A ROMANCE author from Great Durnford cooked up a storm in the new series of Ready Steady Cook.

Mandy Baggot, who writes romantic comedies set in Corfu, was teamed up with Greek Masterchef, Akis Petretzikis and pitted against her best friend and fellow novelist, Rachel Lyndhurst and award-winning chef, Ellis Barrie.

The new season of Ready Steady Cook, which is hosted by Rylan Clark-Neal, starts on Monday (March 1) at 3.45pm on BBC One with Mandy's episode airing on the Friday (March 5).

"I am so excited for this show to air. We had the best fun making it. Who wouldn't enjoy running around a kitchen with amazing chefs making fantastic meals in minutes?," she said.

"Being on Ready Steady Cook was so much fun from start to finish. We were partnered with these amazing chefs and got to see exactly why they're so talented. They can make these delicious dishes out of random ingredients you wouldn't think would work - but they do. And I was more than happy to be given the Greek god of the kitchen - Akis Petretzikis."

When she saw the show advertising for contestants she got in touch with Rachel to see if she was interested in doing it as they were both fans of the show.

"Rachel said yes right away and after a few phone calls and an interview on Zoom, the next thing we knew we were in the studio being a green pepper and a red tomato," added Mandy, who says this was a "whole new experience" for her as she had only ever sung on television before.

"I've only ever sung on television before - never cooked - so it was a whole new experience. And I am definitely not the greatest cook as the whole nation will get to see. But everyone made us so welcome and the whole team were lovely. We're a Ready Steady Cook family now."

On the show she enjoyed plenty of laughs and it has inspired some Greek cooking recipes for family mealtimes.

She has already made several of Aki's recipes already.

Mandy said: "It's honestly the best thing I've ever done and if I ever get stuck in a culinary dilemma I have these fantastic chef friends - and Rylan - I can call for help."

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