Home Truths with Andi Oliver - find out what furniture she can't stand

The TV chef and BBC Great British Menu host gets up close and personal about her home (and the lengths she goes to to avoid a 'stingy sofa')

Andi Oliver smiling wearing a blue dress in front of a green wall
(Image credit: BBC/Optomen Television/Ashleigh Brown)

Recently, we've had the pleasure of watching Andi Oliver on our TV screens quite a lot... and we're all the better for it. Her passion and enthusiasm for life and her infectious laugh are such a tonic.  

She lives in Wanstead, East London with her partner Garfield Hackett, her Mum, and the dog she shares with daughter, Miquita.

What is the first thing you do the second you walk through your door?

I walk in, put my stuff down, hang my coat up and go to the fridge and see what's in it.

It's my comfort; I know where my coat is, I know where my bag is, I know what is in the fridge.

What is your favourite time of day at home?

I do like very early mornings these days. It's just all quiet and nobody is around to bother you. 

I also like coming up home in the afternoon when everyone is still out rushing around working and I've suddenly got a few hours off. I love a cosy afternoon on the sofa - it's my favourite thing in the whole world.

Where’s your happy place at home?

The sofa. We've got all these big new sofas from The Sofa Company and they're incredibly comfortable. The sofa is the heart of the home as far as I'm concerned. 

I cannot abide a stingy sofa that you can't really stretch out on. What is the point in living?

What's on your bedside table?

My water bottle, my Bernadine Evaristo book Girl, Woman, Other that I'm reading again, it's just too brilliant for words. And cocoa butter, because you always need cocoa butter.

I'm actually about to set up a tea station in my bedroom. I'm going to build a little shelf with some tea, a kettle and a little fridge with some oat milk in it. I want to be able to get up and make myself a cup of tea at any point if I need to.

Andi Oliver smiling with a fan in her hand

(Image credit: BBC/Optomen Television/Ashleigh Brown)

What’s your homeware addiction?

I'm really big on colourful heavy iron saucepans, I've got quite a lot of them from Le Creuset. But ProCook sent me this one the other day, which is gorgeous. It's like a big dark red, stew pot and I'm very fond of it already.

What are your home pet peeves?

I hate people leaving lids of things. My partner and I are in a silent war about him leaving lids of things in the bathroom. 

I've also got my kitchen really well organised, but just now I found a packet of rice in with the peanut butter... I mean, what's that doing there? They're just trying to upset me with that.

What smell says home to you?

The smell of stuff going on the BBQ. I have two massive very beautiful Weber BBQs that they very kindly sent me for Christmas, so I'm really excited to be out in my garden barbecuing like a lunatic this summer. I love barbecue food, I even barbecued my turkey last year.

Do you have a bad home habit you’d like to quit?

Putting laundry in and forgetting it's in there, then I have to redo it because I've left it overnight and it's started to smell funny. It really annoys me that I do that.

What chore do you love doing?

Weirdly, I quite like washing up. I like the sense of order that it brings. I do also like to organise the kitchen, there is nothing more satisfying than redoing the spice cupboard. Everything is labelled - oh yeah, now you're talking - freshly labelled spice cupboard.... hello!

Andi Oliver smiling wearing a blue dress in front of a green wall

(Image credit: Tom Mattey)

What chore do you hate doing?

Pick a chore, any chore, I hate it. I hate vacuuming, I can't stand it. Dusting is ridiculous, if you have time to dust, you should get a life, I think. 

I'm not very good at all that stuff, I do it but I'm not happy about it, let's put it that way.

Do you have any routines at home?

I like very early mornings these days. I get up at like 6am, I do half an hour on my Peloton and I potter around. 

I'm on HRT now so I put all my hormones on and let them soak into my body, and by the time I've done that other people are starting to get up and I'm ready for the day. It's quite important that early morning routine for me.

Andi Oliver laughing in a bright orange dress

(Image credit: BBC/Optomen Television/Ashleigh Brown)

Do you try your hand at DIY?

Oh god, no. [laughs]. Nooooo! 

I think you have to know your own limitations.

Do you think you're a good host?

I'm a great host, because I generally like it. I take away as many rules as possible, I think that keeps people nice and relaxed. Literally, bring who you want, do what you want and come when you want, just don't come too late. 

The food isn't necessarily ready when you come, it's ready when it's ready so just come over, hang out.

What do you do if you have time at home on your own?

I'm on the sofa. I watch really, really terrible television, like Real Housewives, or I watch things that I'm very invested in like Happy Valley. Great things or terrible things, I'm not a very in the middle person.

What do you miss most about your home when you're away?

My family, and my sofa. The hotel ones are never the same. I go to Stratford Upon Avon for three months every year and I have to stay in a different house when we film the Great British Menu

The last one we stayed in the sofa was awful, just everything I hate in a sofa (little, hard and stingy). In the end, I took the one from my dressing room and got them to take it to the house.

Quick fire questions with Andi Oliver

Andi Oliversmiling wearing a blue dress in front of a pink wall

(Image credit: Tom Mattey)
  • EAT – TABLE OR ON LAPS? Both, it depends what we're watching and what we're eating
  • LIGHTING – BRIGHT OR MOODY? Candlelight please. Fairy lights and candle lights are my preference.
  • ARE YOU A NEAT FREAK OR DO YOU PREFER TO BE SURROUNDED BY CREATIVE CHAOS? Creative chaos... let's call it that, shall we?!

Andi’s new cookbook The Pepperpot Diaries: Stories From My Caribbean Table is out now and you can catch up on the latest series of Great British menu on BBC iPlayer.

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend. 

With contributions from