The ‘Come Dine With Me Challenge’

News: Come Dine With Me challenge
Curtis Michael (far right) next to Allison Cooper and Project 106's Nicola Naylor

It was billed as the great ‘Come Dine with Me Challenge' - two teams of cooks in competition to see who could produce the best meal.

One from the Bracton Centre and one from Project 106, a hostel commissioned by Oxleas that supports service users as they integrate back into society.

Partly organised by Bracton Centre Support Time and Recovery (STaR) worker, Curtis Michael, the event took place over two legs on a home and away basis at two venues.

Curtis explained: "The catalyst for our first event came about because one of our former residents, who now resides at Project 106, suggested that the 106 cookery group prepare a better standard of food than we do. Well as you might guess our residents felt affronted by this statement and the gauntlet was thrown down.

"Of course from our point of view this is great because it reinforces the fact that the cookery group that has been running for a little over two years (since The New Sycamore unit has been open) is achieving its main objectives. These are to teach and develop cookery skills, to encourage safe use of appliances and practice all food hygiene procedures, to be able to work independently and work in a group structure, to build confidence in the kitchen and feel able to cook for yourself if you were living independently. It also helps to develop social cohesion between residents, who always sit, eat and chat together as part of the group ethos. And of course be able to share a living environment."

Back to the food. Earlier this week, on Tuesday 17 July, a team of cooks from Project 106 were invited along to the Bracton's New Birchwood facility for the second-leg of the cook-off. They enjoyed a sumptuous Mexican meal which included: delicious Mexican kebabs and Mexican rice as a main course; and for dessert Mexican chocolate cake with strawberries. All prepared by residents: Henry, Michael, Stefan and Shallom. The food was described on beautifully produced scroll like menus, rolled up and wrapped in a red ribbon, designed and made by Curtis and Birchwood Therapeutic Lead, Allison Cooper, who both served as waiter and waitress respectively for the meal.

A few days earlier the first-leg of the contest took place at Project 106. Again a tasteful menu was printed boasting delightful fare such as: a starter of traditional mixed salad with tuna, boiled egg and chilli-garlic prawns; a main course of Spanish omelette and Lamb meatballs in tomato sauce; with Lemon tart for dessert.

Great fun and food was had by all concerned and when the final scores were totted up Project 106 were the winners.

Published on 19th July 2012