TRICKS OF THE TRADE 21: HOW TO COOK ON TV

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The Independent Culture
WHEN YOU are presenting a dish, a lot of effort is put in to make it look right. Sometimes you've just got to cheat. I might use an icing mix instead of ice cream, as under intense studio lighting everything melts.

Apart from that there is very little bullshit. It's shot as live, except when we stop the camera to fetch equipment. There's no script. It's all about relaxing the contestants.

I'm dashing around, so I will occasionally find my caramel has gone black - we might have to go over that. But I'm more likely to keep going; it says to people, "Hey, these things happen." Once I was showing a contestant how to shake cocoa on tiramasu and the entire canister fell on it. I said, "Don't panic, pick up a spoon and scrape off the excess." She said, "You'll need a bloody shovel."

Ainsley Harriott's latest book is 'Meals in Minutes' (BBC Publications, pounds 14.99).

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