The Gourmet Garden Blog Off Cook Off Final
If you have looked at my recipes recently, you may have noticed that at the end of last year I entered Three Ingredient Thai Turkey Burgers into the Gourmet Garden Blog Off Cook Off. Amazingly, out of all the brilliant entrants, I was picked as one of the finalists! I was invited to a London cookery school for the final, where I would cook my dish for a panel of judges including celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager.
Sign outside the kitchen - made it all seem very real!
Last Thursday was the big day. When I arrived I met my fellow finalists, Michelle from Mummy Rates It, Emma from Emma Nutrition and Donna from Mummy News. We had lots in common, we're all mums, we all blog and we all love food, so we had much to talk about.
Me, Emma, Michelle and Donna (left to right)
We met Rosemary Shrager who is just so lovely, I cannot speak highly enough of her. She's warm, friendly, chatty, kind, generous, very clever, very funny and very humble and down to earth. I actually love her. She took time to answer some questions we had prepared for her (but that's another post!). Even when the time was up she was not in a hurry to rush off.
Me with Rosemary Shrager. Actually love her.
The morning flew by and then it was time to start cooking. My burger recipe was not quite enough to fill the hour time slot we had to cook, so I decided to accompany them with some garlic and coriander fries and a cucumber and mango salad with a chili and coriander dressing. For a quick dessert I had devised some roasted pineapple with a ginger, honey, lime and cinnamon marinade. I'd practiced at home a couple of times (Mr Kay was starting to look like a burger) and was fairly confident I could (just about) do it in the allocated time.
Michelle and Donna getting ready to cook off
Being in a different kitchen with new appliances did throw me somewhat. I was a bit like a swan - I may have appeared to be gliding along, but under the water I was flapping. Rosemary wondered around during the cooking offering little helps and tips. Thanks to her I now know how to peel and chop a cucumber like a pro. With a couple of minor blunders, including a sliced thumb, I somehow finished on time and presented my dishes to the judges along with the other ladies. We were then sent away while a winner was picked. Eeeek!
The final dishes waited to be judged
After much waiting, and it really did seem like forever, they brought us back to announce the winner. After a very very very long pause from Rosemary, she announced "the winner is..... Filipa" Me? Did she say me?! It took me a few seconds to realise that it actually was me and that I had won. Oh my, I was really shocked and surprised, my mouth was open for a very long time but nothing came out. Then I was given a lovely trophy and flowers and I was standing having my picture taken. Then it started to sink in and I remembered that wining means... Australia... woo hoo!
In a severe state of shock after the results were announced. Spot my blue plaster?
We were then treated to dinner at Hix. The British-themed food was superb, and the restaurant was pretty unique in it's style. We munched crackling crisps with apple sauce dip while we pondered the menu. In the end I chose the Yorkshire mallard with rhubarb and cabbage followed by chocolate cheesecake to die for (that's not the official name, I wish I could remember as it was pretty special).
Incredible dinner at HIX
So home I went with a shiny trophy, beautiful flowers and a large supply of Gourmet Garden products to play with. It was such an amazing day but just the beginning - the real prize is a 12 month Gourmet Garden ambassador partnership which includes a trip to Noosa, Australia in May.
I do have a few people I need to thank. Firstly a huge thank you to all the lovely people at Gourmet Garden for this fantastic opportunity. Also a massive thank you to my mum who looked after my boys for the day and encourages me no end. Also a big thank you to my loving and supportive husband, Rich, who has to eat everything I make, good and bad, and on this occasion the same thing several times. Also I need to thank Sarah from Boo Roo and Tigger Too for telling me about the competition in the first place.
Much more to come on this - watch this space!