Things havent improved Hairy Bikers star Dave Myers opens up about being a young carer

Hairy Bikers: Si King on their latest series 'Go North'

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Dave Myers, 64, appeared on Comfort Eating with Grace Dent last week. The star makes up one half of the famous travelling chef duo, the Hairy Bikers, alongside fellow food enthusiast and friend Si King, 55. 

MasterChef regular Grace, 48, has hosted plenty of famous guests on her podcast with The Guardian, where they discuss their favourite comfort foods before delving a bit deeper into their personal lives. 

After sharing some tinned tomatoes on toast, the pair went on to have a heartfelt discussion about Dave’s tough adolescence as a young carer.

Grace began by asking Dave about his early childhood, where he described his unusual upbringing due to having much older parents, although he didn’t think much of it at the time. 

The podcast presenter then moved the conversation on to the moment where everything changed for young Dave.

“Things change very suddenly when you’re eight years old and your mum is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, your dad has to take early retirement from his job at the paper mill… So how do you and your dad adapt to that?” she asked.

“It was hard. It was very hard,” Dave confirmed. “You know, we were in a two-up, two-down in Barrow so the idea of stairlifts doesn’t exist, and this is why I feel such a strong compassion for…

“I was a young carer by default, but when you’re a kid it just happens. You don’t question it, you just are.

“And sadly I don’t think things have improved much these days. You know, if anything, there was a community then that helped.”

Turning his attention back to food, Dave admitted that his father had no idea how to cook because he had been an industry worker all his life and had relied on the star’s mother to cook the meals. 

He went on to reveal that the first time he had ever cooked for his father was the night they discovered his mother had multiple sclerosis.

“I must have been about seven or eight and my dad was on the night shift. I heard a thump and mum had gone to bed and I was just playing downstairs in front of the telly,” he remembered. 

“I heard a thump and mum was on her bedroom floor and she couldn’t move and we didn’t know what was wrong with her. She was very calm and said, ‘No, it’s alright. Your dad will be home at 10 o’clock,’ but there was nothing for my dad’s tea.”

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From there, a young Dave decided to cook up a cheese and potato pie from a recipe he had discovered in a cookbook that had come with their family’s old gas cooker. 

The Hairy Biker also told Grace that he started doing the shopping for his household at the age of 12, drawing up a grocery list and heading down to the large local supermarket that had just opened. 

Years later, the popular TV chef cooks up a variety of tasty meals alongside his on-screen partner Si on a regular basis.

The Hairy Bikers, who both have backgrounds in television production, met in the 1990s and have been on the road together for nearly 20 years. 

They first appeared on UK television as presenters of The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook in 2004, and this show went on to run for four seasons on the BBC.

Since then, they have hosted a range of shows in a format combining cooking and travelling, including The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour of Britain, Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels and Hairy Bikers’ Best of British.

Watch their latest series The Hairy Bikers Go North tonight at 7pm on BBC Two.

The Guardian podcast Comfort Eating with Grace Dent airs weekly on Spotify, Apple and other streaming platforms. 

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