IT SOUNDS unlikely, but Glasgow could teach Nadiya Hussain a thing or two about food, she reckons.

“I’m coming to learn,” announces the woman who became an instant national treasure when she won The Great British Bake Off in 2015. “I’m excited about being in the city, learning all about Scottish produce, finding out what people in Glasgow like to cook and eat.

“It’s why I love doing these shows, because I am learning as I go, and I get to travel around the UK discovering local food and places I have never visited before.”

She pauses. “I don’t know much about Scottish food, to be honest, although someone did give me tablet once,” she adds. “It actually nearly blew my head off. You really cannot eat a lot of that at any one time, can you?”

Now a much-loved cook, TV presenter and author, Hussain’s swift rise to stardom was practically guaranteed when she made millions of Bake Off fans sob into their sponge cakes with a moving winner’s speech.

“I’m never going to put boundaries on myself ever again,” she said on the show. “I’m never going to say I can’t do it. I’m never going to say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will.”

In person, Hussain is polite and pleasant, willing to speak frankly about a range of subjects, even though this must surely be the latest in a long line of press interviews ahead of her appearance at the BBC Good Food Show in Glasgow this weekend.

“I will be signing some books and doing a bit of baking,” she says, adding with a laugh: “I’m doing an Eccles cake, so absolutely nothing to do with Glasgow.”

Our conversation happens after a few days of speculation about her mental health, with worried fans commenting on a social media post in which she refers to “a bad couple of days” and being “in a black hole.”

“The saddest thing is, the people that give me light in my life, even their smiles can’t fix what is so badly broken,” she stated in the message.

“I take a lot of abuse online when I speak about mental health,” admits Hussain. “People ask – oh, how can you feel depressed, when you are a celebrity, you are on telly, you have lots of money – you’ve got it good.

“But that’s just not true. Mental health issues affect everyone - poor, rich, all colours, all backgrounds. And it is really important to talk about it.”

Hussain has suffered from panic disorder – a condition characterised by sudden, intense and often paralysing anxiety attacks – since she was a teenager.

“It affects every day of my life,” she says. “I can’t remember a day without it. But we are not very good, as a society, at sharing the fact we are not coping, or not well.

“I have always been really honest about the fact that I have good days and bad days. You can have all the money in the world, be as famous as you can be, but it doesn’t stop you from being sick.”

Being attacked online when you have opened up about your most vulnerable moments seems particularly unpleasant. Hussain, who regularly responds vehemently to racist trolls and abusive comments directed at her on social media, agrees.

“When you are in the public eye, you get thousands of lovely comments but of course, the one which sticks in your head is the negative one,” she says. “Speaking up about mental health is very important to me. So yes, doing something more about it, maybe on television or a book, is what I would like to do.

“I have this platform, I want to use it properly. It can’t be just about cookbooks and my career, it has to be about honesty and helping people.”

Hussain was born in Luton on Christmas Day in 1984, the third of six children to British-Bangladeshi parents. She got the chance to explore her heritage in the TV series, The Chronicles of Nadiya – part travelogue, part food show.

“My parents were first generation British Bangladeshis – my grandparents could not speak English,” she says. “Me and my brothers and sisters were the pathway to a different life, in a way. We bridged the gap between Britain and Bangladesh.

“Growing up between two cultures was hard at times, especially as a girl, when you were not allowed to do so much in the community.

“I was forever being told, you can’t do that; you mustn’t do this. But I think all those hurdles and barriers which were put in front of me are part of what makes me the person I am.”

A clever and successful student at school and college, Hussain planned to be a social worker, but did not get the chance to go to university.

In 2005, at the age of 20, she wed her husband Abdal in an arranged marriage and the couple now have two sons, Musa, 12, and Dawud, 11, and an eight-year-old daughter, Maryam.

“Musa loves to cook, Dawud has just discovered food so maybe it will happen soon for him too, and Maryam loves to bake,” says Hussain.

Life is busy with three children and four chickens to look after. Hussain runs, not – she says – because she enjoys it, but because it helps with her anxiety.

She adds: “My perfect night in is a hot bath, a good book and a takeaway. Motherhood, anxiety, this industry – it is a bad combination. Children can be the thing that sets off the panic disorder, as well as the thing that eases the pain.

“Mothers are made to feel guilty often. I have a job I love, but it takes me away from home, and that makes me feel guilty. But I really love going home and shutting the door – no therapy can ever be as good as that.”

Arranged marriage is not something she would wish for her own children.

“I took a risk, and the gamble paid off,” she states. “I know many people who were not so lucky, and equally, I know many couples who have had conventional marriages which have not worked out. I would never say I agree with one way over the other.

“I would never choose my children’s future husbands and wives. I just do not want that responsibility.”

It was Abdal who convinced Hussain she should enter the Great British Bake Off.

“The desire to get my degree never left me, so I did an Open University course, and worked when the kids went to bed,” she explains.

“When I felt stressed I baked. We watched our first series of Bake Off and got hooked. I would sit quietly and observe techniques and get familiar with alien baking terms. He would sit through each episode and shout at the box, ‘Nadiya you can do that!’. And I would ignore him. It was absolutely never my plan to enter the competition.”

She adds: “One day, he presented me with a downloaded application form and said – I’ve filled it in, that’s the boring bit done, now you do the rest.

“I think he wanted me to do something that was just for me. He knew that because I suffered from panic disorder, it was difficult for me and it is true, at that point my life did revolve around him and the kids.

“I was angry at first but I said I would do it, to humour him, but that I would never get to the final 12.”

She adds: “It was a really big deal for me. Getting to the audition on my own – it was the first time I had been in a taxi, on a train, on the underground on my own.

“When I did get on the show, I never, never expected to win. And when I did, I thought that would be it. It was over, I’d go back to my old life.”

She smiles. “But it hasn’t stopped, not at all, for the last three years.”

It is hard to remember a time when Hussain was not on television in some guise or other – recent series have included Nadiya’s Family Favourites, Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, The Big Family Cooking Showdown and Junior Bake Off. More television is in the pipeline but, she says she “can’t say anything about that at the moment, sorry – fingers crossed it will all work out.” She has written several cookbooks for adults and children, plus a novel, with help from author Ayisha Malik, called The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters. Further cementing her national treasure status, she even baked the Queen’s 90th birthday cake.

“It feels good to be doing such a variety of things,” she says. “Life is never boring, never stale. But working in this industry, you cannot take a single day for granted because it won’t last forever.

“I don’t want it to end, but who knows? You say something, or do something silly, and that’s that.”

Talking of doing something silly, Hussain would not, she says, entertain Strictly Come Dancing. (On the day we speak, the newspapers are full of reports that Strictly professional dancer Katya Jones and her celebrity partner on the show, comedian Seann Walsh, have shared a drunken kiss despite both being in long-term relationships.)

“Oh, I love watching Strictly but I wouldn’t want to do it,” she says. “I mean, there’s the whole Strictly Curse thing, and you wouldn’t want anything to do with that.”

Hussain has also become something of a figurehead for Muslim women – a position she admits she did not entirely welcome at first.

“If you had asked me three years ago, I would have said, no, I’m quite happy being a wallflower, just leave me in the background - but I realise now why people keep telling me I have to do this,” she says, earnestly.

“There are not many of me out there. In an industry dominated by middle-aged Caucasian men, there is not much room for a five-foot brown Muslim woman.

“What people have to understand is that it’s not about taking away jobs from anyone or replacing anyone. It is about creating space for all of us.”

Hussain has spoken in the past about the racist abuse she has endured, both online and in person.

Speaking to Kirsty Young on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs she said: “I expect to be shoved or pushed or verbally abused, because it happens, it's happened for years.”

Now she admits to feeling very concerned about what might happen in a post-Brexit Britain.

“Brexit has made me realise I have no control any more,” she says. “We are at the mercy of the people at the top and we just have to hope they make the right decisions. My worries are for my children and their generation. We have to look out for them.”

Nadiya Hussain is at the BBC Good Food Show in Glasgow’s SEC today.