Sunday Brunch host and Strictly Come Dancing star Simon Rimmer presented a tasty treat for more than 300 children of Germany-based Armed Forces personnel as part of a food festival.
The celebrity chef, who hosts the award-winning cookery chat show on Channel 4 and who is known to millions for his performance on the 15th series of Strictly last year with Karen Clifton, put on cooking demonstrations, met competition winners and acted as a judge for a cook-off between military chefs at the International Food Festival in Bielefeld, north-western Germany.
Children were treated to a cooking demonstration in which the chef, who has visited personnel in Germany numerous times, made American pancakes.
Presenting to 300 children, however, turned out to be quite a daunting task for the professional cook. He said:
“It was more terrifying than doing live television or Strictly Come Dancing.”
He added: "They were one of the most engaged audiences I’ve ever had. The questions they asked at the end were brilliant - they all wanted to get involved. We had a 15-year-old-girl called Ffion come out of the audience and helped me cook and she was brilliant.”
Simon went on to taste six dishes from around the world at the event in September, with food prepared by an eager line-up of Forces' cooks.
He crowned the Nepalese tent as the winner, who cooked a traditional starter of pork momo (Nepalese dumplings) with spicy tomato chutney and a main of rice and lamb curry.
Simon described the dish as “absolutely delicious”. He added:
“The texture of the meat was nice and soft. The flavour of the spices, you could taste all of them and the heat grew a little bit. I’ve got to be honest, I’ve tasted some of the Nepalese guys foods before in my time working with Army chefs and it’s always brilliant, and they didn’t disappoint today.”
He said: “I did actually say to him I would like the recipe and genuinely I would. If you send me the recipe I would happily cook it on Sunday Brunch.”
He later met and took photographs with Forces Radio BFBS prize winners, who won a VIP experience to meet the chef as well as a signed autograph and photo opportunity. Speaking of his visits to Germany, Simon said:
“It never ceases to amaze me just how warm the welcome is and how friendly the people are and how much up for a laugh everybody is. I got invited to come out and judge and I’m a big believer in giving something back. It was such a lovely request that I thought it would be a really good thing to do.”
The self-titled inventor of pulled pork, in true Sunday Brunch style, added:
“Cheers to the British Forces, it’s an absolute honour to be associated with all of you guys and girls, and thank you for inviting me over.”
John Slawinski, festival organiser and Station Community Support Officer at Bielefeld Station, approached CSE in early 2018 looking to secure a celebrity chef to attend the event.
The Forces Live Events (CSE) team were able to source and secure Simon to attend. The chef was keen to be involved as a strong advocate of the Armed Forces.
Mr Slawinski said: “The whole service was fantastic, the support in the build up to the event was great, with every step of the way being well communicated.
“We were advised on how to run the event, which is clearly a result of many years in the business. The assistance in advertising was excellent providing professional advice and best practice to maximise media coverage.
“After our event again we were supported very well, allowing us to keep the community updated on how the weekend went. Without a doubt we would work with CSE in the future. A huge thank you to the whole team.”
Discover more on the work of Forces Live Events (CSE) here.