STILL riding high after her success in this year’s MasterChef, Jilly McCord wowed the audience at the Buccleuch Centre last Sunday with her cookery demonstration.
As reported in last week’s E&L Advertiser, this was a fundraising event organised by Langholm Rotary Club, together with Langholm Playcare.
Funds were to be raised for a specially-adapted Landcruiser ambulance for Zambia Africa.
The MC was in the capable hands of Rotarian Kenneth Pool who introduced Jilly to the audience.
Jilly thanked Kenneth and the Rotary for inviting her to showcase her cooking skills in front of a live audience and set about preparing her three chosen dishes.
With stoves, pots and pans and utensils borrowed from her parents and the Buccleuch Centre kitchen, she cooked a three-course meal.
She started with a seafood ravioli with a prawn bisque, venison loin on celeriac puree with black pudding bon-bons and pickled blackberries followed by tart tatin with creme fraiche and ice cream.
The venison steak was provided by Mark Seed and shot on the Craig Farm in Westerkirk.
Jilly invited Mark to have first taste. It was just how he liked it, slightly on the rare side and totally delicious with the puree.
Other eager tasters lined up to sample the fayre and were all unanimous in their praise.
During the interval the audience were invited to prepare questions to be read out during the second half.
With Kenneth’s dry wit and Jilly’s humbling humour, this provided some light entertainment.
From these questions they learned Jilly was regularly in touch with the other two MasterChef finalists Delia and winner Irini.
She also told the story of how she entered the competition this time last year by completing an online application.
She was told she would hear in October but as October arrived and hadn’t heard anything, she gave up any hope.
Just as half term arrived, she received the news that she’d gone through to the last 200 and was invited to Edinburgh to deliver a cooked meal to the production team.
Having already told her school she ‘probably wouldn’t get through’, she was offered a place and went to London to start filming before Christmas.
The hardest thing was keeping quiet about the results from the end of filming last Christmas.
The audience learnt that the competition was harder than teaching teenagers; she is a history and politics teacher at Dollar Academy.
She gave an insight into how the competition worked.
Strangely, competitors don’t get the chance to taste each others’ cooking but nothing is wasted because the camera crews tuck in at the end of filming.
Her best memory was visiting Hong Kong and meeting Raymond Blanc who praised her venison.
She was asked whether she would continue to teach after her newly-found fame as a cook.
She replied that she had no plans to give up teaching but with the six-week summer holiday, she had a few cooking engagements planned in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
One of the events was creating a menu for the lunch for the Woman of the Year award this autumn.
After the demonstration, Kenneth gave a vote of thanks to Jilly and, in return, she thanked the Rotary for the opportunity and everyone for supporting her along her MasterChef journey.