Game Pie and Damson Jelly was the dish of choice for local man Alan Herron when he appeared on the new and much-anticipated ITV show Food, Glorious Food.
Billed as a cross between The Great British Bake Off and Antiques Roadshow and produced by Simon Cowell’s production company Syco, the show kicked off this Wednesday with the first episode coming from Malvern, Worcestershire.
Carol Vorderman hosts the country-wide culinary contest to find the nation’s best home-cooked dish, along with judges food writer and editor Tom Parker Bowles, food connoisseur Lloyd Grossman, Stacie Stewart of the Beehive Bakery and vice chairwoman of the WI, Anne Harrison. The series winner will see their dish for sale on the shelves of Marks and Spencer and will also receive a £20,000 prize.
Alan, who was approached by a researcher after being identified as local well known “foodie”, commented: “I’ve loved cooking for as long as I can remember. From the age of 11 I would cook a full Sunday roast for the family whilst my mum was working. I think that’s probably illegal now!”
After being contacted by the programme’s team, Alan was asked to attend filming at the Harrogate Flower Show in September of last year.
He explained: “I chose to do the Game Pie as we’re from an area where game is a local speciality and I love making and eating pies. All the ingredients were locally sourced and the meat was from Roy Porter in Chatburn, who I think is by far the best butcher in the area.”
He continued: “I was lucky as because mine was a cold dish, I could make the pies a couple of days before and just serve them up when we got there on the day. I was awake the whole of the night before though, as I needed to inject them with jelly every two hours as I didn’t want it all to sink to the bottom of the pie.”
Another twist on the day was that producers had caught wind of the fact that Alan was planning to proposing to his long term girlfriend Kate in the near future and asked if he’d like to do it on air.
Alan said: “I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by, so we got a Hula Hoop crisp in a box and I got down on one knee. Luckily, she said yes and the bonus was that I got a lovely hug off Carol Vorderman too!”
Although Alan can’t reveal how far he gets in the competition, he hinted that he may be through to the next stage: “Tom Parker Bowles judged my dish and was absolutely brilliant – a really lovely guy. He dismissed the knife and fork and just bit into a huge chunk of the pie. When he could eventually speak, he declared it ‘the best Game pie I’ve ever tasted’. I was worth all the hard work for that comment alone!”
• Food, Glorious Food is on Wednesday’s from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on ITV1