We have something a little different to link up to Kids in the Kitchen this week. Different and very exciting!
We thought meeting Mary Berry last month was mega exciting after D's cookies won him first place in the junior bakes category at the Bakes and Cakes show. It had come as a total shock to him (and us). It's not that we don't believe in him, we really do but because both myself and Richard are not very talented when it comes to cooking, we just don't feel that he has the best role models or mentors for cookery.
So we were once again in for a surprise when D got through to the final of a county-wide cookery competition. They'd had 167 entries and he was selected as a finalist and invited to cook at the live final.
He'd made it to the final once before, 2 years ago when he was just 6 years old. It was seeing him cook then in a big professional kitchen with such calm and confidence that made us realise just what a natural flair for cooking he has. It was then that he started his blog and named it The Brilliant Chef, which is what he wants to name his own restaurant when he's older.
Anyway back to last Thursday. He was in the family category which meant that I was there cooking alongside him. Last time he insisted on doing all his own cutting, prepping and putting everything together. I just helped with the hob as it is a huge, very hot, industrial hob.
This time his meal was more ambitious and when he had practised the previous weekend, it was very tight timings to get two courses done in the two hours.
This time he felt nervous. I wonder if he felt a subconscious pressure of having to do well after the Mary Berry experience. After all, his cookies had been judged as the best bake by none other than master patissiere Eric Lanlard.
But we kept reminding him about just how much he had enjoyed the experience last time. We told him that it was a huge achievement just to have made it to the final. Big brother J even made him a very sweet card reminding him it was all about having fun.
We didn't have any hope or expectation that he would win...
He kept his cool in the kitchen, he stuck to the recipe as he is so good at doing, he knew his stuff when the judges came round and quizzed him about why he was adding seasoning, and what type of nut he was using. They looked impressed as they watched him peel the garlic using a huge knife blade laid flat over the garlic and then punched using a fist.
He took pride in presenting his cooking making sure the plates were wiped clean and that his food looked good with a little garnish to add colour.
He was confident in asking for any kitchen equipment he needed in what was a huge and unfamiliar kitchen.
He double checked the weight of the ingredients that had been pre-weighed to make sure everything was accurate.
He just did brilliantly. We were so very proud of him.
And when they called his name out as winner, I could have cried with happiness. He was shocked and we were shocked. He's an amazing lad and it turns out he really truly has turned out to be a brilliant chef too.