“I do think that this is what the world needs – another cooking show,” joked Eamonn Holmes when he chatted to RadioTimes.com about his new cooking show that launched recently on the BBC.
But while that comment was made light-heartedly, the British public can’t seem to get enough of them and this latest, Farm to Feast, is one with a difference. While the contestants will be battling to stay in the competition, the show also reveals to us how things are made, it teaches us where our food comes from, and it shows off some of the beautiful sights that Northern Ireland has to offer in the process.
Eamonn seems right at home presenting the show, armed with some well-timed food puns and to provide a friendly ear to the contestants. But filming the show took a lot for him to do as he was still recovering from a leg injury at the time that left him on crutches.
“Because of my leg injury, I was on crutches for the whole show,” Holmes explained. “I was in a lot of pain – they were very long days and a really busy schedule, but you know, I came through it and it was great. I had treatment at the end of every day at like 10pm and then we were back on set the next day at 8am.”
Injury aside, Eamonn had other concerns and they revolved around the unusual traffic that would be in his way as he made his way to the set – which is at the gorgeous site of Crom Castle.
“My big concern was getting to the castle because the traffic was horrendous, but the traffic was cows walking to be milked. We were in the middle of nowhere, cows just dominated the road, but it was a wonderful sight, the sun was shining, and it was absolutely beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy doing a job. It was a change of pace, it was a change of scenery, it was outside the studio, it was very sociable because we were together all week so we could all really get to know each other.”
As for the competition, while everyone wants to win, Eamonn has made sure that they all knew that it was just a show at the end of the day, and it looks like they have all become friends as a result of being on it. The judges watching over the contestants are Michelin star chef Danni Barry and food critic Joris Minne.
“I had a word with them all and said, ‘you know, it really doesn’t matter who wins this, you’ve all won just by being here. People are going to decide whether they like your personality or not, whether they like your cooking or not, it’s going to be a whole mixture of things besides who really wins this. So I said to them, ‘let’s have a WhatsApp group’ and now I’ve organised two nights out for them and they’ve all become the very best of friends. Depending on when I’m back in Ireland, I’m going to have them all over to my house and we’ll cook dinner and have a nice Friday night in.”
As mentioned, the show has an educational aspect to it too with Eamonn saying: “What’s really good about it is very much forms the connection of where your food comes from. So many people would have a ham sandwich from the supermarket but mentally you disassociate where it came from – be it an animal or whatever. But this show will show you where it comes from, where it’s farmed, how it should be served and all of that.”