There are two words that unfailingly send a shudder down my spine: Dinner. Party.
Family, friends, their screaming babies and smiling new partners piling into my house with bottles of red that’ve been lying around since Christmas or a bunch of petrol station posies, all expecting their glasses topped up, endless nibbles and small talk, as well as a slap-up meal.
It brings me out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. Which is why I have absolutely no idea why you’d let a Michelin-starred chef, a renowned food writer and eight strangers into your home to actually judge (and score) the meal you serve up to them. But Channel 4 managed to find a few crazy people to do just that in My Kitchen Rules (Channel 4, 25 September, 4pm) fighting it out for £10,000 and the title of UK’s best home cook.
Though I got the feeling the unlucky first contenders, sisters Shabana and Farzana, may have regretted their decision to take part seconds after they realised they’d forgotten the limes for their lime and mango salad. Before running out of lemons too. And being told by cantankerous old guest Bill (as they served him up spicy fish tacos) that he hates all spice and their starter was tasteless. That’s not even mentioning the whispered gripes behind their back. Or the late main. Or the tumbling chocolate gateau tower. God, it was endless.
Exactly the reason I enforce a strict ‘eat what you’re given and be happy about it’ policy on the rare occasions I’m required to host. Plus, I drink a lot of wine - the only sure-fire way to hold on to your sanity.