Burray woman Shirley Davies has been selected for the Lucky Local spot in this year’s Orkney MasterChef competition. Keen amateur cook Shirley will pit her culinary skills against three professional chefs from the county at next month’s competition - part of the 2014 Orkney Food Festival.
Nominated by daughter Jo, Shirley was picked from all the Lucky Local entries after a vote by the members and directors of event organisers Orkney Food and Drink. She’ll go head to head with full-time chefs Roddy Belford (Foveran), Sarah Taylor (Hamnavoe), and Hazel Hourston (Lynnfield) at the competition, being staged in the Orkney Theatre on 1 October.
Compered by BBC Radio Orkney’s Dave Gray, the event will see each chef prepare a three-course meal within a fully fitted professional kitchen, specially installed in the theatre by competition sponsors Jewson. A panel of judges from the food and drink, tourism and catering sectors - along with some members of the audience - will sample the culinary creations before the title of Orkney MasterChef 2014 is awarded to the chef deemed to have come up with the best menu on the night.
Shirley said she’d been totally unaware that Jo had nominated her for the MasterChef competition. “She forgot to tell me and then went on holiday,” said Shirley, who grows much of the produce she uses in her cooking. “When I got the phone call letting me know I’d been selected, I was initially terrified. But, I’m always up for a challenge. I love cooking and would regret it if I didn’t go for it. What could possibly go wrong?”
Although she’s already started planning and practising for the competition, Shirley is staying tight-lipped about what her MasterChef menu might consist of. “All I can say right now is that it’s going to have traditional flavours, with a fresh, modern twist.”
Edgar Balfour, from event organisers Orkney Food and Drink, said he was delighted to have Shirley on board for the competition. “Clearly, Shirley’s nomination came as a surprise for her and, understandably, she’s a wee bit nervous, but her daughter Jo certainly thinks her cooking is pretty special,” added Edgar. “It sounds as if she’ll give the professionals a real run for their money and we’re sure she’ll really enjoy what promises to be a fun and hugely entertaining night for everyone.”
Tickets for the event, costing £10, are still available from Argo’s Bakery shops in Stromness and Kirkwall, and directly from Edgar Balfour on 01856 761 430, or via his email firstname.lastname@example.org.