Date: Friday 13Th November 2009
Place: Kensington Olympia London
Everyone loves Masterchef with Gregg and John, especially me, so when I heard the Good Food show in London was running the scary invention test, I had to enter. Thirty people cooking from a mystery bag of ingredients in 30 minutes! The top three then have their dish tasted by no less than Gregg and John and also Sir Terry Wogan.
We all waited back stage and to say we were nervous was an understatement. Why do it, some ask, others just stare blankly. We walk out and take our places. In front of me is a carrier bag. It contains half a chicken, pasta, rice, bacon, mint, parsley, risotto rice, carrots, onions, garlic,potatoes, biscuits, cheese, wine and stock cubes. You also had butter, cream,oils and store cupboard ingredients. I had thought on the way what the bag might contain and dismissed chicken as surly it was too risky for panel tasters?
So how to come up with something in just 30 minutes that was different enough to make the top three. The cooking began and the nerves disappeared. Andi Peters, previous Masterchef Celebrity was walking round chatting to people whilst an audience of what seemed like hundreds watched on tv screens no doubt thinking to themselves, they could do better,like we all do when watching at home. I had decided to firstly pan fry my chicken and then poach this in some stock. I was also making a potato and bacon pancake, caramelised carrots and shallots with broccoli and a parsley sauce. Ambitious I know, but hey this is Masterchef and cooking doesn't get tougher than this. So now panicking, four pans going, thinking not only do I need to cook my potatoes quickly so I can make them into pancakes, I just need the bloody water to boil first. You don't have a kettle or oven , just a hob with cold water. yes no oven!
I could hear Andi chatting to some of the contestants, some are doing risotto, others pasta and I also hear someone announce there are doing a cheesecake. Brave.
The time is up before you know it and my dish is complete and I am pleased with it. It tastes great. The announcement is made which three dishes will go before the scary two and would you believe it, mine is called up out of 30! My chicken was cooked perfectly and the comments are good. The other dishes have a Moroccan twist and look good. Sir Terry announces the dish next to mine has something extra and it wins. I am pleased to get that far and what an experience.
I will never sit at home again and pass comment on those brave contestants again. Would I do it again. Yes every year.