At the time of writing I have not yet seen the episodes. So I am sure there will be a follow up piece, (hopefully a positive one), depending on how the editing goes!
After winning CDWM, which you can read about here five years ago – I was looking for another big challenge to get my teeth into. Working in PR we get a lot of producers looking for people to go on gameshows and the like – must be something about PR’s being attention seekers? Or loud?
Anyway, I saw an opportunity come along for ‘Couples who can cook, national competition, 10k prize’ – Oh hellooooo. Being knee deep in debt due to my globetrotting antics, this seemed like a DREAM! But who could I count on to cook alongside me?
I needed someone who is:
- Amazing in the kitchen
- That I trust with all my heart
- And most importantly, that even if it all went wrong, I would never judge and they would never get angry towards me…
Cue my little sister.
We LOVE COOKING TOGETHER! See how we got on sausage making here. Our mum was (and still is at home) a BANGING chef (she was head of feeding a whole boys college before us pesky kids, and then once we were old enough went onto gastro pub cooking, not to mention doing at least three different dinners for us each night) and she is our inspiration. We both inherited some of her natural skills and passion, as well as picking up a lot of the tricks of the trade on the way. Thanks Old Queen.
THE BUILD UP
So all we needed now was to audition… via Skype… and by complete chance, but rather conveniently, we were in the middle of cooking up a Greek feast for my Grandad’s birthday (read all about Gordon, one of the best humans of all time here). We ramped up the ‘bants’, and tried to come across as HILARIOUS as possible (this is stupidly a recurring theme during filming), quite possibly forgetting this was a serious cooking programme, not a stand-up comedy stage.
Whatever it was we did WORKED, and we were (very late in the day) offered a place on the show, in the Midlands and Wales region.
We had to come up with three, three course menu’s with a theme to run throughout, and they would pick which one you cooked, the day before filming.
So rather than sticking to things we knew, I went off on some mad journey – making up British classics with worldy twists that I had never cooked before, and integrating things like coriander into desserts (which was actually delicious).
Neither of us thought for a second to go with things (that are still very complicated or challenging), that we do all the time. No no no. We went rogue.
I seemed to forget, or ignore the fact that pulling these mad menus off, for ten people, within a limited time-frame mayyyyy cause some issues. I kind of thought that being entertaining would see us through. It’s a shame that the production team didn’t advise us to pull back or tone down (but that doesn’t make good TV right?) – when we saw what others had done we realised quite quickly that FEWER, BIGGER, BETTER – simplicity, would have sufficed, and probably would have done us the world of good.
But hey, life is far too short for regrets. We pushed ourselves, and I stand by it.
Main thing for me is that we both obviously know how to cook good food, and we understand flavour and texture. We have good skills – but sometimes things just don’t go your way. (Like REALLY REALLY don’t).
The regional heats are a bit like CDWM. You go to each other’s ‘houses’ (I really wish I could say that mansion was my house) and cook for the other couples. You score against each other, and so do the judges – the gorgeous Irish lovely Rachel Allen, and the yummy Brummie himself Glyn Purnell, who were both BRILLIANT and totally down to earth. I almost fell off my chair a few times laughing.
The food was ALWAYS cold by the time you ate it. The wine was distinctly lacking, and filming was lonnngggggggg. BUT we met some amazing people on-the-way (big up our Welsh boys, and our Shropshire TV Mum and Dad), as well as the delightful crew (Jake and Rachel in particular), and all the while we tried our best to bring fun and wit to the table.
Whether or not that comes across in filming I am not sure yet.
I am SURE, however there will be moments where we may come across as idiots, and I KNOW there will be scenes where it seems as though we, or the other contestants are sniping or conniving. BUT THAT IS TV BABY! We honestly all got on pretty well.
My advice to anyone in these strange situations is, don’t take it too seriously… And whatever you do, DON’T CRY ON CHANNEL FOUR… or run to the shops like Phoebe on Friends.
So with that, I will leave you to watch this week. I will be posting all the recipes…including (the rather delicious) ones we didn’t cook.