The Shape I'm In: Fitness on the menu for Neven Maguire

SUPERCHEF Neven Maguire is stirring things up on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Shape I'm In: Fitness on the menu for Neven Maguire

He recently returned from a six-day trip to the States, taking in New York and Philadelphia, where he did television work for QVC and launched his latest cookbook, Neven's Country Living.

Back home, current projects include working on a new book — his 100 top recipes — and a new Home Chef series, his sixth with RTE.

Married to Amelda, he gets up a few times a night to tend to their 15-month-old twins, Conor and Lucia. The lively duo have recently started walking. “They are in great form, thank God,” says Neven, 38, who owns and runs MacNean House and Restaurant in Co Cavan.

What shape are you in?

I had a bad start to the year with an awful cold and chest infection. I had to go on two different doses of antibiotics. I’ve never had that before. I must have been a bit run down. I am an awful lot better now.

Have you any health concerns?

None apart from the everlasting cold.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

Good seasonal local food and lots of vegetables and fish. The twins like fish already, they eat it a few times a week. We recently went to Portugal and I was so happy to see them enjoying salmon.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I have a sweet tooth. I will always eat dessert. Right now I would love vanilla ice cream, poached pear and hot fudge sauce with toasted flaked almonds. I’d nearly eat two of them, but the pear is one of my five a day!

What keeps you awake at night?

The twins — I would get up maybe twice or three times a night for a few minutes, just to give them a bottle. I am a light sleeper. If anyone opens the door I would wake up but thankfully I do not seem to need a lot of sleep. I can survive on five hours. Usually it’s 2am by the time I go to bed and I could be up by 7am. I'm usually full of beans and good form when I wake up.

How do you relax?

Watching Man United — I’ve supported the team from the age of 12. I am the only boy in the family who supports them, the rest are Liverpool supporters, even my twin brother. I always tell them they have no taste. I also enjoy walks with the family in the open air locally.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Del Boy, Barack Obama, Mary Kennedy, Marty Whelan, Mary McAleese, Roy Keane, Katie Taylor and Liam Neeson

What is your favourite smell?

Fresh vanilla pod — it’s the real deal. I have seen them growing in Bali and Mauritius — I absolutely adore vanilla in desserts.

What would like to change about your appearance?

I’d love to lose some weight and keep in shape and that’s what I’m going to do this summer. I am going to get much fitter and do a couple of 10k runs for charity. I love training. I have my own gym at home — the best investment ever.

I enjoy my food but I’ll end up like a little Telly Tubby if I’m not careful. Sadly, I won’t ever have a six-pack now.

When did you last cry?

When mum Vera passed away last October — and a few times since when I thought of her unexpectedly. She battled lung cancer very hard — she had it for a year and a half. She was a beautiful woman. She got to meet the twins and that was a great thing.

What trait do you least like in others?

Greed, jealousy and dishonesty.

What trait do you least like in yourself?

I can’t say no. I am very much a people person and I love being with people.

Do you pray?

Yes. I enjoy Mass with the family. It was instilled in me by my mother.

What would cheer up your day

The twins smiling first thing in the morning at about 7am. Just to see their wee faces makes you say, how lucky I am, how special life is.

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