Fans of Channel 5’s most popular reality show know him as Luke A, the transgender chef and worthy winner of the 2012 series. Yattar Yattar caught up with Luke Anderson to chat about acceptance, cake and life after Big Brother...
On meeting the confident and handsome young man from Mynydd Isa, you would never suspect that he was born a girl. Luke, originally named Laura,
Luke, who revealed his past on live television, tells us, ‘Since leaving the BB house, life has been surreal but I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders... I feel free for the first time in my life! I was pleasantly surprised at the reaction I got after leaving the programme – I was expecting lots of negativity but, overall, people have been lovely.’
About 1.5 million people watched Luke’s emotional journey so, does he feel that this very public spotlight has been worth it? ‘If I helped just one person by being on the show then yes, it’s definitely been worth it,’ he smiles. ‘I feel overwhelmed when I receive thank you messages from people confused by their gender, in fact The Independent on Sunday placed me in the Top 10 of the most influential LGBT in their prestigious Pink List... I beat Alan Carr and Gok Wan! I find this the most rewarding aspect of the whole process.’
Now Luke, who used to work at New Brighton’s Beaufort Park Hotel, is on the books at ASL Celebrity Chefs – a company run by Andrew Richards, which supplies celebrity chefs for food festivals and events. So, what's next for this amiable chap? ‘My wife, Becki, and I plan to buy a property in the local area and, thanks to my £50,000 prize money, we can afford to put down a deposit. I am also hoping to work with the Trans community, educating and helping people as well as working within the media with other projects too... Whatever happens I'm happy!’
Luke’s Easy Microwave Sponge Pudding
You will need:
Prep: 10 mins - Cook: 3 mins
1. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
2. Mix in the egg and milk gradually, so as not to curdle the butter.
3. Sift in the flour, and fold in gently.
4. Put 2 tablespoons of golden syrup, treacle or jam in bottom of microwave-safe bowl. Pour in batter.
5. Cover, and cook for 3 1/2 minutes on full power, or until the pudding appears set when gently jiggled, and the top is sticky. Serve hot.
The Terrace Restaurant in the St Tudno Hotel and Restaurant is regarded as one of the best in Wales, and currently holds two AA rosettes. We spoke to Andrew Foster, head chef at the St. Tudno Hotel and Restaurant in Llandudno about his experience as a chef, and the food and kitchen at the St. Tudno.
‘I started at St. Tudno in 1997,’ Andrew says when asked about his experience as a chef. His relationship with the hotel began when he was just 14, when he came to the St. Tudno Hotel and Restaurant for work experience as part of his GCSE Catering course. ‘I used to watch the chefs and think “I could never do that!”’ Andrew recollects. When he finished his work experience, Andrew was offered a weekend job at the hotel doing kitchen prep, and when he finished his GCSE exams in May 1998, he was taken on full-time as an apprentice.
Andrew remained with the hotel for the next nine years, before leaving to take on a job as second chef in a large hotel with 73 bedrooms, which played host to around 70 weddings a year! Soon after, the head chef left. ‘I asked them to give me a chance,’ Andrew tells us, and soon after, he became head chef at just 26 years of age.
Andrew’s next job was as part of Warner Leisure, working across 13 different hotels. The change worked out well for Andrew – despite being a larger company, Warner Leisure were less demanding with hours, giving him more time to spend at home with his newborn son. ‘It was great from a leadership point of view, and from a business point of view,’ Andrew says of his time with Warner Leisure. ‘But there was no job satisfaction, so when the head chef job at St. Tudno opened up, I went for it.’
It has now been nearly two years since he returned to the St. Tudno Hotel and Restaurant, and the food that is being produced by him and his team certainly seems to please the patrons. ‘We have loads of regulars, and we do our best to look after everybody,’ Andrew says, ‘We have one couple that come at least once every two weeks, and some people that are here several times a week.’
‘We use the best quality ingredients we can, using local produce if possible. We try to keep things “unfussy”. We want to get the best possible flavours from the best quality ingredients without smothering them. If someone orders cod, they want to taste cod,’ Andrew says, going on to emphasise how important fresh, high quality produce is to food at the St. Tudno Hotel and Restaurant. ‘If high quality produce is available locally, we’ll use it. We’re always looking for new local suppliers, and we like to support the local network.’
In keeping with the philosophy of eating as fresh as possible, Andrew changes the menu at St. Tudno’s completely four times a year at the start of each season, though minor changes are made every few weeks to keep things interesting for the customers and staff alike. With each new dish, Andrew gives notes and holds a tasting session with the front-of-house staff. ‘I know every dish inside-out,’ Andrew explains, ‘But the customers hardly ever talk to me. I involve front-of-house so they can talk about the dishes. Plus it gives me a chance to get some feedback before the guests experience it.’
While the final say about the menu rests with Andrew, he is quick to acknowledge the hard work of his kitchen staff: ‘I can’t do everything myself, but the lads work really hard, and we get next to no complaints. It’s good to find people that are so committed – you don’t find that much anymore.’
Ham Hock and Parsley Terrine
A delicious recipe from head chef at the St Tudno Hotel and Restaurant, Andrew Foster. Andrew recommends serving this with a pineapple chutney and wholegrain mustard cream.
20g chopped parsley
1 banana shallot finely diced
2 chopped carrots
2 star anise
2 bay leaves
2 ham hocks
• Place all of the above ingredients in a deep tray and cover with just enough water to cover the ham hocks. Foil the tray and place in the oven at 130°c for 4 – 5 hours.
• Sauté shallot and add parsley.
• Remove ham hocks and cool, remove meat from the bone, large pieces in one tub and smaller fibres into another.
• Line a terrine with cling film. Take the bowl with the smaller fibres and mix the diced shallots and parsley .
• Use half of the large pieces of ham to form the top and bottom of the terrine.
• Add the ham that is mixed with the parsley and shallot to form the middle layer
• Cover the mould with cling film and place a weight over the top to press it down
Allow to set in the fridge for an hour before serving.
As any cook will tell you, seasonal food is the best food. And what better cook to tell you that than Marcus Bean, veteran of This Morning and winner of Channel 4's Iron Chef. Marcus has been a chef at Bachurch's New Inn for five years, and this Autumn he is running a one-day 'Game Made Easy' course at Brompton Cookery School to help you get the best out of this season's game. On 24th November, learn how to cook a variety of recipes that feature the most delicious fresh meat in Shropshire. For example, you may produce a gorgeous Brompton game terrine, or a venison loin, or even a pigeon pasty. If it sounds intimidating, you'll have no reason to worry on the day itself, with Marcus Bean guiding you expertly through the creation of several stunning meals. The meat itself is ethically sourced. All game comes from Shropshire, while the venison is from Attingham, where the deer herd is sustainable and healthy. On the day of the course, you will have coffee and biscuits when you arrive at Brompton, with a sumptuous two-course lunch accompanied by a glass of wine. Best of all, the food that you cook but don't consume while at Brompton will be boxed up for you to eat at home! The 'Game Made Easy' course is £125, and more details can be found at www.bromptoncookeryschool.co.uk .
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