Great British Bake Show champ Nadiya Hussain tells PEOPLE about her new Netflix series Time to Eat

By Dave Quinn
May 14, 2020 12:32 PM
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It’s been 5 years since Nadiya Hussain was crowned the champion of the sixth season of The Great British Bake Show, and it's safe to say life has considerably changed for this first-generation British Bangladeshi.

With four cookbooks, a novel, an autobiography, her own homeware range, a recurring column in The Times Magazine, a contributing editor gig at UK’s biggest food channel BBC’s Good Food, and multiple television specials under her belt, Hussain has become one of the most visible food personalities working today.

All this while juggling three young kids at home: sons Musa, 13, and Dawud, 12, and daughter, Maryam, 9 — all of whom she shares with husband Abdal.

Just last month, Netflix debuted Time to Eat, Hussain latest show. The six-part series, which originally premiered on the BBC, finds Hussain sharing her delicious stress-free recipes and best time-saving tips to help at-home cooks spend more time with those who matter.

"No matter how busy we are, with my simple go-to dishes, we can all find time to eat," she says.

Nadiya Hussain
| Credit: S Meddle/ITV/Shutterstock

Here, Hussain tells PEOPLE all about the new series, shares her favorite cheeky time-smart hack,  and discusses whether she'll ever return to The Great British Baking Show.

PEOPLE: It's been a wild ride since you won The Great British Baking Show in 2015. Is this the life you always imagined for yourself?

Hussain: "Not at all. I never imagined I would be doing what I am doing today. But I think that is the reason why I appreciate it more. It wasn’t a goal, it wasn’t a plan, so what I do today feels like a blessing and I love every second of it."

What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years?

"To be true to myself. It’s easy to be pulled and pushed around. I’ve found that when I am true to myself about every decision I make, the path becomes mine and a journey I am proud to travel."

With all you’re doing, how have you found the time to balance your career with your three children?

"I’m very lucky that I have the security of a home and children, A place where I feel loved, special, secure and part of a team. They keep me grounded. When we are at home, we have maintained a strict policy of making sure we do all household chores together, we clean the house on a Sunday, animals on a Thursday and when we do these things I feel balance in a world where I do a job that it’s public facing."

What so fun about Time to Eat is you show viewers delicious, quick recipes that are effortless to make. How do you to come up with these tricks?

"A lot of my best recipes come to me when I’m in bed. Which is frustrating because then I can’t sleep and have to get up to test the recipe!"

The show is also so different from your other specials. Is there something specific that inspired this series?

"I am open about budgeting, minimizing food waste and using the electrical equipment in our houses properly. I love shortcuts, tinned, frozen and dried, all these things free up time to do other things we love."

What’s the easiest hack when it comes to making a hearty meal in a hurry? You’ve shown a bunch in the show, including using canned potatoes, spaghetti hoops, etc. Is there a favorite?

"Making a double amount! If you’re in a hurry but manage to cook double and freeze one half that means you have freed up time next week and that has to be better than anything else! Not only are you eating now but you are making time for the following week!"

So many people have rediscovered a love for cooking and baking during the worldwide stay-at-home orders. What recipes have you been turning to the most?

"Lots of one pot meals, stews and curries, but we have really enjoyed making a massive scrap soup at the end of the week to make sure we are not wasting any veg!"

Have you kept up with Bake Off since your time on the show?

"On and off. I watch it when I can and binge most of it!"

Are you still in touch with your old cast mates?

"Yes, we talk; we are all so busy. We have children and work, but yes we have a good old catch up occasionally."

Would you ever consider returning to the series to compete in a holiday special?

"I have never thought about it and never been asked ... Who knows!"

Before we go, you’ve spoken openly about the past about your battle with a panic disorder. Has there been something you’ve done that’s really helped you get a handle on that?

"I find walking really helps me de-stress. I’m not good at doing things for me and walking alone is something I really do for myself"

Time to Eat is streaming now on Netflix.