A group of Glasgow students have made their small-screen debut, assisting some of the best chefs in the business.
Professional cookery students at the Metropolitan College star in the UK version of Iron Chef – a culinary cross between Masterchef and Gladiators.
Kari Leckie, Jakob Gliwak, Orathai McMeekin and former student Paul MacLure took on the role of sous chefs in the Channel 4 show that aired on Monday 26th April at 5pm – and runs every week night for five weeks.
Under the watchful eye of an enigmatic Japanese man, known only as The Chairman, the students will be seen helping Iron Chefs Tom Aikens, Martin Blunos, Judy Joo and Sanjay Dwivedi defend their reputations against teams of challengers.
Former Met student Paul, from Rutherglen, said the experience was incredible and admitted he was blown away by the scale and complexity of the dishes being served up.
The 29-year-old said: “These chefs are so skilled they’re on a different planet. I helped Tom and it was amazing to see him in action. Each dish had around 10 stages so I had to be on the ball.
“I don’t want to give too much away about the outcome of the show but we got to the final a few times. You’ll just have to see for yourself how we got on.
“In the meantime, I’m still looking to get full-time work and would love to move abroad. Hopefully the experience will help me do that.”
Willie McCurrach, Head of the Met’s Food Division, said: “This was something new and exciting for the students. They got a lot out of it and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I’m looking forward to seeing their efforts on TV.”
Shot at Govan’s Film City studios the show is different from its Japanese and US predecessors in that each UK Iron Chef faces four challengers instead of one and he or she must cook four dishes in the time contenders cook one. The top challengers and Iron Chefs go head to head in a grand Friday Final for £1,000.
With up to three shows filmed in a 12-hour day, the Iron Chefs had to face challengers who included Michelin-starred chefs and amateurs.
Olly Smith, a wine expert on Richard and Judy and Saturday Kitchen Live, presents with chef Nick Nairn supplying commentary.
Olly said: “The pressure is genuine. You have a live 75-minute cooking window and whatever goes right or wrong is the show, there’s no safety net.”