChef, that's a huge proportion of their audience, I think a lot of those people will want to watch this."

DS:Has food always been a huge passion of yours?
KW:"It is and always has been a huge part of my life. I love cooking and I particularly love baking. I see it as an act of love, to be honest."

DS:Do people still offer to cook for you after your triumphant performances on MasterChef?
KW:"I adore whatever people cook for me. I hope people don't think I have high expectations. I have friends who cook for me and I love going to them for dinner. I'm an appreciative guest and I'm very rarely disappointed. So hopefully I won't stop getting invites. I haven't noticed that so far anyway. Maybe they will now you've mentioned it."

DS:Is it nice to do a more light-hearted show after years on Newsnight?
KW:"It is. It's interesting because the people who work on Newsnight and the people who watch Newsnight, all watch MasterChef. The idea that we compartmentalise our lives and if we like serious news shows, we can't like cooking shows, or if we like motorbikes, we can't be interested in politics, is nonsense. This show, like MasterChef, is just for people who like learning about lots of things."

DS:As a big face at the BBC, do you get sick of having to defend the broadcaster from attacks in the press? The most recent one was the Frozen Planet fakery incident...
KW:"The BBC is a very, very prominent organisation. There are always going to be as many brickbats as there are bouquets. I just think we have to ride with that. I thought Frozen Planet was one of the most wonderful shows of 2011. It was amazing. Breathtaking stuff."

DS:Do you feel there are jobs around for older women in the TV industry? Or are we still too youth-orientated?
KW:"I actually think there has been a conversation about this in 2010 and 2011. I think people have said, 'We actually want a bit of experience'. It's not that we don't want new faces, but people who are known to audiences and known to work well, will hopefully be given a chance to work until they are much older."

DS:Has doing MasterChef given you a taste for more reality TV?
KW:"Look, the thing is, I don't really regard MasterChef as a reality show. It's a challenge show and it gets tougher and harder each week. They want you to get better and better and I don't think it's a reality show. I think challenging yourself in different ways is really, really interesting.

"However, if you're about to ask me if I'll do Strictly Come Dancing, then the answer is no. I love dancing, but in my own space and with my own clothes on."

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