Julie wins Come Dine With Me

Julie wins Come Dine With Me

7 February 2024

A BALLYNAHINCH woman is on cloud nine after she was crowned the top host on the popular Channel 4 show ‘Come Dine With Me’.

Julie Fitzpatrick-Curry bagged the £1,000 prize as she beat the four other contestants Emmanuella, Chantal, Kerry and Kate, scoring 32 out of 40 points.

The show, which has been running for nearly two decades, sees each participant vote for who they believe was the perfect dinner party host, based on their cookery skills and their ability to entertain the rest.

For Julie, it was something she always wanted to experience, having been a fan of the show for many years.

Julie, who works as a sales executive for Barclay Communications in Belfast, said: “I loved absolutely every minute of it.

“Watching the episodes and reliving the experience was nearly as exciting as it was at the time.

“It was something I’ve always wanted to do, so to get the chance to do it and go onto win the competition is quite incredible.” 

Julie continued: “The nature of the show has a lot of things that I enjoy – I love meeting new people, having the craic and experiencing new things.

“Some aspects of the show were very intense that left me exhausted, but I’d do it all again.”

Julie heard that the producers of the show were seeking applicants for Northern Irish contestants from her daughter, Nicole, who spotted it on social media.

The application involved a short video which showcased a bit about Julie’s personality as well as a two zoom meetings with the producers as part of the audition process.

Within a couple of weeks, the 47 year-old found out that she was successful and the excitement followed.

“I was ecstatic when I found out I was going to be on the show,” Julie said.

“I’m always someone who loves a challenge – once I commit to something I always try to approach it with a positive mindset, it’s just who I am.”

The show follows each contestant as they make their way to the respective hosts’ home. The film crew record the first meeting between every contestant which Julie is keen to emphasise is completely authentic.

“When you see us all pull up to each other’s houses in the first episode, that is the first time we all meet each other,” Julie explained.

“Having a film crew follow you around for most of your day can be really exhausting – people don’t realise that they are recording you for nearly 16 hours of your day because it’s all condensed into a 23-minute TV episode.

“I feel like the pressure that can bring would mean it wouldn’t be for everyone, but it was an aspect I really enjoyed, as tiring as it was.”

Like any reality show that involves strangers coming together, there are moments of tension between contestants – more often due to a clash of personalities.

While it makes for interesting and entertaining viewing, Julie said that the tension could be very uncomfortable for the other contestants.

Julie’s menu was subject to some scrutiny from guest Chantal who alleged that her main course of dark and crispy Caribbean chicken was dry.

Her menu also included seared scallops on a bed of rocket with crumbled black pudding and cauliflower purée as a starter and a luscious lemon ginger crunch for desert.

“It’s like anything else in life, there are going to be disagreements,” she said.

“I get the entertainment factor but it can be a bit uncomfortable but we were all grown ups and anything that could’ve unravelled into an argument was quickly defused.

“There is absolutely no animosity – they’re all a great bunch of women.”


Speaking passionately about her menu, Julie said: “It was always a show where I knew exactly what I’d cook and prepare if by some chance had the opportunity to do it.

“Thankfully none of the other contestants had any dietary requirements so I was able to design the menu exactly how I wanted.”

Each evening had a theme which was decided by the host. For Julie, her theme was all purple, a colour she has had an affinity with for many years.

“I don’t know why I like purple so much but it’s always a colour I found attractive,” she explained.

“I think it’s a colour which reflects spirituality and positivity, which is something I am all about.”

Having won the £1,000 prize, Julie and her family have enjoyed several holidays.

Asked what’s next for her now that she has been on national TV winning a contest, Julie said: “I’m not sure, but that’s something I’m not consumed with.

“People keep asking me about what my endgame is now, but that isn’t what I’m about.”

Julie, who has over 27,000 followers on TikTok, says she is focusing on entertaining people, however that might be.

“I love reaching out to people and entertaining them in various ways,” she said.

“I’ve no set plans, I’m the type of person who when they like something they become obsessed with it.

“I just love living in the moment and was very lucky to participate in something as big as this. Who knows what the future holds?”