Calamity cook Annie on course to improve

Annie Craig with her first dish from the course
Annie Craig with her first dish from the course
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A self-confessed disaster cook from Dunstable is taking decisive action after hearing alarm bells ringing – quite literally.

Annie Craig is almost as burnt-out from cooking catastrophes as the food she is forced to toss away in the bin.

The mum-of-two works full-time and has decided to enrol in the Kenwood Disaster Chef course in order to build her confidence and learn new cooking skills.

“I actually think I’m quite a good cook,” said Annie, 53, of Pipers Croft. “I’m very creative in the kitchen, I just haven’t quite figured out a way to put it into practice.

“The kids always know when dinner’s ready because they hear the smoke alarm go off. My 13-year-old daughter Lauren is desperately learning to cook.”

Son Ryan, 15, has opted to eat out where possible and husband Keith tends to do much of the cooking himself.

Annie’s infamous cooking disasters include an elaborate Thomas the Tank Engine cake for her son’s birthday party, complete with dribbling icing sugar, which made the journey as far as the bin.

She said: “I used to invite friends round for evenings and I’d try a new recipe. But it got to the point where everyone ate before they came.

“Most of what I make gets burnt or stuck to the bottom of the pan.”

But Annie has her doubts about whether she really is the number one worst cook in Dunstable, a town of 35,000 people.

She said: “I think I’m probably in the top ten. There might be others out there who are just a bit shy!”

Good-humoured Annie admits there is more to taking part in the competition than raising a few laughs.

She said: “Beyond public humiliation, what I’d really like to get out of this is to be able to put home-cooked meals on the table.”

Annie will join 14 other participants in a six-week online training course run by Kenwood – who specialise in kitchen equipment – to learn the basics and hone their skills in the kitchen.

And then there will be a live final in London on December 6, where judges including Cold Feet actress Hermione Norris will crown the cook who has made the most progress.

Prizes for the winner include a kitchen makeover from Symphony Kitchens worth £3,000, a £500 cookery course and a selection of cooking equipment from Kenwood.

You can follow Annie’s journey to culinary success on the BBC Good Food app or by visiting the website at www.kenwooddisaster-chef.com.