Chef prepares to do battle for BBC prize

The Kingham Plough’s Emily Watkins

The Kingham Plough’s Emily Watkins

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A PUB chef has stepped back in time to compete in the new series of the BBC’s Great British Menu.

Emily Watkins, chef and proprietor of the Kingham Plough, in Kingham, near Chipping Norton, will battle 24 top chefs from across the country for the honour of cooking a ‘wartime spirit’-themed banquet to honour veterans on D-Day.

The series, which begins on April 7, has already been filmed, but competitors are sworn to secrecy as to who came first.

Mrs Watkins, who has run the pub with her husband Miles Lampson for seven years, said it was an enormous honour to compete in the show for a second time.

In last year’s Comic Relief-themed show, she made it to the second round, where she was let down by her green eggs and ham starter.

She said the big lesson she learnt from that was “not to be pregnant when you’re doing it”.

She has since given birth to her third child Wilbur, who joins big brother Alfie, four, and sister Grace, three.

Mrs Watkins, 35, said: “It is an incredibly high pressured competition. Aside from the fact it is televised, to be cooking against chefs of such high calibre is very daunting and throw into that the veteran judges who are going to be tasting and scoring your food, and of course wanting to get through to the final banquet.

“But I loved every minute of it, there were definitely some low points as well as the highs.

“This year’s brief – to honour the war veterans for the 70th anniversary of D-Day – was fantastic as well and really suited to us at the Kingham Plough.

“I threw everything into the competition and tasted some delicious food from the other chefs. It is looking to be a fantastic series.”

Now in its ninth series, the Great British Menu gets about two million viewers.

This year’s competitors have been fighting for the chance to cook at a D-Day banquet at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Guests will include soldiers who fought on June 6, 1944, and others who served on the front line and the home front. Chefs were told their creations must evoke the wartime spirit as well as tasting delicious.

Episode one will be shown at 7.30pm on Monday, April 7, on BBC Two.

The show was filmed in November and December.

EMILY WATKINS’ RASPBERRY ICE CREAM RECIPE

1kg raspberries
225g caster sugar
125ml double cream
Place the raspberries in a blender and blend until a smooth puree. Pass through a fine sieve to remove pips. Place in a saucepan and reduce to 750g.
Place cream and sugar together and cook until the sugar has dissolved.
Mix together the fruit puree and sweetened cream.
Place in an ice cream maker and churn until frozen.

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