Amateur chef put to the test

BY CALUM FRASER

calum@slpmedia.co.uk

An amateur chef from South-east London is being put to the test by Mary Berry on the BBC’s latest cookery programme.

Tobi Akingbolagun, of Lewisham, is one of 10 amateur cooks chosen to take part in Britain’s Best Home Cook which is being launched on BBC 1 on Thursday.

Each week, the three judges, Mary Berry, chef Dan Doherty and produce expert Chris Bavin, will challenge the cooks to create an “ultimate home favourite” and an improvised dish around a single ingredient.

Then the weakest cooks will face an elimination round to decide who is going to leave each week.

Mr Akingbolagun, 27, said: “I love cooking, it takes up the vast majority of my spare time.

“I’m quite playful and food is my creative outlet, I like to experiment in the kitchen and play around with how we use ingredients.”

The New Cross lad works as a compliance manager, but cooking has always been a passion of his.

“Around the age of seven I started cooking with my mum and gran.

“Mum would go to the meat markets or the fish markets and come home with loads of food and I would just watch on, really intrigued by what they were doing.

“Until one day I was big enough to get involved. I think the first thing I learnt to cook was a chicken stew.

“I really loved being in the kitchen and I’d help mum out as much as I could.

“I have three brothers – two older, but I would jump at the opportunity to look after the food and prepare the family meal.”

In this first episode, the cooks have an hour-and-a-half to prepare their ultimate burger with at least two sides designed to showcase their individual personality.

After that the show, hosted by Claudia Winkleman, moves to the Cooks’ Challenge which tests the cooks’ inventiveness and creativity with a key ingredient.

The cooks with the best burgers from challenge one are given an advantage by the judges as they will determine the key ingredient choice for everyone.

Last night the choice was between nuts and berries. Giving advice to other home cooks, Mr Akingbolagun said: “Have fun in the kitchen.

“The best food is made when you’re enjoying what you’re doing.

“If you don’t have company put on your favourite playlist or podcast.

“Cooking has to be done with love. Food cooked with love always tastes better.

“Also, don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes, some of my favourite flavour combinations have been a result of accidents.”

The show is now available on the BBC iPlayer.

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