Eamonn Holmes has “really encouraged” the young cooks on a TV show he presents and is still in a WhatsApp group with them, one of the contestants revealed.
friend Neill, deputy manager of Shu restaurant in Belfast, is one of seven amateur cooks to star in “Farm To Feast: Best Menu Wins”, the first farm-to-fork cooking program for BBC One in Northern Ireland .
“I grew up with Eamonn Holmes on TV, and the first time we all met him on set he knew all of our names and was so nice and always so supportive,” said the 28-year-old.
âEven now we’re all in a WhatsApp group and it’s really encouraging!
Jamie, from Co Down, had lived and worked in Hong Kong for a year with a conceptual restaurant group, until the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and he returned home in March 2020.
Having a particular interest in Asian-inspired cuisine himself, Jamie has expressed his enthusiasm for the improvement of the dining scene here in recent years and looks forward to the show highlighting it, along with local food items from around the world. ‘North Ireland.
As for his fellow competitors, he said they all keep in close contact.
âThere is a real variety of candidates, I think I was the only one from the hotel industry as such, but it’s been five years since I have been in a kitchen and none of us have real chef training.
âEveryone got into it. Obviously, Northern Ireland being a very small world, we just started clicking with who knew who and friends of friends.
âWe are all very passionate about food and it has been a great time in the midst of Covid and socializing with like-minded people and talking about food!
âWe all have small ambitions. I would love to have my own establishment, like a multi-functional space for a restaurant / cafe / bistro / cocktail bar and we all see what happens. It’s a great group of people. Who knows?”
Shu, the restaurant Jamie currently works for, even hosted global pop star Taylor Swift a few weeks ago during his visit to Northern Ireland.
While Jamie was unfortunately not working that night, it can be confirmed that the “Shake It Off” singer ordered Shu’s Korean chicken in gochujang sauce to start, followed by a steak.
The first episode of Farm To Feast: Best Menu Wins aired on Monday, September 27 and is available on BBC iPlayer. The next episode will be at 7:35 p.m. on BBC One NI on Monday October 4th.