Celebrity interview: JB goes from boyband to farmer, via dance show

MEAT AND GREET: Red Tractor is running a competition to meet JB, the JLS farmer.
MEAT AND GREET: Red Tractor is running a competition to meet JB, the JLS farmer.
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JB, or Jonathan Benjamin Gill, is best known as one quarter of boyband JLS.

Here, he discusses why he’s backing Simply Beef and Lamb’s Battle of the Burgers campaign, his new farming project, and if he plans to take part in Strictly Come Dancing’s next series after winning 2012’s Christmas special

TELL US ABOUT THE BATTLE OF THE BURGERS

I’ve been involved with a campaign that Simply Beef and Lamb are running in conjunction with Red Tractor. It’s partly a bit of fun, but partly educational, trying to get people up and down the country into cooking and getting them to pay attention to what they’re eating. It’s encouraging people to make burgers from scratch instead of from frozen or from the supermarket or wherever, and to submit their favourite burger recipe to our competition so they can be in the running to win £2,000.

ARE YOU A KEEN CHEF?

I wouldn’t say I was a chef, but I do enjoy cooking. I remember when I was growing up, my dad coming in from work and rustling up something out of the blue. He’d just come in and make a huge meal out of nothing. So I do like cooking, but I wouldn’t say I was expert.

AND YOU’RE ABOUT TO BECOME A FARMER YOURSELF

Yeah! It’s looking that way. Where I live now is a farm, and I’m trying to turn it into something bigger. I’ve got a pig and some chickens, and I’m trying to set it up as a deer farm as well. Hopefully by the end of the year, that will be running.

DO YOU SEE YOURSELF BRANCHING OUT INTO OTHER FORMS OF AGRICULTURE IN THE FUTURE?

Definitely. The battle of the burger campaign is obviously about meat, but it’s just as important to me to make sure you get good nutrition from your fruit and vegetables. I don’t have a vegetable patch yet, but I’m looking into it. I recently came back from a juicing retreat in Portugal. I went over there with Jason Vale who runs them. It sounds quite harsh to be on a juicing diet, but it’s just so good for you. You’re getting so many more nutrients out of the vegetables by juicing them than you would if you were just eating them.

YOU WON THE STRICTLY COME DANCING CHRISTMAS SPECIAL LAST YEAR. WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN APPEARING IN THE NEW SERIES?

I can’t do the next series because I’m on tour with the boys, but if I was free, it’s something I would have loved to have done.

JB’s working with Red Tractor on a nationwide search for the UK’s best homemade burger. For a chance to meet JB and win £2,000, visit www.simplybeefandlamb.co.uk/battle.

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