Is there one ingredient that you couldn’t live without? Something without which the kitchen becomes a hostile and unmanageable environment, the dining table a pallid, loveless place? Perhaps you couldn’t live without butter (I know I couldn’t) – foods like toast and mashed potatoes rendered mere compromises without its decadent embrace. Some would find the absence of garlic inhumane in, say, a roast chicken. It’s a topic that is inevitably divisive, and that’s only a good thing, because this Friday, to raise money for the Haiti Earthquake Appeal, 5 food writers and bloggers will lock horns over this very subject at the Westbridge Pub in Battersea.
Here are the contestants and their ingredients:
Kavita Favelle – Cheese
Tim Hayward – Pork
Rachel McCormack – Olive Oil
Charlie Nelson – Eggs
Oliver Thring – Salt
Each competitor will have 3 minutes to present their ingredient, explaining to the audience and our judges why this ingredient is so essential. The judges will then decide which two offerings were the least convincing. The first contestant will then have a minute to try and shred their opponent. The opponent will be given a minute to riposte. There will then most likely be a couple of minutes of ferocious argument (with any luck), at the end of which the audience will decide who is getting the boot. The winner of the wooden spoon will receive a hefty beverage on their exit.
The four remaining competitors each have a minute to put forward a classic dish with their ingredient at the helm – the context in which it is at its most perfect. We will then follow the same knock-out format as before, but this time with the judges putting questions to the competitors.
The debate is now opened up to the floor, with the audience putting the three remaining contestants on the spot. At the end of this round a good old fashioned show of hands will decide who is going to miss out on a place in the final.
ROUND FOUR – THE FINAL
Two remaining ingredients, two competitors, one winner. Like all sudden deaths, the final will be swift and brutal. The two contestants will get two minutes each to argue why their opponent’s choice of ingredient is crap. A show of hands will decide the champion. I can hear nails being bitten already.
In the judges’ chairs we have three formidable food fiends. Chef patron of Racine in South Kensington Henry Harris, features editor at Waitrose Food Illustrated Katy Salter, and food writer and blogger Rejina Sabur. Who needs Simon, Cheryl and Dannii when you have these three?
And if the gladiatorial combat isn’t mouth-watering enough, the Westbridge will be providing yummy things in the shape of ox tongue fritters, potted duck, squid and chorizo, ham hock terrine, and whitebait. Looking forward to seeing you down there on Friday.
The Food Debate, Friday 5th March 2010 at The Westbridge, 74 Battersea Bridge Road, London SW11 3AG.
Tickets are available on the door, but if you would like to reserve a space do email me: firstname.lastname@example.org – they are £10 and all proceeds go to the Haiti Earthquake Appeal.
Food will be served from 7pm.
The debate will start at 8pm.