A brand new prime time cookery show kicks off next Tuesday (February 28) from 8pm- 9pm on ITV.
In each episode of four-part series ‘The Secret Chef’, a person with minimal culinary skills is given just five weeks to learn to cook a restaurant-standard meal. The novices are taught in secret by top chefs.
Each show concludes with the chefs helping their protégés to prepare a gourmet meal for some very special guests.
The family and friends of the amateurs are invited to the restaurant – and have no idea that the food they eating is entirely the work of their loved one, who previously struggled to boil an egg.
Each ‘Secret Chef’ has one close friend to help them with the burden of keeping their mission under wraps, whilst providing a kitchen in which to practise their culinary skills.
In episode one, we meet self-confessed calamity cook Julie Green, who has decided to take matters into her own hands and show her husband Gary and two daughters that she is not the kitchen catastrophe they think she is.
Gary regularly cooks curries at family get-togethers but Julie’s friends claim the extent of her ability includes burning pasta. Julie said: “It does get you down, being the butt of their jokes all the time.”
Chef and Indian restaurant owner Nisha Katona is given the challenge of training Julie to prepare an Indian banquet.
Nisha said: “I describe myself as a curry evangelist. I have dedicated my life to teaching people how to cook curry. But I’m training someone - who has no cooking skills - to the level of a restaurant curry chef. That is a huge mountain to climb and there are so many ways that we could fail.”
While Julie’s family believe they are taking part in a documentary about British eating habits, Nisha secretly visits Julie at home and asks her to prepare a simple spiced chicken dish with rice, to observe her ability.
The outcome is an eye-opener for Nisha. As she tastes the rice cooked by Julie, she says: “It’s overcooked. What you’ve created there is white carb sludge.”
Nisha uses a list of Gary’s favourite dishes to create a bespoke menu for the upcoming banquet.
After learning to prepare the first course in a professional kitchen environment, during which Julie is bombarded with texts from Gary believing she is at work, Julie then heads to her friend Susanne’s house to practice.
The crash course continues as Julie learns recipes for dahl and Goan fish and chips. Nisha then invites Julie into her flagship restaurant in Liverpool to give her some experience of a commercial kitchen.
As the day of the big reveal arrives, Julie is committed to creating five perfect courses to impress her family and friends.
Determined to make Gary proud, nervous Julie rolls up her sleeves in the restaurant kitchen and dodges phone calls from her oblivious husband. “I tell you something, it would have been easier to have had an affair!” she said.
Meyer Group’s Prestige brand is the main sponsor of ‘The Secret Chef’ series. The brand will have bespoke sponsorship idents at the start and end of each advertising break. Prestige will underpin this with a digital campaign.