How Does The I’m A Celeb Crew Come Up With The Abhorrent Food Trials Behind The Scenes?

There are many horrific things involved in the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here experience. Spiders, baboons, drop toilets and a lack of food, just to name a few. But now that I’ve been to the jungle and experienced what it is really like to be in the camp, I can confirm that the absolute worst part of being a celebrity in the jungle is the food trials. But how does the dastardly crew behind the scenes of I’m A Celeb actually come up with these abhorrent dishes? Well, I chatted to the head chef Caro Gardener on how these spew-worthy dishes are formulated.

But first, in case you’re not familiar with the food trials on I‘m A Celeb, let me fill you in. Food trials are challenges that the celebrities take part in to win stars — AKA food — for their camp. Each celeb is voted into the challenge by the general public. There, they are expected to eat things that no one would willingly eat. I’m talking cockroaches, donkey balls, and pig snot rather than actual South African delicacies in the jungle.

Believe it or not, I did my own food trial willingly ~for the content~. And that, my friends, was a big mistake. While I can’t talk about the specifics just yet, I can share how Caro and her team formulate these disgusting challenges.

For now, please enjoy a compilation of my face while I was doing a tucker trial. I’m so brave. (Image: Laura Masia)

Although it’s Caro’s job to come up with things that’ll make even the strongest stomachs gag and vom, she’s actually quite the established chef who uses her fine dining preparation skills in the I’m A Celeb Kitchen.

“Well, the same food safety rules apply, from sourcing through to preparation,” she explains.

“The products we use, despite their appearance and taste, are sourced of the highest quality and from incredible suppliers. We also play around a lot using both old and new skills from years in the kitchen, we apply these skills to all the strange and interesting products we work with.”

While you’d think it would be easy to come up with a bunch of disgusting dishes, it turns out that it’s actually quite a challenge.

“For starters, it would be figuring out the correct portion size. We try to make them no more than three bites per dish,” she tells me.

“Secondly, how nauseating should it be? I can stomach a fair bit after all these years of eating and testing all the ingredients!

“This is where the trial producers and testers come in and test the dishes a few times before the trial.”

During these tests, the producers consider whether the item is possible to consume in the allocated amount of time, and whether it’s too vulgar or not gross enough. Then, they rank them on a scale of ‘not so bad’ to ‘repulsive.

“We wouldn’t want the celebrities to vomit on every dish,” Caro says.

“A few teary eyes and a couple of gags are all good. The challenges all have to be achievable and nothing is served that hasn’t been eaten at least three times before.”

You might be thinking, who is the unlucky sod who has to try these dishes? Well, it seems like it’s just part of the parcel of working behind the scenes on I’m A Celeb. Or, if you’re a journalist who was been flown to South Africa like me to cover the show, it’s genuinely the least you can do to say thanks.

“Members of our crew choose to test! We also have volunteers,” she chuckles.

“We are all mates who have worked together for years and we all want every trial to be incredible. However, we work with each crew member’s dietary requirements, as we do with the celebrity’s requirements, and tailor each dish to a particular person.”

In the past, Caro and her team have had to make adjustments to various challenges to accommodate for the celebrity’s dietary requirements. For example, former model Tziporah Malkah eats Kosher and comedian Nuzeen Hussain eats Halal.

This year’s celebs have no idea what they’re in for. (Image: I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here / Channel 10)

As for the most disgusting thing she’s ever created? Well, Caro says my little treat didn’t even come close.

“The fish shake that Freddy Flintoff drank in season one,” she said.

“I have never managed to shake the smell and his incredible reactions to it. However, watch this space, this season, we have come up with some of the most stomach-turning dishes we have ever made. They are obscenely vile and I absolutely love it.”