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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Wendy serves up winning TV meal

A Workington estate agent and her favourite butcher are celebrating after her win on Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me show.

Wendy Tinnion, manager of Grisdales, took the top score in the TV show, helped by a main course of pork belly from Pow Street butcher Haighs.

Wendy, 45, of Low Seaton, was encouraged to apply for the week-long series by colleagues.

She was one of five contestants chosen from more than 500 applicants.

In last Friday’s episode she impressed her dinner guests, who included Washington Central Hotel duty manager Andrew Carruthers, with a menu of goats’ cheese, cherry tomato and pine nut tarts with red onion marmalade, slow-roasted pork belly with fennel, crackling, steamed root vegetables and dauphinoise potatoes, and chocolate fondant with home made ice cream.

Wendy said: “The tarts I had tried and tested. The pork I had never really cooked but I thought it was one I could put in the oven and slowly roast while entertaining my guests so I wasn’t in the kitchen too long.

“I hadn’t made the fondant before for dinner but I did practice, so my friends and neighbours had chocolate fondant for a week.”

At the dinner table, Wendy was asked where she had bought her meat and told her guests about her favourite butcher’s shop.

That clip did not make the final cut but Haighs put up a sign congratulating Wendy for winning with its pork.

Owner Anthony Dalzell said word had spread and given the business a boost.

For Wendy, the show meant a week of filming at The Trout Hotel in Cockermouth.

Long days involved menus being revealed at lunchtime, being picked up by taxi at 4pm for each dinner party and sometimes not getting home until 3.30am.

Wendy said: “I have made some good friends from it. I’ve kept in touch with Andrew, who I’d worked with previously, and Katy Cropper.

“My tactic throughout the week, because mine was the last dinner party, was to be non-controversial and fade into the background, then boom on the night.

“The main course won me the day. It came out perfectly.”

She even taught Come Dine With Me fans a new trick, using a hairdryer to dry out the pork skin and crisp up the crackling.

Part of the boom of Wendy’s dinner party was provided by Patsy McMullen, a singer from Workington who now lives in Blackpool.

Wendy used some of her £1,000 winnings to treat friends Karen Shaw, Karl Allen and firefighter Lynsey Kaleinikas, and her niece Nicola Price to dinner at Cottage in the Wood, Whinlatter, as they helped behind the scenes with the programme.

She said she expected to put the rest to good use during a holiday with friends.

She added: “I guess the drinks are on me in Gran Canaria.”

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