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My childhood TV chef dreams all melted away

WHEN I was a young girl, I used to think I was a TV chef. Every Sunday after dinner, I would sit at the kitchen table and wait until everyone had left. Which was quite a long time, as I have five sisters and one brother.

They would all depart and I would be left sitting on my own, with my bowl of strawberries and raspberry ripple ice cream. I would make sure the kitchen door was closed, and I would begin.

"Welcome to my cookery show," I would say to an invisible camera in the corner of my kitchen. "You take six strawberries and one slice of ice cream, and stir slowly".

I would gently move my teaspoon around the bowl. "You place the bowl in the oven for an hour", I'd walk over to a press and put the bowl in – pretending to change the temperature of the oven.

I would then walk back to the table and smile at the camera until my face hurt.

Then, I knew the strawberries and ice-cream would be ready. Another walk to the press to retrieve the wonderful new dish, and I would be back at the table, smiling again.

"And that's how you make strawberries and ice cream".

As you can see, I was no baking genius. I was no music genius either, but that never stopped me recording myself on tape singing the music to The Incredible Hulk, while playing the drums (kitchen stools were my drum kit, knitting needles were my sticks).

So its a good job that I am the presenter of The Great Irish Bake Off, and not one of the bakers. It must have been part of my childhood desire to perform in some way.



Looking back, I suppose I never shied away from an opportunity to get on stage. I was the lead in primary school plays a couple of times.

And although I can remember the feeling of wanting to throw up just before I walked on stage each night (which is the feeling I had every time I was about to go live on The Afternoon Show), the stronger feeling was the thrill of getting to the front and singing.

I don't sing on the Bake Off (well actually I did last year), but I get the biggest kick from working with all the bakers and making this most enjoyable of shows.

But the show isn't about me. It's about the talented, creative bakers who come along and impress the pants off me, Biddy and Paul.

So if, as a child, you actually really were talented and made cakes or breads or tarts, or if baking is what makes you tingle inside, why don't you apply for a spot the Great Irish Bake Off (you can enter on www.tv3.ie, before this Friday).