Week 12..in which I learn skills from a chef

This week I took part in Jamie Oliver’s CEO CookOff. One of 50 UK CEO’s cooking with 30 famous chefs to feed 600 everyday heroes – dinner ladies, nurses, teachers – raising money for Jamies Food Foundation and UKHarvest. It was fabulous – where else would you get the Duchess on Cornwall and Dynamo on the same stage…or get a hug from this guy!

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I was paired with the chef Jose Pizarro. And seriously lucked out. He had me at Hello. He greeted me like a long lost friend with a bear hug (actually,that was probably me) and a smacker on the lips (definitely him). That’s him right behind us.

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Within minutes I felt like I’d known him half my life. 4 hours later we were practically related. And he has the most gorgeous head chef I’ve ever met.

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Really distracting when you’re trying to impress with your knife skills! The bit when he caught me eating the brandy soaked sultanas was not my finest moment.

But I learnt SKILLS!

I cooked this

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and this

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ALL BY MYSELF!

Which was actually a little stressful with 15 hungry dinner ladies waiting to eat my efforts. I pretended I was on MasterChef – easy to do when you’re surrounded by photographers and 4 film crews.

And Jose taught me how to make the BEST vinaigrette ever…one part runny honey, one part sherry vinegar and 2 parts olive oil with a dollop of English mustard. Amazing.

First week on 5:2. I chose 2 consecutive days whilst hosting a ‘boot camp’ for 100 under 32 years olds.

I figured that being trapped in a theatre for 8 hours a day, 4 floors up from the nearest food, would make it easy. And against all expectations (and constant self negotiation ‘maybe I could do this tomorrow, or the next day, or next month’) it was.

Here’s what I ate;

Day One – Banana, carrot juice, bowl of oat granola, and a 300 calorie ready meal from Tesco. Not the most interesting of food days. I was still jet lagged so couldn’t be bother to cook from scratch. Also I was staying in an Airbnb and couldn’t work out how to use the cooker so decided I couldn’t go wrong with the microwave.

Day Two – Small packet of almonds, banana, red cabbage couscous salad (surprisingly palatable)  and courgette spaghetti with puttanesca sauce. I’m new to courgette spaghetti. Total revelation!

The train journey home was a challenge. Honestly, I WAS STARVING! In my head I rugby tackled the on board chef to get the last cheese and ham toasty, but in reality I managed to sit on my hands for the entire journey repeating ‘I will not be beaten’ under my breathe until I arrived at my station.

Outcome – I lost 2lbs.

P.s – I bumped into Una Stubbs on a street in London. Literally. She’s tiny. I’m not. I nearly killed her.

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