Last August, two very exciting things happened. Firstly, I got invited to give a cooking demonstration at the Theatre of Food as part of the Dublin Tall Ships Festival. Secondly, UTV (ITV as it’s known in its native Britain) rang me and asked me if they could film the experience as part of a new travel show called James Nesbitt’s Ireland.
Television production companies aren’t in the habit of ringing me, so you can imagine my excitement; swiftly followed by terror. A strong cup of tea, a pep talk from my best friends and a new hair cut later, I embarked on a surreal few days of my least favourite things – public speaking and being the centre of attention… Reader, I shan’t lie, I loved every minute of it.
A film crew arrived at my house on a Friday morning and filmed me baking, interviewed me at length and then drove with me to the Tall Ships Festival to film me giving my first ever live cooking demonstration. The marquee was full, the kitchen was unfamiliar and I had a microphone strapped to my head – I was so sick with nerves that I dropped my eggs on the floor and over-whipped my cream to near butter. But I got through it and my elation when I had was incomparable. I doubt I would have got through it, however, without my brilliant and steely nerved partner Kate and my best friend Lily, whose support both then and always, is unwavering.
The director was very interested in the produce I source for Wildflour Bakery, and so for the next round of filming we headed out to my friend Rosie O’Sullivan’s idyllic Spring Cottage Organic Farm in Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath. Rosie is one of my favourite Irish food producers and her farm is among the loveliest places on earth – she deserves a blog post all to herself, so that shall be next time. Her farm was a joy to film on, the sun was hot and high and butterflies followed us among the fruit bushes and polytunnels.
Our last day of filming was at Honest2Goodness market where I have my Saturday stall. My lovely customers and fellow stall holders were very patient with the unwieldy film crew and some were even interviewed about their thoughts on Wildflour Bakery.
James Nesbitt’s Ireland will air tomorrow evening, Monday 22nd April at 8pm on UTV (ITV in Britain). I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed filming it.
With sincere thanks to: Kate (my love), Lily (my fantastic friend and right-hand woman for the cooking demo), Alan, Daili, Louise and Tadhg for all your support and practical help, Rosie and Martin for allowing us to film on their farm, all involved at TwoFour Productions, Catherine at Theatre of Food for initiating everything, Bríd and all my super customers at H2G for putting up with a film crew at the market and especially to those of you who were also interviewed about me: Bill Gunter, Rachel & Phil and Aisling & Ronan – thank you for saying nice things.
You can watch our section of the episode on YouTube here: