Ready, Steady, Cook

Today I filmed an episode of Ready, Steady, Cook for the BBC.  They had approached the UK Barista Championship and asked who would be suitable for contestants and Se and I were suggested and we both agreed to take part.  He flew in from Belfast this morning and hopefully caught his flight back out this evening.

For those of you not familiar with Ready, Steady, Cook (RSC from now on) the idea is that two teams compete (each team is a pro chef and a punter) and the chefs are given a mystery bag of 6 ingredients and have to come with and cook as much as possible in 20 minutes.  It appears as if the contestants chose their ingredients before hand but they are chosen for you.  However the chefs really do have to come up with the dishes in about 5 minutes.

I was partnered with a chef called Lesley Waters who was absolutely lovely.  The whirlwind of cooking during the 20 minute non-stop take stunned me.  My job was to peel this, chop that, wipe that, crush this, fetch that etc.  No real cooking.  Dishes just appeared and everything was cooked beautifully.

My ingredients were:  Sirloin steak, pistachios, a mixture of a few mushrooms (shiitake, oyster etc), baby carrots, sweet potato and a Camembert.  She produced four different things from this – the steak with sweet potato chips, and a mushroom cream sauce, the sweet roast baby carrots on a herb salad with pistachios, a tart of the camembert and more of the mushrooms (this was very good!) and for dessert pastry with the sweet potato (who knew it could be so good in a dessert!) as well as pistachios and honey and yoghurt.  On the other side of the kitchen equally huge quantities of food appeared.

I would struggle with one of those in 20 minutes!  The encyclopedic knowledge of the chefs, mixed with their technical skills really impressed and perhaps inspired me.  Though it isn’t just about being a cookbook – a great deal of it is about adaptation and a feel for your ingredients.

During the show we talked a little about coffee – though we both wished we could have talked more.  Perhaps I will be the first person to go on a cheesey cooking show and use the words Harrar and Yirgacheffe in the same sentence…  All the chefs seemed to really be into coffee without really knowing much about it as a raw ingredient.  I gave Lesley a bag of coffee and I hope she enjoys it.

Perhaps I will make public the date it airs, I am unsure if I made a fool of myself or not.  It was a lot of fun though, hope to do something like that again.

11 Comments Ready, Steady, Cook

  1. Sé

    Thanks Jim,

    mad dash and caught my flight. I had a blast I thought it was great fun and was equally impressed with the whole event from the ease and professionalism of the production team right through to Ainsley and 2 outstanding chefs.

    See you Sunday.. ( Good luck)


  2. BazBean

    Great reading …..

    the principle of the show is wonderfull, seat of the pants stuff and having fun rather than following a set menu or set of principles set in stone, which to be on topic is the main reason i love my coffee making so much…….
    I am sure you managed to plant a few seeds of inspiration into the Celeb chefs or maybe even covert them alltogether. As an ambassador for what coffee should be James, I can think of no finer exponent …..well done !

  3. Paragon

    come on…give us the date 8)

    but it was really a good read. I have seen the german version of this show from a german channel a few times and I was every time impressed by the creativity of the chefs and the knowledge behind it…

  4. Marcy

    So… was it a Green Pepper or Red Tomato Day ;-) Nice to know that the food really does taste good :) I watch the show frequently enough but not every day. Messy/dirty hands touching everything bugs me a bit. But like Barry, like that they have fun at it. Being a non-recipe follower myself, the format suits me just fine. The show is great for picking up ideas to experiment in the kitchen :-)

    And what did Nick (Nairn?) come up with for Se?

  5. EZJ

    I remember seeing RSC on a show where Louis Theroux (BBC) was doing a docu on someone going on it…isn’t it usually chefs and celebs? At first mention I expected you to be the brought in food (coffee) expert of the team. Looks like it was fun though!

  6. sarah leighton

    Great reading and even better pictures….I am slightly envious as i really like the programme and if i am at home try to tune in every day….

    Well done also in the ukbc again you make us at HB very proud.


  7. Marcy

    Caught part of the show today. As it wasn’t aired as initially expected last week, I decided to record all the RSC episodes. Let me know if you’d like it :) Oh, and learned how to pronounce Sé’s name from the programme too :P

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