It’s time to meet the first of our contestants for Orkney’s Celebrity Master Chef event!
She’ll be taking on three other well-known local participants at the Orkney Theatre on the night, in a celebration of the finest food and drink from the islands.
Although she has still to finalise her menu for Master Chef, Lee is busy practising at home, with her family taste-testing her kitchen creations to make sure there will be no surprises on the big day.
Lee's dishes will be judged by three local experts at the event. Daniel Laud from Orkney College, Orkney.com food blogger, Rosemary Moon, and Issy Grieve, Orkney Food & Drink member and Barony Mills Chair, will sample all the menus and provide feedback to each contestant.
We asked Lee some questions about her preparations, with just a few weeks to go:
What’s your Master Chef menu? I’m still working on it but expect some seafood and plenty of local ingredients. I’m still trying to come up with a witty title for my menu but I’m not quite there yet!
Why did you decide to enter? I wouldn’t say I decided to enter, I was asked more than a year ago and it was easy to say yes back then…as it gets closer I’m increasingly regretting that decision!
How are you preparing for it? I’m drinking a lot of gin! I’ve been looking at recipes, thinking about all the Orkney produce that’s available and I’ve had a few practice servings – the family are enjoying sampling it (I think)!
How experienced in the kitchen are you? Experienced-ish! I’m a working mum with two kids, a husband, a dog and an amateur craft business, so I don’t spend as much time cooking as I’d like. I basically cook to feed people – it’s a survival thing!
What’s your all-time favourite dish to make? If I get food on the table at a respectable time and the kids eat it, then it’s a winner for me!
Any favourite ingredients to work with? Gin! And homegrown veggies. I have a bit of a veggie plot at the back of the house (I call it veggie, if you can find them amongst the chickweed!). We had good old mince and tatties the other night, with tatties, onions, carrots and cabbage from the plot, it was very tasty!
What’s your guilty pleasure, food and drink-wise? I’ve been on a low carb/low quantity wine diet since Easter, so anything is my guilty pleasure at the moment. Probably savoury things, like flaky biscuits and cheese with a nice glass of red wine…I’d better stop thinking about it!
Any kitchen disasters over the years? Plenty! The kids had a right laugh when I dropped Kenny’s birthday cake on the floor last year (Argos doughnut cake to the rescue!) Just the other day I poured a bottle of olive oil over myself and the dog, and burnt my arm, all within ten minutes!
What’s your secret kitchen talent? Can’t tell you – you’ll see on the night!
Orkney Celebrity Master Chef 2019, sponsored by NorthLink Ferries and Jewson, will be held in the Orkney Theatre on October 2. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased from any of the three Argo's outlets in Stromness and Kirkwall. Tickets are £10 each, which includes a glass of wine, and are individually numbered, so remember to book early. You can also reserve tickets by emailing email@example.com or calling 01856 761 430.