Ashley's kitchen drama

A TALENTED amateur chef cooked up a spicy speciality for a TV cooking show.

Ashley Kitson took part in Reality Bites, an ITV1 show where the challenge is to prepare and cook a meal in a professional restaurant for 20 members of the public.

Mr Kitson, who runs a carpentry business with his brother, Michael, found out about the show by chance.

He said: "I was on the ITV website to complain about a woman I had seen make a complete pig's ear of a dish on a cooking show when I saw an advert for Reality Bites.

"I filled out a form and sent it off, but didn't think anything of it until a week later when I was called for an interview. I never did make that complaint."

After successfully completing the interview process Mr Kitson, 45, was invited along with 14 other amateur chefs to a restaurant in Manchester where filming for the programme took place in May.

All chefs were asked to prepare and cook a three-course meal, with the added challenge of controlling some unruly kitchen assistants.

Mr Kitson said: "The assistants and the maitre d' were all actors whose roles were to delay and panic me, and it worked.

"There was a point when I thought 'Get me out of here, it's going to be a disaster'.

"But I decided I couldn't leave with 20 people outside waiting to be fed and I got the food out more or less on time and drew a good response."

Mr Kitson, of Prospect Avenue, Rushden, is married to Marie, 48, and has four children aged between eight and 17.

The menu he created was heavily influenced by his passion for Indian cuisine and included goan fish parcels, masala lamb chops, chilli chicken and crab rolls.

Reality Bites is on ITV1 on weekdays at 2.30pm until Friday, November 26. Mr Kitson will feature in today's show.

Anyone wishing to sample Mr Kitson's culinary expertise can visit the Chequers Pub, Yelden, on Saturday, November 27, where he will be serving up a South Indian inspired meal as guest chef.

Tickets cost 25 and can be bought from the pub on 01234 356383.