BBC Good Food Show

(by peter)

A group of young girls accosted me when I was just coming off stage at the BBC Good Food Show in Bluewater, to have a photo taken.

‘Have you tried the new one?’ piped up the smiley blonde ring-leader, visibly excited. ‘It’s amazing, you just can’t taste the alcohol!’

I stopped her to ask what she was talking about. ‘The new cherry Lambrini of course!’

This, along with many other moments too numerous to mention, made for a brilliant, buzzy, funny and hugely enjoyable day at the brand new Spring BBC Good Food Show, held in Bluewater in the garden of England.

I was appearing on the super-theatre as part of the Saturday Kitchen stage show, as well as hosting the Interview Stage, chatting to the likes of Gino d’Acampo, James Martin, Tom Kerridge, Lawrence Keogh and Great British Bake Off winner Jo Wheatley.

Doing the interviews was great fun. The research in itself was fascinating, but then being able to chat with a live and interactive audience to the stars of the show was brilliant. I tried to unearth at least one nugget in each slot, with the following results:

  • Gino d’Acampo is a busy man. He’s launching a new pizza range in the Co-op, working on the next edition of his Italian diet book, and designing kiddie-friendly pasta dishes for schools. But, while he counts the Gino Vino wine operation as part of his burgeoning empire, he likes nothing better to relax than a pint of Guinness, a pack of cheesy Wotsits, and an episode of Only Fools & Horses. Lovely jubbly.
  • Tom Kerridge, the first man to win two Michelin stars for a pub, is a former child actor and self-confessed ‘bad boy’ who relishes the fact that people (including his brother) can turn up to his stellar establishment The Hand & Flowers in flip flops to enjoy top cuisine.
  • The secret to Jo Wheatley’s success on the Great British Bake Off was – while others boned up on perfect macaroon recipes before filming started – plenty of make-up and Rescue Remedy. She also practised hard at home – giving her friend gout from so much sampling, and also keeping her boys away from the tasty morsels by wetting the floor around her baking station and pretending it was bleach. Jo’s new book, A Passion for Baking, is out on May 24th.
  • If you ever meet Lawrence Keogh, and you’ve got five minutes to spare, ask him about his ‘club sandwich’ theory of life and hotels. In the meantime, you can download his brilliant free cookbook Rediscovering Food & Flavours in aid of the Kidney Care by clicking here. (Lawrence suffered from chronic kidney failure, undergoing transplant surgery aged 35, and he decided to focus on the positives of the experience by writing this cookbook. Lovely man.)
  • James Martin is another busy man at the moment, hurtling up and down the M1 as he hosts Saturday Kitchen, helms his Leeds Kitchen restaurant and opens up a new operation at the Talbot Hotel in Malton, North Yorkshire. He also mentioned that he might be getting involved in a new project with Sirs Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart on the subject of Formula One past and present – petrol heads take note. As far as titbits for wine lovers go, James likes his Montrachet and Gaja.

For the Saturday Kitchen stage we had the wonderful, musical Jimi Mistry as our guest, while Tom Kerridge was cooking blow-torched mackerel with beetroot and redcurrant and Lawrence Keogh rustled up a classic sole with potted shrimp butter.

There were some great moments when James Martin couldn’t get his pizza off the paddle, and Lawrence Keogh couldn’t skin his fish – the joys of a live show (and perhaps some stitching-up going on back-stage..?!)

A full listing of the dishes, and the wines I chose to match with them (all of which came from Waitrose), are as follows:

  • Blow-torched mackerel with blini pancakes, warm pickled beetroot and chive crème fraiche (Tom Kerridge) – Jacob’s Creek Riesling 2010, £7.99
  • Megrim sole with melted potted shrimp butter, sea kale and lemon flowers (Lawrence Keogh) – Petit Chablis 2010, Jean de Chaudenet, £9.99
  • Satay tiger prawns with prawn pad thai (James Martin) – Cono Sur Bicycle Viognier 2010, £6 on offer until 8th May 2012
  • Vermicelli-wrapped prawns with lemon basil mayo (James Martin) – Lugana 2010, Zenato Villa Flora, £8.99
  • Aubergine and three cheese pizza – Torre del Falco Nero di Troia, £5.02 on offer until 8th May 2012

Thanks to everyone – including the Lambrini girls – who came to watch the shows and say hello. And do book into the new BBC Good Food Show London, when Susie and I will be on the Drinks Theatre and super-theatre with Saturday Kitchen all day on Saturday 10th November. Click here for more details.