I’m used to being behind the camera never in front of it. Agreed to do some judging for a new series called Street Market Chef, then did that thing where as the day approaches, thinking ‘why the hell did I say yes?’ Answer; ego, naturally, plus curiosity. Anyway the Hotbed Productions crew and presenter Amanda Lamb are all very jolly despite the drizzle.
Our chefs are Stephanie Moon, Executive Chef at Rudding Park and Robert Ramsden from specialist food distributor, Delifresh – two of the nicest folk you could imagine, and up for the challenge, which involves making a starter and a main out of local ingredients then standing aside whilst we judge. We being moi, pretty boy-footballer Neil Barrett, star of York City FC (lovely lad but why?) and the gracious, funny, elegant and all round superstar Frances Atkins, Michelin star holder and owner of the Yorke Arms, Ramsgill, who I haven’t met before, and fall at her feet in adoration.
The whole thing is huge fun, and they rattle through it like the pros they are. Robert is the victor by a fag paper but apparently it’s not about the winning. Highlights include a man in the crowd shouting ‘I need the toilet!’ at the top of his voice during a take, and the nutter who came and stood behind us judges, clutched his head and saying in a very loud German accent ‘could someone please tell me what’s happening here?’ Fair enough. There you are, minding your own business, and suddenly there’s that glamorous woman from the Scottish Widows ad. in the middle of the market square of a Friday afternoon, standing in a makeshift kitchen in the rain, flanked by a couple of frantic chefs cooking as if their lives depended on it. I thought it was surreal too, and I knew what was going on.