As we chat on Zoom, I’m hoping Poppy O’Toole will pick up the latest addition to her family to show him off.
He’s a fluffy wee thing (from what I saw on TikTok) and at just a few months old her German Shepard puppy, Red, already has the social media star running around after him.
Red has big shoes to fill as his brothers, pugs Krypto and Kipper, are celebrities in their own right having modelled for Primark and starred in UK-wide adverts.
But it’s his mum, the self-titled queen of potatoes, who is the real star of the show here.
Set to attend this year’s Taste of Grampian, Poppy O’Toole will take centre stage on the festival’s new Live Kitchen on Saturday June 3 at P&J Live in Dyce, Aberdeen.
Not only will this be the 28-year-old TikTok sensation‘s first time at Scotland’s one day premium food and drink festival, but this will also be her first trip to the north-east, and her first time headlining an event with celebrity chef, James Martin.
“I’ve only ever been to Glasgow once,” she said looking shocked when she realised she’s only visited Scotland once.
However, after finding out Aberdeenshire is home to plenty tattie farms, she’s looking forward to the trip even more.
“I know my demo recipe is going to be potato-based as there’s no way I can come to Aberdeen where they love good potatoes and not cook them.
“You can expect fun, laughter, silliness – because that just happens whenever you put me in front of people – nice easy cooking and delicious recipes from me at the festival.
“It’ll be just a bit of a laugh, really, and then you can all go look at all the food and market stalls.”
First festival of the “crazy” few years
This will be Poppy’s first festival experience after missing out on last year’s run.
She was battling covid when bookings flooded in, but she’s quite looking forward to being unleashed to crowds who are as passionate about food as she is.
“It has all been quite wild. I never expected any of this to happen. TV is really good fun and writing books is amazing, but being able to interact with people in a live situation will be so fun.
“Taste of Grampian is my first festival of the season and being able to get the audience properly involved will mean it is more fun for everyone. I’m looking forward to sharing some tips, too – that’s what people remember most.”
Get supporting local
The festival boasts a strong theme of supporting local and showcasing quality ingredients, which Poppy, too, believes is key when concocting the best dishes.
Although, she is eager to get her hands on one thing more than anything at the event… cheese.
“Whenever I got to a food market I have to know what the local cheese is. I love every dairy product, but cheese is just yummy so I’ll definitely be at the cheese counters.
“I think supporting local is really important. If you have a limited budget, sometimes sourcing local can be really good. Sometimes you can have open conversations and haggle a bit.
“Sometimes you end up in the supermarket because it is convenient. But when I am home in Brum (Birmingham) I’m always down at the local market getting as much local produce as I can.”
New stylish studio kitchen
With one cookbook down and another on the way, plus a potential US TV show possibly in the works, Poppy has been busy these past three years since losing her job and starting her social media gig.
To date she’s already starred on This Morning, has experienced a mishap or two on Saturday Kitchen after a slip of the tongue moment on the morning TV cooking show, and has been a judge for MasterChef Juniors.
She has also appeared on The Weakest Link.
So what’s next for the chef turned social media influencer turned who is now one of the most popular stars to book for day time TV show just now?
“My cookbook and my kitchen studio,” she explains, although remains tight lipped about the former.
“I rent because I can’t buy a house in this climate. The kitchens are always alright, but they are never as nice if you could build your own. I found this little space in Birmingham and we’ve had it plastered and painted and that’s where I’ll have my studio kitchen.
“It means I can do longer form content for YouTube and I can get people in to visit. I can’t wait.”
If it wasn’t tatties?
And although potato recipes may have been what initially influenced Poppy’s social media success, the star’s bubbly personality has meant millions have people have fallen for her online.
Although she hints that if it wasn’t potatoes that had brought her stardom, it definitely would have been cheese, or onions.
“I sound cheese obsessed now,” she laughs.
“Or onions, if it had to be another vegetable. Or garlic. You can make meals out of them easily.
“I’m trying to be good and be a little healthier and all of my cravings is just cheese. I just want blocks of cheese in the fridge and to be ripping bits off. I’m itching for my cheese and getting withdrawals. All I want is some stilton!”
Poppy O’Toole’ will be at Taste of Grampian on Saturday June 3 where she’ll be cooking up a storm at her free cooking demonstration at 2pm on the Live Kitchen stage.
Her dishes remain a secret, but she’s promised plenty of potato and going by her love of cheese, we can no doubt expect a sprinkling of that, too.
Tickets to Taste of Grampian are priced at £15 each plus booking fee and children under 12 go free.
There is a booking fee of £1 and a £1 service charge on Ticketmaster.
Parking is also free on the day.