Once in the studio, a certain part of the stress is removed and there is no more you can do. You’re told where to stand, which way to look and are very much at the mercy of the production team. When the clock starts, you’re on your own. Cooking is no longer so much of the worry – the problem is the two cameramen and sound technician filming inches from your (in my case, sweaty) face. Regional heats went really well and were great fun, and working with Ronnie and Russell was superb. Russell had worked with Marcus many years ago and helped open Petrus when it relocated to the Berkeley.
Finals week was a very different experience. The filming was a little more spread out compared to the regional heats. Nevertheless, it was still exhausting – constant interviewing, cooking, tasting – it’s all very full on. But the thrill of competitive cookery is amazing (when it goes right). It’s a great opportunity to celebrate how far food in the UK has come, and working with like minded chefs from different backgrounds is something that we rarely get the chance to do.