If you can’t stand the heat, then maybe a television cookery show isn’t for you.
With the eyes of the studio and home audience on you as your mind goes blank and refuses to remember your name, let alone all those culinary skills, you may find yourself wishing you’d stayed at home.
But, just because you can’t cook for television, doesn’t mean you won’t cook with the professionals.
Luckily, you can still show off your cooking skills, learn something new and wow your audience as the MasterChef flavour comes to Chelmsford.
KLC PR client The Smart School of Cookery has been established in Danbury for the last four years, within a converted barn with attractive original beams, fully-equipped kitchen and dining area.
Budding chefs travel from across the UK and Channel Islands to learn from the experts with lessons ranging from seafood to Italian and from dinner parties to barbecues.
Ann Hood started the company as a hobby in her own home, before massive demand saw her expand to include her professional kitchen and mobile corporate events.
She has now launched a new concept after experiencing firsthand the pressure of television cooking.
She said: “I was on Masterchef in 2009. It was really good fun and everyone on the show was fantastic. But, I am simply not one for the cameras.”
The Ultimate Dining Experience is for groups of up to six friends or relatives who will enjoy a two or three-course meal designed by a professional chef.
Diners can choose from an extensive list of menus or craft their very own, before sitting back and enjoying the private meal – or putting on an apron and helping chef!
Ann said: “This is a unique experience for any enthusiastic chef or for anyone simply looking to enjoy good food among friends. If you are a budding chef, you will be encouraged to help prepare the gourmet meal before it’s enjoyed by your party at the end of the experience.
“I want this to be intimate to enable everyone to be able to see what is going on and to learn something. Plus, more and more people are enjoying meals with their friends at home because of the recession and are wanting to learn how to impress.
“We have even had people come along to prepare to go on the Come Dine With Me television show!”
Chefs at the school include Franck Pontais, who has worked for Harrods, Elton John and Piers Morgan and appeared on Ready Steady Cook and Channel 4’s Iron Chef. Celebrity television chef Valentina Harris and BA senior executive chef Steve Walpole also give lessons.
Penny and Tony Barber, of Cock Clarks, are looking forward to taking their family along for the Ultimate Dining Experience after already experiencing other classes at the school.
Penny said: “Some of our children are vegetarian and it can be a real challenge to keep finding new and interesting dishes to make when they come over. I look through the internet for inspiration. I am also an ardent cookery programme watcher, but it is not easy to remember the lessons and go off and confidently copy. This way, we can ask the chef in front of us to show us again if we are not certain of something and we can ask questions – you can’t do that with the television!
“It will be great to bring our children here to enjoy a lovely meal tailored for their requirements, but to also see up close how to put the dishes together so we can take the knowledge and tips away with us to try at home.
“It is such a good idea. It’s really novel.”
Tony added: “Television cookery programmes have gone too X Factor; it’s all about the lights and the dramatic music and not purely about the cooking. Here, we can learn so much, but still enjoy ourselves.”
Visit http://www.thesmartschoolofcookery.com/ or call 0800 756 6805 for more information or to book.