Contestant Blogs

Meet the 2016 finalists Disaster Chef, all of whom will be making the challenges set by the judges and competing to win a fabulous prize package. Over the next few weeks you will be able to read their blogs and follow their journey to become Kenwood Disaster Chef 2016!


Ioana Cristina Popescu

Ioana Cristina Popescu, from Birmingham

While maths teacher Ioana might be a numerical whizz in the classroom, she can’t quite seem to make things add up in the kitchen.  From reading recipes incorrectly to exploding eggplants, her list of culinary mishaps is never ending.  Despite multiple trials, Ioana can’t seem to master her mum’s stuffed pepper recipe – leaving her last batch in the oven for so long that they were reduced to 2 inch pieces of carbon. Ioana hopes the Kenwood Disaster Chef competition will give her more confidence in the kitchen and will turn her food from the inedible to the incredible.  Read Ioana's Blog





Jenny LawsonJenny Lawson, from Sheffield

It was her exasperated partner who nominated Jenny, a trainee paediatric dentist from Sheffield, for Disaster Chef. Even though Jenny loves cooking, her attempts don’t seem to turn out how she plans. The most notorious disaster bake was an attempt to make black macaroons; these soon resembled tarmac once in the oven. Not to be defeated, Jenny tried again with pink macaroons, but alas, even though they were pink, this ended in the exact same result.  Jenny agreed to take part in the competition to prove to her partner that she is not a ‘disaster chef’ and hopes to learn a few tricks so she can take the lead in the kitchen.  Read Jenny's Blog





Emma PearceEmma Pearce, from Thatcham

When she is not admitting her husband to hospital after being overzealous with the spice in her tagine, Emma is a full time mum of two from Thatcham.  She is on a mission to become a whiz in the kitchen and has a love for all things homemade, unfortunately for her family, this includes food! She once tried to roast a chicken in the microwave; unfortunately this was in a Le Creuset casserole pot. She is now aware that these are made of cast iron and shouldn’t therefore be used in the microwave – ever. Emma hopes the Kenwood Disaster Chef competition will help her avoid sending her loved ones to A&E and teach her to tread with caution when it comes to spices.  Read Emma's Blog





Louise BarkerLouise Barker, from Chichester

As a busy mother of 7, it’s needless to say that Louise has her hands full. While she passes with flying colours when it comes to home educating her children, when it comes to cooking, Louise isn’t so lucky. Dough is her particular nemesis –  her children get fits of giggles when when she mentions baking bread and her husband refuses to let her make another one of her ‘doorstops’!  Hopefully taking part in Kenwood Disaster Chef will boost Louise’s confidence and her provide freshly made food for her family.  Read Louise's Blog





Philipp Schmidt

Philipp Schmidt, from London

Business Analyst Philipp takes creating sizzling dishes to the extreme. Philipp confesses his worst kitchen disaster was when he almost burnt the house down whilst attempting to cook for a party, setting fire to the kitchen just 20 minutes before the guests were due to arrive. This left poor Philipp and his wife with the treacherous task of scrubbing their smoke damaged kitchen from top to bottom. It’s unsurprising then that Philipp’s wife nominated him to enter the competition in the hope that Kenwood can help save their kitchen from being set ablaze by future culinary mishaps!   Read Philipp's Blog





Marina WellsMarina Wells, from Potters Bar

When life gives Marina lemons, she puts them all in her Lemon Meringue Pie. A former midwife, Marina left dinner guests with a sour taste in their mouths after being overenthusiastic with the lemon zest when attempting a lemon meringue pie – leaving the dessert completely inedible. Marina hopes that Kenwood will teach her how to adapt quantities accordingly when cooking and realise her culinary dreams of becoming the next Nigella Lawson!  Read Marina's Blog





Ainhoa BarcelonaAinhoa Barcelona, from London

Ainhoa’s many kitchen calamities have landed her with the nickname ‘The Kitchen Curse’.  An online journalist from London, Ainhoa never quite seems to be able to get things right in the kitchen. Her worst disaster being a pasta carbonara, which her family described as looking like it had been sneezed over. She also forgot to add the yeast to her home-made pizzas, resulting in some very tough flat bread, which her friends begrudgingly took one bite of out of politeness.  Even a brownie packet mix went wrong when she added four times more water than was necessary.  Ainhoa hopes that the Kenwood Disaster Chef competition will help lift her ‘kitchen curse’ and relieve her friends and family from her culinary mishaps.   Read Ainhoa's Blog





John Wardle John Wardle, from Brighouse

A former navy engineer, John is infamous for his Killer Con Carne. Deciding his basic Chilli Con Carne needed an extra kick, semi-retired. John put not one, not two, but SIX fresh chillies into the pot! Needless to say, the resulting dish was too hot for him or his family to handle. The spicy chilli even took the glazing off the plates and tore through the enamel of the cutlery.  John hopes that Kenwood can help him realise that when it comes to cooking, sometimes less is more.  Read John's Blog





Lauren RukinLauren Rukin, from Hemel Hampstead

A mother of two, Lauren dreams of making delicious birthday cakes for her sons. The trouble is, despite her culinary ambition, her bakes never end up quite the way they should. From one sponge cake ending up like a bouncy ball which bounced off the patio doors, to another that was completely raw inside, Lauren has since resorted to shop-bought cakes. An avid Great British Bake Off fan, Lauren hopes this year’s Disaster Chef competition will help her on the way to becoming a star baker in her family’s eyes.   Read Lauren's Rukin





Rebecca BeesleyRebecca Beesley, from Tonbridge

Rebecca truly believes that even her four year old is a better cook than her. Mum of three from Tonbridge, Rebecca has spent the last 12 years putting the kids first and now thinks it is time to address her culinary woes head on. She admits that she has too many cooking disasters to choose from, but her very worst attempt was a Panettone at Christmas  –  what was meant to be a wonderful surprise for her family nearly resulted in their house burning down! Rebecca prides herself as being a role model to her children – just not in the kitchen – and hopes that Kenwood can change this.   Read Rebecca's Blog





Bassam Al-YasseenBassam Al-Yasseen, from Leicester

The Leicester local may have his very own PhD, but this hasn’t helped Bassam with his culinary confidence. A few years ago, Bassam wanted to surprise his wife with a lovely red velvet cake for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, due to misreading teaspoons of bicarbonate soda powder for tablespoons, Bassam ended up with a volcano cake! As a father of three, Bassam is eager to use this opportunity to help him become a better cook for his family.   Read Bassam's Blog





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