This weekend, The Great Food and Drink Show will be taking place at Westpoint, Exeter for the first time.
With producers, cookery workshops and demos, celebrity Ready Steady Cook, wine tasting and more, the two day event is an exciting one for the county. The demo stage will feature gert lush Tom Kerridge, chef veteran Jean Christophe Novelli, local cookery school owner and chef Jim Fisher and Come Dine With Me Winner and all round foodie Polly Guy.
We managed to catch up with Polly Guy for a quick chat, ahead of her appearance on both days this weekend at the show, and ask her 10 questions!
Polly grew up in the Norfolk countryside on a smallholding and learnt to cook at a very young age. She studied cookery for 2 years as well as catering for outside functions and working in several restaurants. With a successful modelling career to speak of too, her passion for food led her to take part in and win Come Dine With Me in 2011, and in 2016 was invited to Come Dine With Me Champion of Champions in which she went up against 68 other winners, and won!
Life has not always been cupcakes and roses; Polly has been up against many struggles in life including adoption when she was a young child and, one thing I certainly garnered from our conversation over the phone, was her passion to do well, be successful (for self satisfaction more than fame) but also give back to those less fortunate than herself. In fact it sounds much like the drive that Michael Caines MBE has due to challenges he faced growing up; Polly agreed with this, and mentioned she was pleased to have met him and discovered their similar outlook at a food show in 2017.
1. So you’re based in Norfolk, is this your first time down to Devon? If it is, will you get time to explore or if you have been before, what did you enjoy?
My Aunty lived in Kingsbridge so I have been down before but mainly to Salcombe. Her food was very good but of course I also enjoyed the local food, boating and the coastline.
2. Your biography highlights how you grew up on a self sufficient small holding and learned to cook at a young age – have you managed to replicate some of this at your home now?
Yes – we are building on it slowly as all these things take time, but I grow all my own herbs, seasonal veg, – especially cucumbers, tomatoes, apples and pears. No chickens as yet, but that is in the plan. I also have a good array of tractors including a small Dexta tractor and a Ferguson with the gold belly. I use them at charity events, but they also have agricultural value as I use them to plough.
3. I can see from your Twitter that you’re a mum and you post some of the delicious things you make for your family. What’s a really yummy but quick family favourite meal that you’d recommend people have a go at in their busy lives?
Chicken breasts are so quick and easy – stuff them with some mozzarella, wrap them in bacon, season and bake them. Spicy black bean tacos with avocado are easy too, and I love to make butternut squash soup with the flesh, but the keep the skins/shell and pour the soup back in as if they are bowls – that’s a great kitchen hack as it saves on the washing up!
4. What is your favourite dish you like to cook?
That’s a tough one – I’m a pudding girl. Strawberry panna cotta with white chocolate and some gold leaf and golden spun sugar (I interjected here and assumed she must love anything with a bit of bling – to which she laughed and agreed!)
5. What are your three favourite kitchen gadgets?
Scissors, blowtorch and a good knife. Scissors especially, they are so quick to use to cut anything even things ingredients like spring onions.
6. It’s been 7 years since you won Come Dine With Me – what’s your most memorable foodie opportunity that has arisen since the show?
Too many to mention – I have my own business, I make bespoke cakes, cook at food festivals, I have a food blog, had a cookery show. I’m just happy to cook and meet great people. (although she shared this picture with me of when she cooked for the Queen and Royal Family – that’s pretty impressive).
7. Who would you invite for a dream dinner and why?
Fanny Cradock – she was a bit rude although fierce; and I believe she was an important woman who pushed through boundaries.
Winston Churchill – because my Uncle was his bodyguard for about 10 years, and I’d love to ask him more questions about my Uncle as well ask him some things too.
Keith Floyd – for his conversation, humour and to share some wine.
8. What is Polly’s Pantries? Do you provide catering or private chef, or do you mainly do demo’s and so on?
I have a few businesses – chutneys, jams and curds. Then some outside catering, property as well as being a busy mum!
9. If you had to choose just 5 staple ingredients to have in your cupboard or garden, what would they be?
Eggs, butter, cream, herbs and onions! All these items are the backbone of cooking.
10. What would be a dream foodie gig for you, or perhaps which foodie idol would you like to meet?
It’s all about the food for me. There are so many idols, I couldn’t just choose one – Delia Smith and Tom Kerridge are two I can think of (and he’s cooking this weekend!). I don’t do this for the fame, or to meet idols; I just love to cook, and am happy for it to be slow and steady, whilst meeting great people along the way.
To find out more about this weekends show or buy tickets, visit the website