Lisa Faulkner's top 5 cooking tips for taking the faff out of entertaining...
‘Always have a bowl nearby that you can put peelings in to’ explains Lisa. ‘It can be any bowl but I always put my peelings and rubbish into a bowl. It stops your work surface from getting messy as at the end you can just tip everything away’.
‘Before going on Masterchef I would put everything everywhere and then I would have to collect it all up. It actually really makes you work in a different way’.
Lisa recommends always being open to new methods of cooking, on Masterchef 'I got taught to cook duck in a cold pan and bring the heat up. It was one of the most amazing revelations of my life.
Cooking for a large group of people can be intimidating, but Lisa advises not to get worked up about the quailty of creations, afterall your guests should just be happy you are cooking for them in the first place.
'I was told by John (Torode - Masterchef judge) never apologise for your food, because nobody knows whats meant to go in it apart from you. If you forget an ingredient nobody will notice as long as you serve it with a smile. That is one of the best tips I learnt, serve it with a smile and be confident about it'.
Remember the most crowd-pleasing dishes are often the most simpliest.
'Try not to overcomplicate things', advises Lisa. 'Sometimes you start thinking 'oh I need to put a sauce with this, or do that', but actually if you are cooking for a group of people, you are better off to keep it simple and do what you love to cook because if you love to cook it then most people will love to eat it'.
'I use piping bags a hell of a lot now, for gravy's and sauces and things like that' admits Lisa. 'There are lots of little chef-like things that I picked up whilst on the show, like whizzing up caramel and making it into dust. I also became a fan of micro herbs and edible flowers, I think they are amazing, they look so beautiful'.