A man who once blew up a microwave heating a can of soup took on the culinary challenge of a lifetime when he volunteered to appear in TV’s Come Dine With Me.
David de Niese had just 10 days to learn how to cook a three course meal in front of a critical camera crew.
He admits the height of his previous cooking experience was limited to sticking a ready-made pizza into the oven.
Millions of viewers watched last week as he got to grips with a starter, main course and dessert while hosting a Vegas-style dinner party at his Shenley Church End home.
“Unfortunately I served a vegetarian guest with meat cottage pie instead of the Quorn cottage pie I’d made. But apart from that it wasn’t too bad,” said the 34-year-old management consultant.
David, a huge Barry Manilow fan, chose a Vegas theme for the evening and even hired three showgirls.
“To distract from the food, I served loads of champagne. Probably too much, actually.
“By the time it came to serving dessert I’d had far too much to drink. The camera crew told me not to talk and they’d do voice-overs instead!”
His offering of goats cheese and carpaccio salad, cottage pie and ‘Vegas Mess’ – a variation of Eton mess – prompted a mixed reaction from his fellow competitors.
“The starter went a bit rubbery. In fact, one diner picked up a bit of the meat and it bounced off the plate!” he said.
“But thanks to the champagne and the showgirls, everyone had a great time. In fact, one of the diners said it was the best evening of the show.”
David’s scores earned him a place at second to the bottom. But he is still delighted with his efforts.
“Honestly, I knew nothing about cooking before all this. Once when I was at uni I microwaved a bowl of soup with the metal spoon in it.
“Sparks came out of the microwave – it was scary.”
Now, with Come Dine with Me under his belt, David is happy to leave the cooking to his wife Niamh.
“Fortunately she is a very good cook,” he said.