We were thrilled to welcome Myleene Klass, Adam Richman (star of Man vs Food), Mark Blatchford and the contestants and crew of ITV’s BBQ Champ to the Stansted Farm Shop for the opening episode of the series. The weather was ideal for BBQ and we had a superb spread of meat raised on the Stansted Estate, including rare breed Saddleback Pork, Black Welsh lamb and dry-aged grass-fed Aberdeen Angus beef. The chickens were from Creedy Carver in Devon.
The day started early with the crew busy from 7am setting up the BBQ kitchens using the wonderful Drumbecue, our fantastic veg display and getting the tables lined up for all the meat. There were 7 cameras and over 50 crew who buzzed around the farm shop and courtyard trying to get everything organised.
We gave one camera crew a quick tour of the Stansted Estate so that they could film some of the livestock in the park, as well as to take drone footage of Stansted House and its setting in the South Downs, just five miles from the sea.
And then at around midday the stars arrived and suddenly the chaos gradually calmed. Mark Blatchford was the first to appear – make up, followed by publicity photos by our veg display. Next up was Myleene Klass looking summery and finally Adam Richman who was thoroughly entertaining. After the photos, they rehearsed their lines which final camera angles and adjustments were made.
Filming finally got underway with the introduction to the series, followed by the entrance of the contestants of ITV’s BBQ Champ. After that everything went quite quickly – they had two and a half hours to cook from our fabulous range of meats, vegetables, fruit and herbs, spices and condiments. The meat was immediately a challenge as the producers had asked us to present whole cuts – so the contestants were presented with a whole leg of pork, including the trotter. They also had to deal with shoulder of lamb, which is a hard ask for any chef in just two and a half hours.
While the contestants cooked away, we started to gather a crowd of tasters from the Stansted Estate. This included Colin who reared the livestock, James who runs the farm, and the groundstaff, forestry team andother workers from Stansted. While we waited, Myleene came up and chatted with everyone and happily had her photo taken with all the gang which everyone was thrilled with – what a star!
And then all 30 of us walked into the courtyard and sat down ready to eat some serious BBQ. We had a bit of every meat from both teams and for me, there was a stand out winner. Watch the programme to find out who won and who got turfed off.
At the end of a seriously long day, we looked back and had a fantastic time. The whole experience was fascinating and everyone, from the crew to the stars, could not have been nicer. Adam Richman took 20 minutes to chat to Gavin’s 10-year-old son about food and cooking and was inspirational. We hope the show goes well for ITV and wish all the contestants good luck!