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Chef vs Britain!

Published on July 1st 2005.

When ITV got in touch with Manchester Confidential for help recruiting contestants for new show Chef vs. Britain, we didn’t have to look very far. In fact all we had to do was look across the office. Surely Gordo was the perfect candidate? Considering he spends most of his time reviewing other people’s food, we thought it was time he cooked some of his own……….

Chef vs. Britain meets amateur cooks from all over the country who reckon they are as hot in the kitchen as any professional chef. Cheeky Italian chef, Gino d’ Acampo is challenged by contestants to cook his version of their signature dish. Both Gino and the contestant cook the same dish in the same location under the watchful eye of host Claire Sweeney. A team of locals then taste both recipes and decide which one will be the winner.

onsidering that Gordo has been banging on about retro food for months and months, it was only right that he challenged Gino to an old seventies favourite, Duck a l’ Orange. Prior to Gordo’s episode being filmed, the score had been 6-1 to Gino; Gordo was really going to have to pull out all the stops for this one. So, the gloves were off, the oven gloves went on, and the sweat poured!esterday afternoon saw the whole Manchester Confidential team traipsing over to Le Figaro (carefully avoiding the King Street shooting) to watch Gordo’s episode on the big screen. As Big Faye and Tim had nominated Gordo for the show, they were both slightly dubious about their five minutes of fame; Faye worried that she’d sound more Brummie than Ozzy Osbourne on a bad day, and Tim basically wondering just how big the big screen in Le Figaro was going to make his head look!

We managed to arrive in time to get the drinks in and get a seat to watch the show. We watched as Mark scoured the whole of Manchester (well, the top floor of Harvey Nics at least) for the finest ingredients, as he cooked against the clock, managed not to perve too much on Claire Sweeney (although that could just be careful editing on ITV’s part) and as he beat Gino to have his Duck a l’ Orange crowned Dish of the Day by tasters from Manchester University.

s Young Faye was quick to point out though, students will eat anything, so we all headed upstairs to Le Figaro’s restaurant to see if the proof really is in the pudding.

From now until the end of July Le Figaro are offering 3 courses for just £17.50, which includes Gordo’s recipe for Duck a l’ Orange.

Click here for the full menu..

ost of Manchester Confidential went with the Asparagus and Salmon for their starter (which was apparently perfect) with just myself and Tristan plumping for Soup of the Day, Carrot and Mint. And, although both Tim’s (Goughie’s not a schizo, we’ve two Tim’s in our office as many a confused punter has found out when phoning up!) managed to screw their faces up at the thought of Carrot and Mint together (which actually worked surprisingly well) once me and Tristan had declared it safe to eat, they were both more than happy to finish off any leftovers! Gordo’s Duck a l’ Orange recipe arrived, with everyone surprised at the amount of duck on their plate. The mash was soft and creamy and the duck itself was just right – if Gordo cooked the recipe on the show like this it’s no wonder he won (although we won’t bang on about it too much – don’t want it going to his head). Those that could manage a dessert did, and Tyrone kept the wine flowing and flowing…………….o with full stomachs we sloped off one by one, some to the opening of Marmalade, mostly those members of the office who were late this morning, some to watch Sex, Chips and Rock n’ Roll at the Exchange (which was brilliant, why am I a child of the 80’s when the 60’s were just so bloody cool?), some to carry on drinking and some to cry about the big smoking debate!b>Pam Wood

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