Blooming Cactus

(by peter)

We’re very proud of our six years working with Cactus TV, the production company behind BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen.

The show feels like family now.

The birth of both our children was announced live on air on the show, and my dad (perhaps unsurprisingly) is one of the show’s biggest fans, devoting far too much of his hard drive space to past editions. (He’s recorded every single one of our shows, which run into three figures now.)

We love doing the show and the various associated events like the BBC Good Food Shows around the country. Working with such inspired, brilliant, fun people is always a pleasure.

So it was extra special to be able to take the whole family into the studio to see the show being recorded live on the brand new set, as well as enjoy a tour of the stunning new premises.

These are exciting times for Saturday Kitchen.

Not only has Cactus uprooted itself from Kennington to Clapham, but Saturday Kitchen has been re-commissioned by the BBC until 2016. It continues to enjoy a loyal and sizeable audience, with up to three million viewers – a massive share for the prime time Saturday morning slot.

The new studio is located in a disused church, which upstairs is currently being refurbished into what is to become a stunning cookery school (‘Cactus Kitchens’) run in association with Michel Roux Jr. We’re looking forward to hosting wine events there and generally being part of what is a very exciting, forward-thinking operation. (We’ve also just written bits for the brand new cookbook, due out next spring, so keep an eye out for that too.)

The venue will also play host to the Saturday Kitchen Experience, as part of which some lucky people will be able to watch the show live then cook with the chefs and enjoy our wine selections. There may also be bespoke Saturday Kitchen Wine Experiences in the pipeline…very exciting. We’ll keep you updated with details.

The show is now in HD so it’s even more candid than ever (better start learning how to apply that anti-shine foundation…)

As for our big family day out, we had a blast.

On set were the fabulous Ching-He Huang, fresh from her travels round China with Ken Hom, with her twice-cooked pork with pickled cucumber, and the delicious Tom Kitchin rustling up grouse. Not to mention Masterchef contender Jamie Theakston and of course the fine host of proceedings, James Martin, who was heading off to Goodwood for some classic car action. (You can watch the show on iplayer via this link.)

As for us, afterwards we nipped round the corner to Adam Byatt’s magnificent Trinity for a sumptuous family lunch before wending a slightly meandering way back to Hampshire.

I’m recommending wines next week – Susie the week after – so can’t wait to get back into the action after the summer break.

In the meantime, thanks to Amanda, Simon and all at Cactus for a wonderful day out.

And here’s to a new era at Cactus and Saturday Kitchen.