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Celebrity chef takes on role of ‘school dinner lady’ in lockdown

PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:03 01 May 2020

Polly Guy. Pic: Archant library

Polly Guy. Pic: Archant library

Model and winner of TV’s Come Dine with Me, Norwich’s Polly Guy, is serving up a different menu for people in self-isolation.

Flashback to winning Come Dine with Me. Pic: ArchantFlashback to winning Come Dine with Me. Pic: Archant

And whereas it used to be the focus of many people’s bad memories about growing up, it seems there is a nostalgic desire to eat...good old fashioned school stodge.

Ms Guy, whose career took a different direction when she took part in – and won – Channel 4’s Come Dine with Me, making her pursue a job as a chef, has been inundated, she said, with requests for delights people remembered from school.

She said not only did it make people feel happy in these difficult times, but apparently also cheered up their children too, who were missing being at school with their friends.

Sponge and pink custard. Pic: Archant librarySponge and pink custard. Pic: Archant library

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Ms Guy, whose career took a different direction when she took part in – and won – Channel 4’s Come Dine with Me, making her pursue a job as a chef, has been inundated, she said, with requests for delights people remembered from school.

She said not only did it make people feel happy in these difficult times, but apparently also cheered up their children too, who were missing being at school with their friends.

Polly Guy. Pic: Archant libraryPolly Guy. Pic: Archant library

Ms Guy, who lives in Old Catton with her partner and their daughter, runs Polly’s Pantries, and recently has found herself fulfilling orders for old favourites such as toffee cream tart, school dinner chocolate oat slices, sponge with pink custard and chocolate brick or crunch cake. Many of them were the fondly remembered favourite pudding in school canteens and the highlight of the day for pupils.

Ms Guy is seeing an uptake in requests to make puddings too, rather than savoury dishes, with people wanting a sweet treat to get through lockdown.

She said: “Since Covid-19, I have been cooking a lot of people’s favourite comfort food including school dinner desserts, keeping me in work and bringing some much-needed comfort to my clients who are growing in number by the day.

“With children off school, missing their pals and school dinner puddings and treats, I am able to cook and give some form of culinary support and enjoyment in such hard times.

“I’m told by my clients when they order my food that it gives them something to look forward to as going out is not allowed. With the parents ordering the toffee cream tarts, chocolate oat brownies and caramel slices, it’s also cheering up the children, providing them with happy schoool and friend memories. It’s amazing how many comfort recipes are being asked for and it makes me feel happy that I can create happy memories for people.”

Ms Guy is also supporting a children’s online ‘Kiddy Cook’ book with lockdown recipes raising money for the NHS.

She trained to be a chef but then went into modelling. She won Come Dine with Me and then went back years later to compete against other winners and won the Champions of Champions.

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