Celebrity Chefs and the Rolls Royce of Blenders

Head Chef Darren Long's Thermomix Gala Dinner at Barcelo Walton Hall

Head Chef Darren Long’s Thermomix Gala Dinner at Barcelo Walton Hall

Madame Thermomix’s Recipe for Success
one contestant from Raymond Blanc’s “The Restaurant”
one MasterChef winner
one Celebrity MasterChef winner
one travelling chef
one nutritional therapist
one captivating canapé creator
one world-renowned magician
one hotel chef and his kitchen staff



  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of your Thermomix (you may need more than one here)
  2. Throw in a little magic, then blend at 100°C/Speed 10/for an entire weekend
  3. Serve with Independent Thermomix Demonstrators from across the UK

The resulting dish is sure to succeed!

Celebrity Chefs and the Rolls Royce of Blenders

Chef James' team of Thermomix sous chefs

Chef James’ team of Thermomix sous chefs

I have just returned from the 2011 UK Thermomix Demonstrators’ Conference held at the stunning Barceló Walton Hotel near Stratford-upon-Avon in beautiful Warwickshire, and I am not only even more enthused about Thermomix than ever, I am also satiated and inspired.

Our Friday evening Gala dinner was prepared by Barceló Walton Hall’s Head Chef Darren Long and his team of professionals, who used Thermomix techniques throughout the preparation of this stunning meal. Kudoes to the front of house staff led by Restaurant Manager Giorgio and hats off to elite magician Chris Dugdale who entertained us with his totally amazing sleight of hand. Nothing up his sleeve, that’s for sure!

Sue Hansen's Captivating Canapes

Sue Hansen’s Captivating Canapes

In addition to a full day of training sessions on Saturday, we were treated to various presentations including a French Thermomix cookery demonstration by fellow Independent Thermomix demonstrator Annita de Chantérac.  Captivating Canapés by Sue Hansen of Hansen’s Deli (made in the Thermomix, of course) were creative and oh, so gorgeous. The presentation on Real Food for Kids by nutrition expert Jenny Tschiesche was full of ideas on how Thermomix can help parents prepare healthy foods that their children will actually eat. We were further inspired with a superb Thermomix cookery demonstration by travelling chef Grant Hawthorne, one of the chefs behind the Kai We Care charity pop-up restaurant which raised £65,000 for the victims of the New Zealand earthquake. His parsnip soup and cauliflower purée made us hungry for more.

Thermomix cooks French with Annita de Chanterac

Thermomix cooks French with Annita de Chanterac

Chef Grant Hawthorne and Thermomix

Chef Grant Hawthorne and Thermomix

Our evening meal on Saturday was billed as a Celebrity Dinner and was prepared by James Knight-Pacheco of Raymond Blanc’s “The Restaurant”  and “Out of the Frying Pan”, both shown on BBC2. James was ably assisted by 2010 MasterChef winner Dhruv Baker and 2010 Celebrity MasterChef winner Lisa Faulkner. All I can say is that it was stunning. Tastes complemented one another, textures contrasted beautifully, colours married and enhanced. Eight courses of starry-eyed delight, prepared with James’ real sous chefs as well as with a whole battery of Thermomix sous chefs!

Madame Thermomix and Chefs Grant Hawthorne, James Knight-Pacheco, Dhruv Baker and Lisa Faulkner

Madame Thermomix and Chefs Grant Hawthorne, James Knight-Pacheco, Dhruv Baker and Lisa Faulkner

We all know by now that Thermomix is an Extra Pair of Hands in the Kitchen, right? Well, I’m not called Madame Thermomix for nothing, so during our tea break I went into the prep kitchen and volunteered to lend an Extra Pair of Hands to Chef James – just to do my part so all the prep was done! As we all know from watching MasterChef, The Great British Menu, Celebrity MasterChef, The Restaurant or your favourite reality TV food show, last-minute panic can set in if everything’s not done. Cheeky of me, I know, but I couldn’t resist 😉

James Knight-Pacheco's Celebrity Thermomix Dinner

James Knight-Pacheco’s Celebrity Thermomix Dinner

James very graciously allowed me to prepare the couscous-based stuffing for the vegetarian main course that Dhruv was making. So there I was steaming couscous in the Varoma steamer of one of six Thermomixes in the prep kitchen. Couscous, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, and a mixture of roasted seeds and pine nuts – really nice. Chef Dhruv consulted for me; Chef James tasted my stuffing, had me tweak it and then ultimately signed off with his stamp of approval. Big smiles on my part for a tiny contribution to an amazing meal.

2010 MasterChef Winner Lisa Faulkner prepared James' Apple Textures

2010 MasterChef Winner Lisa Faulkner prepared James’ Apple Textures

During my brief stint in the kitchen I had the pleasure of chatting with Chef Grant Hawthorne, who showed me a brilliant way to get a very fine parsley garnish in the Thermomix – watch this space. I also admired Chef Lisa Faulkner preparing the stunning “Apple Textures” dessert which we all enjoyed at the end of our meal.

It was a brilliant weekend in a brilliant setting with brilliant friends, old and new. Oh yes, and brilliant food. Special thanks to James, Lisa, Dhruv and Grant who did Thermomix proud.

Ah…. now I’m home and my bestest-ever star chef Johnny has cooked me a locally-reared Hampton Estate rump steak of beef, spinach, mushrooms and baby carrots with a Baron d’Ardeuil Vieilles Vignes 2005 Buzet.

Bon appétit !


  1. Cooking with James: an Assemblage of Flavours and Textures « Why is There Air?

    1 June 2011 at 22:43

    […] were recreating the Celebrity Menu James designed and served at the UK Thermomix Demonstrators’ Conference in May at the fantastic Barceló Walton Hall near Stratford-Upon-Avon. Assisted on the night by […]

  2. Madame Thermomix

    17 May 2011 at 00:03

    It was super to see you, too, Eva! Thanks for stopping by whyisthereair.com. Check out the new ‘Discussions’ link (along the left hand side of the UK Thermomix Facebook page) to chat with fellow demonstrators, leave thoughts and suggestions and chat about the conference !!

  3. Catalankilt

    16 May 2011 at 19:22

    GREAT weekend, just don’t forget to add to the recipe an essential ingredient: people like you. Best wishes from Scotland. Eva

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