STIFF drinks helped two Warwickshire contestants on Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me get over the shock of seeing themselves on television.
With the county heats of the programme, in which hosts are subjected to character assassination as much as criticism of their cooking, screened last week, Radford Semele fitness instructor Liza Macias and Millhouse Terrace resident Pinky Sidhu each hosted pub nights for their big moment on the small screen.
The contestants had got on well, so it was up to the directors to add a little spice of their own. Sailor Steve Aston, came across as a nautical Casanova, while Pinky, a former Miss Leamington, was portrayed as a prima donna.
Liza - declared joint winner with Steve - claimed he had resorted to the tactic of plying his guests with alcohol to boost his popularity, but her own French menu didn’t stint on the sauce.
After a starter of avocado with cream mushroom prawns and sweet chilli, finished with cheese, home-made garlic butter and fresh Mediterranean bread, came duck à l’orange with Grand Marnier and Cointreau. Dessert was mini gateaux soaked in Tia Maria, with fresh strawberries and grated chocolate and a sparkler.
Liza, who held a night at the Sozzled Sausage pub on Monday, said: “I’m absolutly chuffed to bits. They were such great group of competitors. It was so lucky to have nice people.
“It was absolutely exhausting. I was pressurised and out of my comfort zone, but it was so worth winning, even though I had to share joint first with Casanova.”
Pinky, on TV on Thursday, could only watch from behind a cushion at the Cricketers pub, where the chefs recreated the menu she had cooked for her guests, which was based on her love of Indian, Italian and British food. Her starter was a Pinky’s pockets, so named because explaining the dish - pittas filled with curried mince, salad and raita - takes too long.
This was followed by a main course of chicken, mushroom and tarragon pasta and a pomegranate salad, with sticky toffee pudding with dates.
In the event Pinky didn’t think the pub’s chefs got her signature dish quite right, but admitted she was glad she didn’t have to cook for 50 people.