I’m pretty happy to have got a 9/10 on my dish last night. But once again, it has made me realise that I really need to try harder to iron out those tiny little mistakes that may have lost me that crucial point that could have taken my dish to the banquet. I’m disappointed that my tartar was a little blander than I anticipated, which was picked up on, and probably meant a score of 9 rather than that 10 I am really aiming for.
As mentioned on the show, I’m allergic to oysters. I found this out the hard way a few years ago, actually whilst cooking in my kitchen! But I was especially gutted last night as Turbot is easily my favourite fish, and the one Chris Archer was using was an absolute whopper, it looked class and I really wanted to try his dish. The standard of cooking was really high last night.
Mini’s dish, Little Fish Big Fish was a very strong dish. Tom Aikens obviously picked up on the facts that mine and Mini’s ingredients along with some of our methods were very similar. But it was fascinating to see how totally different the two dishes turned out to be, with the style and the concept being completely contrasting. I think this really shows where British Chefs are at at the moment, cooking at such a high standard but with such varied style and personality.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed my rather swanky aprons I wear on the show? I bought them from a great guy in Denver, Colorado. Jamey Freeman runs The Proper Apron Company (@properaproncompany- Instagram) he hand makes all of his aprons along with fantastic knife and tool rolls too.
Anyway, the thing is I only ordered 2 aprons….and because I’m such a messy pup I ended up wearing both of them on the first day of filming, whilst cooking my starter dish!
So after a long day of cooking and getting back to the hotel around 11.30pm, I realised I still needed an apron clean for tomorrow. So, there I was, 12.00am in a small North London hotel room, hand washing my aprons in the tiny bathroom sink! But the worst was to come. Eventually after getting in to bed, what turned out to be a nightly routine of flashing lights and maneuvering lorries began. First the 2.00am delivery to the Sainsburys downstairs, then the Dust bin men at 4.00am, followed by my alarm at 5.30am. I’d pick up my hand washed laundry and then it was straight back in the kitchen. Sometimes it felt like the most challenging thing wasn’t the cooking but trying to get some sleep! All 3 of us really felt the lack of sleep, but it was great to cook with lads I get on with so well. Chris and Mini are old friends, and I throughly enjoyed being able to cook alongside them. We bounced off each other, which really made the whole experience a lot easier.
I’m really looking forward to cooking my main course tonight, and getting back in the kitchen to hopefully, eventually clinch that 10! I need to focus, with no more silly mistakes like last night.
I hope you’re enjoying my daily blogs, and hope the stories behind the episodes help capture just how fun an experience it is. I’d like to thank everyone for the huge amount of support, which has been amazing again! So many people are talking about the ethos of The Black Swan and I’m so glad it’s coming across so well on the show. I’ll be back tomorrow to write all about tonights main course. Enjoy the show!