About Time You Met: Nicola MillbankBy Angelica Malin
Nicola Millbank has already made a name for herself as an actress, starring in TV hits such as Silent Witness, Mount Pleasant and Mr Selfridge. When Milly (her well-loved nickname) isn’t learning lines, she’s whipping up wholesome dishes in her kitchen, and as a result of her foodie love, is releasing a cookbook next year.
Milly lives by the mantra that we shouldn’t exclude any food groups or latch onto trendy diets. And you know what, we totally agree.
You have your fingers in many pies, is it hard to manage different career demands?
In recent months I’ve been stretching myself thin but I love every second of it. My filming schedule has allowed time for me to work on the book and when I wrap I’m into full-on writing mode! I’ve never been one to sit idle, I feel like I’m rotting away, so keeping busy has always been in my bones, it’s just really important to take time out for you and make time for friends and family.
You’ve done incredibly well in your career so far, what’s your secret to success?
Gosh thank you! Well, I have my mother’s words ringing in my ears ‘Dignity’. It’s something she taught me very early on to treat yourself and others with respect if you want to be taken seriously. Work hard and play hard, it’s important to have time to switch off and crack open a bottle of wine. But above all I think, be humble and be kind. I’ve met so many people in my industry tainted with arrogance and it’s such an ugly quality. I immediately switch off from listening to someone who is always talking about themselves or about other people behind their backs.
Are you one of those 24 hour work people who never switch off? How do you switch off?
I’m guilty of being on social media all the time and I hate that but sadly it’s a huge part of our lives and it’s become a significant part of my career. I’m always flicking through my accounts last thing at night and first thing in the morning; I should stop doing that. Whenever I need to get away for an hour or two, I take the dog out and we go for a long walk in the park. I have a miniature dachshund called Darcey, she’s my perfect companion in the day and has been there through everything: writing, meetings, photoshoots, the lot.
What inspired the recipes in your new cookbook?
Good, honest home cooking. I’ve always had quite a healthy attitude to food, I don’t cut out food groups and I live by the simple motto of ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good’ so my book has everything from dim sum and salad to ragu and cheesecake in it. Self-diagnsoed food intolerances and advice from “health-gurus” that bread is the devil is quite frankly absurd and I’m bored with it. If you simply want to enjoy your food and eat well then eat everything in moderation. My fabulous Grandfather is 100 years old and if I told him to stop eating cake, bread and roast beef he’d call me a lunatic. His age and unbelievably good health is testament to his diet and he sure as fig didn’t eliminate any food groups from his growing up.
Where’s your favourite place to go out to eat in London?
I have so many that’s an impossible question to answer but I cook a lot at home so when my boyfriend and I do go out we like to usually go for sushi or American food. I’ve been going to the Big Easy for over a decade, their voodoo wings are unbeatable.
What’s your food vice?
Cheese. I love cheese. The really stinky, blow your socks off, evacuate the building type of cheese, with fancy crackers, lots of fig chutney and a glass of red wine. Heaven. Suck on that #CleanEating!
Do you always cook for your boyfriend?
Yes. I am control freak in the kitchen, it’s part of my DNA as a cook so when he starts shovelling paprika into my Bolognese I go bonkers. Ironically he’s actually a very good cook … if I only I could remember what he used to cook me?! We always hold dinner parties with friends and family and he’s my trusty sous chef, chopping onion and garlic into tiny pieces with enviable speed and precision. I myself, have appalling knife skills and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I just use a blender.
Photo Credit: Top two images – Susanna Blavarg
Photo Credit: All other images – Nicola Millbank