I flew down the corridor, huge leather portmanteau clanking with pots and pans.
I was hot, bothered and still gently steaming about the bloody cows' sugar beet!
The producer was waiting for me
I was taken into a classroom full of beautifully calm and well prepared would-be contestants.
Last to arrive and in a tiss...
hardly the recipe for success?
Obviously on this first untelevised round they needed to know how good your culinary skills were and more importantly how you reacted under the pressure of competition cooking.
By this time I thought 'Bugger it, I'm gonna have fun and even if I make a total cock-up the world will still go round and in the grand scheme of things this is nought!'
I did settle and got quickly on with getting my pressure-cooker primed ready to roll, in order for my oxtail in port to be ready in time. This I served with Hedgerow jelly made from sloes, crab apples and blackberries gathered on the farm. Together with bubble and squeak parcels.
My whole aim of applying to appear on the programme was to cook good honest British grub. None of this artistically arranged pictures on plates carry-on for me.
Little did I know then, that back in 1992, I was ahead of the times for serving rustic fare.
My idea was to cut through the pretentiousness of nouvelle cuisine.
Good honest grub was my mantra!
I even forgot I was competing for a place against 19 other folk. And had the cheek to ask the producer how he'd got his black eye!
At the end of the time we all had to wait to see which three were chosen.
Against all odds and with the fragrance of Doris Day in Calamity Jane, I was one of the lucky three!