An amateur cook’s dish has claimed the crown of the UK’s Best Chilli on the BBC’s One Show.
After being selected as a finalist for the show’s Best Chilli contest judged by food critic Jay Rayner, Jeff Hickson found out on Friday’s show that he had won.
His triumph comes after the support services manager at Woodland Hospital in Kettering saw an appeal on the show asking for people to submit their chilli recipes.
Thinking his stood a chance, the 45-year-old who lives in Market Harborough took the opportunity to send off his recipe.
Some days later he received a call from The One Show’s production team asking why his recipe was so different.
Suitably impressed, the team called back and he learned he had been chosen as a finalist.
Travelling to the Llanerch Vineyard in South Wales back in February, Jeff was matched against two other contestants with Jay Rayner, food critic for The Observer and the show’s Foodie Friday Reporter, judging.
Mr Hickson said: “Everyone was apprehensive as his critique on Masterchef could end a contestant’s ambition.
“As the end of the cook drew near, everyone wanted to make sure their dish tasted the best and looked like a dish worthy of the title.”
With three very different styles of chilli, the winner was finally announced on Friday’s show, with Mr Hickson’s prize including appearing live on the famous sofa with hosts Alex Jones and Michael Ball who was standing in for Chris Evans.
Mr Hickson also got to meet celebrity guest, Sir Ben Kingsley, who tasted Mr Hickson’s chilli.
After the show Mr Hickson and Sir Ben chatted more and he was very complimentry about his winning effort.
Mr Hickson had invited an old friend to join him for the afternoon and they travelled down to the London studio.
Following a short rehearsal, Mr Hickson had to sit and wait in the green room before getting his ten minutes of fame.
He said: “I was chuffed that my dish, that I had to recreate the evening before and take with me, had gone down so well.
“It was an amazing experience and to be on the same seat as some of the most famous people in the world of showbiz and entertainment was quite humbling.”
Mr Hickson added that it was a real honour to meet Sir Ben, who won an Oscar for his part in Ghandi.