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Archive for March, 2011

What a line up my fellow Wild Cook! This is as scary as it gets, cooking with two fellow Yorkshire based Chefs in the Great British Menu.

Andrew Pern, Nigel Howarth, Stephanie Moon and Tim Bilton

Andrew Pern, Nigel Howarth, Stephanie Moon and Tim Bilton

Pictured here left to right Andrew Pern, our mentor judge from Michelin starred Northcote Manor in Langho Lancashire Nigel Howarth, me with my white face of pure fear = Stephanie Moon,  and Tim Bilton.

What a week! I hope you get chance to watch and enjoy the programme, it was full of culinary fun and some scary moments.

I do not think anything can prepare you for the challenge. Firstly cooking for Nigel Howarth and the pressure you feel cooking for a true Great British Menu mentor, and secondly the really tough competition with the other Chefs.

Great British Menu judges Oliver Peyton, Prue Leith and Matthew Fort

Great British Menu judges Oliver Peyton, Prue Leith and Matthew Fort

All three of us were hungry to do well, so you will have to watch the programme to see what happens!

Great British Menu – start Monday 4 April at 6:30pm on BBC2.

Watch out on the Wild Cooks Blog for my Great British Menu and recipes next week!

Steph x

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Dear Wild Cooks,

It does not get much better than this! Last week I got asked to meet a legend in Harrogate for a “lunchtime audience”.

Wild Cook meets Elena Salvoni

Wild Cook meets Elena Salvoni

Elena Salvoni is a lady over 90 years old and I can tell you Wild Cooks, if I am in any way as sharp as her at that age, I will be very happy!

This lady brings the ‘H’ to hospitality in a mild mannered efficient style, and I can honestly say 2 hours seemed to be over in ten minutes, I could have happily listened to her for another 2 hours!

She spoke about the hospitality industry with such passion, as if it was a loved one – I guess, for many of us, it really is.

Sometimes people whisk into your life for a few moments and light up a room, then whisk away again.  She had that. We all gave our undivided attention listening to war time stories of her walking down to the Underground and getting customers out of the restaurant, as The Blitz continued overhead.

She explained how Ella Fitzgerald became a good friend and more recently Stephen Fry and John Hurt. These names were dropped into conversation reluctantly, expertly guided by her interviewer, Roy Ackerman. Elena gave us her life story in a snapshot.

I imagine that she has had a very full and varied life, with celebrities and customers’ lives running parallel to her own. Some of the great and good of London think of her as the mother they never had.

It was like meeting the hospitality version of Mother Teresa (I mean that with the utmost respect). Her eyes darted around the room making us all feel a little bit special, not missing anyone out. She reiterated that she has experienced a rich life and I am sure she meant it. Elena’s Etoile, The Gay Hussar and L’Escargot are the big hitter restaurants that she spent her life serving, developing an incredible wealth of experience.

What a lady, what a day and what a rich life.

Steph x

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