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Tom Green: "Middle of Covent Garden – I threw up everywhere"

We catch up with Hits Radio DJ Tom Green on his new podcast Dangerous Dinners, the worst meal he's ever experienced, and his dream dinner date 

DJ Tom Green – Dirty Dinners

Tom Green has a strong hypothesis: “you never truly know someone until you’ve ordered a takeaway with them.”

It’s the inspiration behind the Preston-born DJ’s new podcast Dangerous Dinners. The premise is simple: “we spin a giant roulette wheel of takeaway food in my local area and whatever it lands on, we both have to order from.”

One-star rating on Uber Eats and recent spate of cat disappearances in the local area? Well, that’s where the ‘dangerous’ aspect comes in: there’s no backing out of an order.

As well as the podcast, Green has crammed a lot of work into his 25 years. He’s presented at Global’s Capital FM, KISS FM and now heads up the Hits Radio breakfast show every weekend.

Let’s hope he doesn’t get food poisoning: that’s one schedule that would be unforgiving on hourly trips to the toilet.

Tell us about your new podcast Dangerous Dinners...

Gee thanks! This has been an absolute labour of love and I am beyond excited to announce that I have teamed up with the lads at Acast to bring you a brand new podcast series called The Dangerous Dinners.

The idea is really simple – in normal times, a celebrity guest comes over to my house, we spin a giant roulette wheel of takeaway food in my local area and whatever it lands on, we both have to order from. This can be anything from five star curries and sushi, to dirty fried chicken and doner kebabs.

I have from the time of ordering to when it arrives to go through everything with them; their whole life, their secondary school, local news and what got them into their music career, acting or sport. We then eat together and rate the food. Think of it as carpool karaoke but with a takeaway and booze.

What inspired the concept?

I just love takeaways. I have always absolutely adored them; like most students, I lived off them throughout university and having a decent job at Capital Radio I was earning OK money so I would always treat myself. When I moved to London, this continued with doner kebabs, pizzas, curries – you name it.

I feel it’s this really unifying thing that everyone loves but something that no one really talks about – like what is Harry Styles’ go-to dish? I don’t know, but I want to find out! I think it’s a real look into people's lives as absolutely everyone has their own preference, you never truly know someone until you’ve ordered a takeaway with them!

I had someone tweet me the other day saying ‘this is the best idea I’ve never had’ which really meant a lot to me.

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Any guests that you're particularly excited about?

Our first guest and a great friend of mine, Ella Eyre, was a lot of fun. Ella was the first one where it really all came together and I came away thinking if they all went like that, I would be incredibly happy with the podcast. We had some drinks, food, talked about partying, celebrity stories and the Brit Awards. It was perfect. I think people really open up to you when you’re in their home, it didn’t feel like a normal interview with any microphones or cameras watching.

However, with lockdown, we’ve had to move over to zoom which has been bloody chaos! We had Tom Grennan on recently and it took over two and a half hours for his fish and chips to arrive. I can chat to anyone, but my lord, two hours is so long!

Despite this, the people we're aiming for are huge; I wanted to get Boris Johnson on until it dawned on me that he has far better and more important things to be doing than eating a takeaway with me! People laugh, but watch this space because I am very determined.

What's the worst dinner you've ever had?

My girlfriend, Em, took me to a really fancy sushi restaurant in Covent Garden to celebrate a big event in my work career. I was feeling particularly ill that day, and as we were only three months into dating, I thought I must be really nervous. After all, I knew she was the one.

I arrive, hoping the feeling would pass, and we go all out ordering cocktails and several luxurious dishes including black cod and shrimp taco rolls. As it starts to arrive, I begin to feel even worse and, trying to hold it together, I take myself away to the bathroom.

When I return, she suggests we leave (paying a £150 bill of dishes we did not even touch) and upon walking out into the centre of Covent Garden – I throw up everywhere. It was January so they still had the remains of Christmas decorations which worked like a reverse spotlight onto me. I managed to keep it together for the taxi journey home. Em proclaimed she'd never seen someone so ill yet try to make it look so cool.

It turned out I had gastritis, and, thankfully, as I didn’t touch any of the food I’m still able to eat sushi. Since then, we have been back to the restaurant several times for various wonderful meals.

What has been your best meal then?

There’s this wonderful little place called L'Enclume in Cartmel in the Lake District. It’s a Michelin star restaurant owned by Simon Rogan and has an eight course taster menu.

I’ve been there a few times now, and recently took my parents to say thank you for everything they have done for my career as I literally owe everything to them. Being from Preston, they detest anything remotely pretentious, but this place is just pure quality in the most relaxed way imaginable. Our sommelier, for example, was from Bradford and he was just so chilled and brilliant. I can’t recommend L’Enclume enough.

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Who would be your least favourite dining companion?

It would have to be one of my best mates, James Brown, otherwise referred to as 'Brownie'. [Tom admits he is ‘Greenie’ – original. Although in fairness, he then listed the nicknames of his other mates and there were some crackers in there.]

As much as I love him and we'd have an amazing night drinking and messing around, he will only ever order ridiculously spicy curries often making me order a vindaloo. I’m a sweater and it’s not pleasant! I don’t want others in the restaurant questioning if I’m having a stroke.

Who would be your dream dinner date?

The idea of going out for dinner feels so strange now, but I would love to have an evening with my girlfriend, Em, our new dog Turtle the miniature dachshund, and podcast extraordinaire Joe Rogan.

That might be a super strange set-up but I’m such a Joe Rogan fan. He’s incredibly interesting, funny, has met a lot of people and I reckon he enjoys good food and a big night out.

Where are you taking us for a night out in Preston?

Right OK, if we’re going somewhere nice there’s really only one option – The Italian Orchard. If you’re having a birthday or anniversary, it’s really the only tasteful restaurant and pizzeria around.

Otherwise, we’d start at Guys Thatched Hamlet which is a wonderfully eccentric and grungy themed bar out in the country, set along the canal. There are lots of little rooms, an amazing outside terrace overlooking the river, poole tables and a game called ‘Hook’ which is as simple as it sounds – you throw a hook on the wall. We’ve lost whole evenings to that game. I had my 18th birthday there, it’s very traditional and everyone starts their night there.

After, we’d head to the Black Bull pub which is slightly further down the A6 towards Preston town centre. It’s the hub for every great New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve. After several hours here, we’d order a Mr Joes takeaway straight to the entrance before heading home.

I’m a man of simple taste; whilst on my gap year travelling the whole of South-East Asia, I found myself most at home in Dubai airport on the journey home.

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The first episode of 'Dirty Dinners' is released across all platforms, including iTunes, Spotify and Google, on 11 February.