I have been asked quite a lot what it was like taking part in the Ready Steady Cook wild food special several times recently, so, although very late I thought I would write a little piece on what it was like and what really goes on behind the scenes of a BBC cooking show.
The day started off with me running around like a headless chicken looking for all manner of ingredients to take to the show with me. I decided to take the following. Wood sorrel, Hawthorn leaves and flowers, jack by the hedge, nettles, beech leaves, hogweed, woodland pig nuts (sometimes called earth nuts), lemon balm and wild chives, mushrooms, and mackerel.
It must have taken 4 hours to arrive after being held in traffic and diverted through a different route due to a robbery or something to that effect going on in the high street. I don't get on too well with London at the best of times, not because it's a bad place, but because it's just too busy for a person like me. But, it was rather interesting never the less. Anyway, with 10 minutes to spare I eventually arrived at the studio with my cool box of all things wild.
No sooner had I got my foot in the door when I was rushed off to the green room where a lady ran out and shoved a microphone up my jumper. I knew this thing was going to fall off, and I stressed the point, but apparently they don't, I begged to differ and was proven right later on that day. I filmed this in April, but while I was waiting, they were filming the Christmas show, which I presume will be on in the next few weeks.
I was only in the green room for a few moments when filming for the Christmas show stopped and I was asked to go behind the scenes and show the producers what wild ingredients I had brought along with me. The first things that struck me was how dark the studio was, and how surreal it all felt. Anyway, they looked at my ingredients and turned their noses up at most of it as it didn't ‘look right'. I think they meant some of it i.e. the pignuts had earth on them, but anyway, I had a feeling they wouldn't be good enough for a TV show, little did they know they would have been the best bit!
Whilst they decided on which of my ingredients they should use I was taken off to the seating area to see what was going to happen.
It so happened that the show I was doing was also a celebrity edition featuring Joanna page and another lady who I'm sorry to say I had never heard of. Anyway, they were all very nice people as were Ainsley Harriott and all of the members of staff and chefs.
I think the main question I get asked is "do they really cook it in 20 minutes?" I have to say I thought not, and although there a couple of stops here and there for filming reason, the chefs do actually cook it within the given time (give a take just a couple of minutes for camera work etc).
The second question I get asked was, "how did it taste". The ingredients used were mainly stinging nettles and wood sorrel and a few hawthorn flowers. The main component was the mackerel and mushrooms, and all of it tasted really nice, but having a 7ft camera shoved in your face whilst trying to eat is not the most pleasing feeling in the world but there we go!
I hope this short article has shed a little light on what happens.
Catch you on the trail