Are you Norfolk's best home cook?
PUBLISHED: 11:36 28 May 2018
I've said and written on numerous occasion how I feel that cooking and competitiveness are not happy bedfellows.
There really shouldn’t be winners or losers when it comes to making dinner. No one cooks well under pressure and I’d certainly wait another 10 minutes for my tea than the poor cook being told “you have three minutes to get this on the plate”, followed by “stand away from the table”.
But I’m all for chefs being given awards for their efforts. Recognition for the dedication, commitment and discipline it takes to succeed in a professional kitchen is always gratefully received, be it Michelin stars, glowing reviews or red rosettes, but the trend to rate restaurants or chefs into some sort of order is a strange one. Particularly with food, it’s all about personal taste!
In my younger years I was an avid cookery competitor, pitting my pans against the great and the good from across the country. However, three successive National Chef of the Year semi-finals in the ‘90s gave me nothing but the bitter taste of disappointment.
I remember on one occasion I was sharing a stove with a then-unknown Gordon Ramsey, who flew in from his employment at the feted Guy Savoy restaurant in Paris, cooked and returned to France, victorious.
I am pleased to see Marcin Pomierny, head chef of the Maids Head Hotel and a former winner of the EDP Norfolk Magazine Chef of the Year 2016, has reached the same stage this year. Hopefully he can go one better than my efforts from a couple of decades past.
So I’ve performed something of a volte-face for this year’s EAT Norfolk Food Awards by sponsoring a new category, the Norfolk Home Chef of the Year Award.
Open to all ages (the only caveats are that you can’t work in a professional kitchen or have professional cookery qualifications), it really is all to cook for!
Everyone has a recipe in them - that faithful stand-by, the tea-time favourite, the pie, pudding or hot pot that that you know family and friends will look forward to.
We’re not looking for pyrotechnics on the plate, swooshs, foams, gels and dusts, we just want people who can cook, the unsung heroes of your home kitchens.
My mum has cooked her Eccles cakes every time I’ve visited for the last 40 years, and every crisis we have had at home is always soothed by a plate of pancakes.
When my grandsons visit they have to have my wife’s roast potatoes, be it with sausages, a barbecue or beans, and no day is complete for me without a cheese and pickle sandwich on white and a Fab ice lolly.
I’m sure you have far more refined taste than our family so slip on your toque and get cooking - and if you don’t fancy it then cajole your grandparents, children, friends and neighbours to enter!
The only essential ingredient is a large dollop of enthusiasm! (Although anything involving cheese and pickle might be good, too!).
Find out more on www.norfolkfada.co.uk