Cooking the Books - Christmas Eve!

cooking the books (31/55)

Continuing on Five over the following fortnight is the cookery entertainment show that offers an exciting blend of top chefs, celebrities, lipsmacking recipes and tips. Presented by Jeremy Edwards, each edition tests recipes from bestselling cookery books written by guest chefs, who will demonstrate how to make their favourite dishes. The show also features a mystery celebrity at home and in the studio, alongside an audience of cookery enthusiasts and experts.

Cooking the Books rifles through the pages of some of Britain’s tastiest cookery books to bring their recipes to life. Top chefs such as Sophie Grigson, Ainsley Harriott, Simon Rimmer and Ken Hom join ‘Hollyoaks’ and ‘Celebrity MasterChef’ star Jeremy Edwards in the studio to whip up their most tantalising recipes. But will their tummyteasing dishes be as sumptuous on the palate as they are on the page? A lucky audience member is invited onto the stage to find out.

The studio audience consists of some of the most formidable taste buds in the land, with a crowd of food fanatics including Women’s Institute members, farmers, small food producers and regular home-cooking enthusiasts. Seated at bistro-style tables on set, the members of the audience bring to the feast their own unusual recipes, vegetables, pickles and preserves to be sampled by the chefs.

Another key feature of the series gives viewers a rare insight into the cooking habits of some of the country’s best-loved celebrities. Viewers at home and the studio audience are shown short films of mystery celebrities cooking a range of dishes in their own kitchens. While the celebrities’ faces are obscured, the films are littered with subtle clues and props to help viewers guess their identities. To see if the stars can really cut the mustard in the kitchen, they are not told what they will be cooking until they open their Cooking the Books hampers, stuffed with a selection of ingredients and bestselling cookbooks to guide them.

Once the celebrities have slaved away over their hot stoves, their identities are revealed and they arrive in the studio. The star chef applauds or laments their efforts, before giving them a quick master class relating to their recipes. This how-to guide offers tips on a range of cooking techniques, from the best way to fillet a fish to advice on making the perfect poached egg.

For the finale of the show, spatulas are at the ready as two chefs are given a brief and challenged to present their own take on it. Jeremy and the studio audience watch and compare recipes as the chefs cook, while the day’s celebrity acts as a skivvy to the star chef.

An audience member then steps in to assist the second chef. Once all the vegetables have been diced, the creams whipped and the sautés sorted, all that remains is to choose the winner of the contest. To decide, Jeremy calls upon a food lover from the audience to sample the delights on offer and declare the winner. As an added bonus, members of the lucky audience receive copies of the books used in the programme at the end of the show.

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