food for thought: Alex Arundell from Cheltenham will be on Come Dine With Me
THE heat is on as four ambitious county cooks go to battle on Channel 4 favourite Come Dine With Me.
The successful dinner party programme will star Cathy Shilling and Alexander Arundell, both from Cheltenham, and counterpart contestants from Gloucester and Stroud.
All four cooked up their favourite foods over the course of a week and then secretly voted on their competition in a bid to win a £1,000 prize.
And on tomorrow's show, which will track their progress, the winner will be revealed to the TV audience.
Montpellier Wine Bar and Blushes Hair Salon – favoured locations of speech and language therapist Cathy – will also appear on the show.
Cathy, who lives in Oldfield Crescent, admits she "hammed it up" for the cameras.
She cooked her signature dish of Burley Field slow-cooked lamb with prune caramel sauce and mini roast potatoes with garlic and rosemary for her main course.
"They filmed me enjoying lunch with my girlfriends in the wine bar and I got my hair done every day at Blushes to look my best," she said.
"It was just an amazing treat for the show and of course for a working mum it was nice to look my best."
Cathy, who has children aged seven and five, had her downstairs bathroom revamped to make sure her home looked good for the cameras.
She added: "It was something my husband Matthew and I had been meaning to do for a few years so it spurred us on when I found out I was on the programme.
"The sparks will definitely be flying, but from my point of view I had an absolutely fantastic time and met two people who will be friends for life.
"I absolutely love cooking. I'm the queen of the dinner party so this was an extension of that with the exception of the cameras.
"I thought it would be quite stressful having a camera crew watching me cook, but actually it was amazing fun."
Fellow contestant Alex said there was a clash of personalities, but he said he took the show with "a pinch of salt".
He cooked garlic prawns and garlic bread to start, baked spinach pasta with chorizo for his main and fried ice cream for dessert.
The 34-year-old sales director, who lives in Montpellier, said: "I watch the show when I can so it was great to be a part of it. I enjoy eating food immensely and obviously part of it is about meeting three strangers to see how well we got on. There were definitely a few fireworks, but I'm looking forward to watching it tomorrow."
Cathy and Alex are both holding parties for friends and family tomorrow night.The show will be screened at 8pm.