Saturday, 22 March 2008
The Paunch on Market Kitchen
One of our New Year resolutions was to make a TV appearance of some sort. So when the opportunity to appear in the Market Kitchen audience came up we decided to take half a day off work and get stuck in.
Andrew from Optomen, the TV company who produce the show, was really friendly and put us at ease. Being surrounded by foodie legends such as Tom Parker-Bowls, Matthew Fort, Paul Rankin and Mark Hix had the potential to be a it daunting. But the crew were brilliant at making everyone in the eclectic audience feel at home. Baristas served coffee and water all day... so much so that Cowie and I were bursting for the loo for much of the afternoon!
Paul Rankin cooked a superbly tender piece of fillet steak with a pepper corn and mustard crust with colcanon mash. Juicy and full of flavour, the steak was pretty special, as was the cabbagey mash. I'm looking forward to giving this recipe a go myself quite soon. It's simple and just chefy enough to impress!
Hilariously, Cowie and I were asked to give our opinions on camera! Cowie did a great job, praising the steak's tenderness, leaving me to give the verdict on the colcanon mash. It's hardest enough to type, let alone say! My first attempt got the better of me... my voice got a bit flutter, but my second attempt seemed to a bit better. It's quite intimidating having a camera and microphone thrust in your face without a moment's notice!
All the food we got to sample was delicious... albeit not without controversy. I am a firm believer in the fact that you are supposed to add salt to your scrambled eggs when you plate it up and not during the cooking process. Salt makes the egg protein break down and results in gloopy eggs. Essentially you land up with scrambled egg soup, which is what Tom Parker-Bowls served us. I couldn't help but mention this on camera... I just hope I don't sound like a complete prat!
Cowie and I had a great chat with Mark Hix about is Dorset roots and his new venture in Lyme Regis. We can't wait for it to open in June and are really pleased to hear that the Riverside is going to carry on going too.
But the best thing happened at the end. I got a chance to talk to one of my heroes and the man who inspired the name of the Paunch - Matthew Fort. Our blog is named after his column in the Guardian, "Around Britain with a Fork". His advice was extremely helpful and his story about how he got into food writing was refreshingly familiar - yet another talented man who graduated from the school of hard knocks that is otherwise known as the advertising industry!
His key points were:
Find your tone of voice. Keep writing. And writing. And develop it every day in everything you write.
Write about things that your audience want to hear.
Be pithy and single minded in the focus of your work.
Punchy headline. Gripping first sentence. And a singularity to the article. Don't deviate and waffle.
Fantastic advice. I'm keen to put it into practice. Inspired to write more. Find my niche. Develop my tone of voice. Develop a relationship with my audience. It's just like advertising really. Matthew, thank you so much for the chat. It meant a lot more to me than I think you realised.
The programme is being aired on April 1st on UKTV Food. I'm looking forward to watching it and making the most of Matthew's advice.