Potters Bar woman and 'hopeless cook' becomes Disaster Chef finalist

PUBLISHED: 10:49 16 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:54 16 November 2016

From left: Philipp Schmidt, Marina Wells and winner Bassam Al-Yaseen. Picture: Kenwood

From left: Philipp Schmidt, Marina Wells and winner Bassam Al-Yaseen. Picture: Kenwood

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A former midwife from Potters Bar became a finalist and runner-up in the Kenwood Disaster Chef 2016 competition.

Marina Wells.
Picture: KenwoodMarina Wells. Picture: Kenwood

Marina Wells, 53, of Heath Drive, and two other self-proclaimed ‘Disaster Chefs’ competed in a live cooking challenge, run by kitchen appliance company Kenwood, in front of Chef Raymond Blanc, OBE.

The finalists had been selected from hundreds of hopeless cooks across the country, and in the final on Saturday, November 5 had to create two recipes at London cookery school AVEQIA.

Marina, who used to work as a midwife, made a twice-baked cheese soufflé and spaghetti served in spicy tomato sauce to impress judges Raymond Blanc, Kenwood development chef Martin Johns and marketing director Alex Pickering.

Marina said: “I have recently given up work and so I decided to concentrate upon becoming the domestic goddess which I have always aspired to be. However the lack of imagination in the kitchen means that I have to follow recipes to the letter.

From left: Raymond Blanc,  Philipp Schmidt, Marina Wells, winner Bassam Al-Yaseen, Chef Martin Johns and Kenwood Marketing Director Alex Pickering.
Picture: KenwoodFrom left: Raymond Blanc, Philipp Schmidt, Marina Wells, winner Bassam Al-Yaseen, Chef Martin Johns and Kenwood Marketing Director Alex Pickering. Picture: Kenwood

“My finest moment in the kitchen was when making a lemon meringue pie for a dinner party which needed the zest and juice of two lemons.

“I used these lovely lemons that had been given to me by a friend, which had been brought back from Portugal and these were at least two to three times the size of Tesco-bought lemons.

“I made no concessions as this recipe called for two lemons and so I used two lemons. This tart was as described, literally lemon and tart and unfortunately completely inedible.”

Although she did not win, all contestants received a Kenwood Chef Titanium food mixing machine worth £599.99, which they used during the competition.

Marina Wells with Raymond Blanc.
Picture: KenwoodMarina Wells with Raymond Blanc. Picture: Kenwood

Raymond Blanc said: “Gastronomy is all about creating new tastes, learning new skills and experimenting.

“It’s exactly what we’ve been doing with the Kenwood Disaster Chef Competition - helping less confident cooks connect with food and encouraging them to get creative in the kitchen.

“It has been wonderful to see the contestants learn and grow throughout the process.”

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