Saturday afternoon saw Steven and I judging Junior Masterchef at Kimbolton School. I think we both went expecting to be cooked fairly simple things that were reminiscent of our school cookery days, scotch eggs, sausage pie, pizza. How wrong we were! The children cooked under timed conditions in front of us for two hours with a budget of £8 to cook two courses. None of them were flustered or stressed in the slightest and it made Steven and I wonder what we had been fussing about on the programme. They were also responsible for creating the menu cards, table setting and flower decorations. The food was so good and far better than we would ever have imagined from 11 - 17 year olds. We were served sushi, deep fried crispy noodles and banana fritters for one menu and oatmeal mackerel with beetroot relish followed by pecan shortbread stacks for another. Some of the dishes served would not have been out of place in a restaurant. Fish was gutted and open filleted in front of us, lamb wracks French trimmed and we were even served confit potatoes! Needless to say the judging was very difficult and we ended up awarding joint first place as we couldn't agree! It gave us such a good insight into what must have gone on behind the scenes on Masterchef during judging. We had only known the children two hours and yet felt dreadful for those who had not won when we announced the results. It was such a lovely way to spend an afternoon and we felt very honoured to have had such fantastic food cooked for us! Clearly a large amount of credit has to be given to their teacher Clare, who has taught them very well!
Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx