You probably know our studio kitchen well, but you may be surprised by what lies behind it.
The studio kitchen looks like one continuous, curving kitchen unit, but it is in fact a series of separate pods which I can arrange in various configurations to suit whatever I need to demonstrate. If I need a hob, for example, then the gas hob pod can be slotted-in between two of the counter pods wherever suits me.
The ovens behind me are also mobile, being mounted in 'brick' pillars which can be wheeled across the set so that they are conveniently positioned. Even the studio sink works, but it can be disguised with removable panels if I don't need it, providing another area of worktop on which products can be displayed.
It's all very ingenious, and a real lesson in adaptable living spaces!
The front of each of the pods is finished to match the studio but the reverse is quite different!
There's a deep shelf beneath the worktop which I use to store serving plates, utensils and extra ingredients so that they're close at hand but not cluttering up the worktop. It's also a great place to quickly deposit the hot lid from a saucepan if I'm showing the camera, and you, what's cooking in the pan.
As you can see, it's not quite as glamorous as what you're looking at through the cameras!
Now although the studio kitchen looks like a real kitchen, I don't actually do much cooking there. Unless I want to prepare something in front of you live on air, it's all prepared in advance in our commercial preparation kitchen (the 'Prep Kitchen' as it's known).
This is really the engine room for the studio, since every single thing you see on air is prepared by hand in this spacious, state-of-the-art, catering-style kitchen.
Here we have four ovens, two huge induction hobs, six fridges plus an enormous walk-in fridge and freezer, with loads of worktop space and every bit of kitchen equipment imaginable (much of it courtesy of Cook's Essentials of course!).
I usually spend a whole day preparing for each one hour show, slicing, dicing, chopping, frying, boiling, baking and roasting so that I can quickly show you how to use all the products I'll be demonstrating during the live show, without having to spend time preparing things on air. Everything is carefully portioned, cling wrapped and placed on labelled trays so that it's clear which product each set of ingredients is intended for.
Once I've got everything ready it is placed on a large trolley and wheeled straight into the walk-in fridge where it can be 'held' overnight ready for the following day.
There's also a walk-in freezer inside the fridge where we can keep frozen food, ice cream, and ice cubes deep frozen, just like you would at home. It's a slightly odd feeling at first actually walking into a freezer, but you soon learn to be organised since you don't want to hang around inside for long trying to remember what you came in for, especially if you're only wearing jeans and a tee shirt!
On the day of the live show I arrive several hours beforehand in order to get everything set-up in the studio.
First of all, I speak to the studio Floor Manager about how I'd like the pods arranged, whether I'll need the sink and/or hobs, and whether I'll need to plug-in anything electrical on the set.
Whilst all this is being arranged by the back-stage team I return to the Prep Kitchen and choose all the tableware and other props I'll need in order to demonstrate each of the products. I have to collect every single item, down to the last teaspoon, and take it all into the studio before the show starts, as I can't run off set once we're live just to grab a wooden spoon! We therefore have a huge selection of tableware, cookware, kitchen equipment and linen from which I can select what I need.