You’ll probably recognise Annie Mckenzie as a Semi-Finalist from MasterChef 2016. We were big fans of her when she was on our television screens and we were super excited to hear that since the show aired she has launched a 5* theatre and dining experience, Scripts for Supper in association with The London Cooking Project.
We had the pleasure of meeting up with Annie – as she is now officially a Devon resident – to find out more about her future foodie exploits….
Was there a defining moment when you realised you were a talented chef?
I still don’t think I’ve quite got my head around that, you know. I struggle a bit with compliments and success, I don’t know why. I’m getting there though. The best thing is seeing empty plates come back after every course at my pop up events. That, and when London Theatre 1 said this about my theatre and dining experience Scripts for Supper and gave it 5*: “Upon arrival, guests are presented with cocktails and canapés which are then followed by a delectable four-course feast. It’s almost impossible to determine which of the 5 courses is a favourite as each and every course is divine!” That was pretty cool.
Do you come from a foodie background?
Yes and no. My Dad makes a mean Quiche Lorraine, and we spent a lot of time fooling around in the kitchen when I was little making things from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes, so I’ve clearly got an excellent foundation, ha! Also my extended family own The Sidewalk Cafe in Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire (they make the best fish and chips going) so I suppose you could say I’ve been surrounded by food my whole life in one way or another.
How would you describe your cooking style?
I was actually talking about this with my best friend just the other day. We sort of skirted around the subject until we landed on something which I think sums up my cooking style perfectly: I cook food that people didn’t know they wanted to eat, but when they do, they find it delicious. I cook food that I would want to see on a menu, things that I would choose, things that excite me and above all – things that are yummy.
Where are your favourite places to eat out?
I’ve not been in North Devon long enough to have tried everywhere yet! I like all kinds of places, really, from fine dining to food trucks. One of the best meals I think I’ve ever had though was at Kentisbury Grange last year. It was perfect, everything about it. Other than that, I’ve got a lot of exploring to do…
Is there an ingredient your kitchen cupboard is never without?
That’s a great question. Can I have four things? Salt, pepper, olive oil and butter. But, if pushed… I’ll go for just butter.
Are there any foods you really aren’t fond of?
Coriander is the ruiner of everything good in this world.
You recently held the pop-up event ‘Scripts for Supper’ – a theatrical five course feast with an Elizabethan inspired menu – how did you come up with that concept?
After my jolly on MasterChef last year I spent a long time thinking about what I wanted to do in food and how I could combine my two passions; acting and cooking, and in so doing create something unique and interesting that not many people have done before. Like most good ideas, I think I shot out of bed in the middle of the night and thought, “That’s it!” – I had my eureka moment, and it was to create an immersive dining experience that makes theatre accessible to those that would, potentially, not go to the theatre usually. It evolved from there really, and to have gotten the feedback that we did for not only the food, but also for the acting (which was phenomenal, the team are truly astounding) and my adaptation of Shakespeare’s text (Bill, forgive me!) was more than I could have ever hoped for.
What can you tell us about your 2017 plans?
I’ve got so much exciting stuff in the pipeline! Firstly, I suppose I should say that I’m offering Private Dining, Cookery Classes and Freezer Filling throughout North Devon and all the information about that is on my website www.scriptsforsupper.co.uk – as I’ve recently moved here from London, I’ve sadly had to say goodbye to all my clients, so everything is up for grabs!
Scripts for Supper returns from 18th-21st May at a new venue; Eastbound in East London and for those who might be that way inclined, tickets for the event are available on Design My Night. I am also in the process of contacting country houses throughout the South West (with a particular focus on North Devon of course) with a view to bringing Scripts for Supper to these rural areas. Fingers crossed we can make that happen!
My next collaboration with John’s Deli and Cafe takes place in Instow on 29th June and Appledore on 30th June. There are limited tickets available for this and I’ll be cooking a delightful summery menu which is shaping up to be something like; a tomato galette with goat’s cheese mousse, black olive tapenade, pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs to start, chargrilled squid with chilli, mint and fennel for main and strawberry and elderflower fraisiers for dessert. You can book for this event by calling 01271 860310.
I’ve also got a really exciting breakfast and brunch collaboration with Love From Marjorie x in Ilfracombe coming up which is set to be something really quite special. We have a trial weekend set for 27th and 28th May and I’ll be offering a small breakfast/brunch menu of four dishes while manager Phoebe Middlecote does her thing with coffee, juices and smoothies. More on that later…
And last (but by no means least!) I’m launching a brand new baking venture, Madeleine and Me selling yummy, buttery French scallop shaped sponge cakes in a variety of different flavours at (hopefully) local markets in Barnstaple, South Molton and Crediton and a selection of food festivals around the county throughout the summer and beyond. I’ll be selling these lovely little treats individually and in three, six and twelve. They’re perfect as foodie gifts, but really I’d recommend just buying a bag and scoffing them all yourself.
I’ve also got a few other things brewing; including a community “MasterChef” project that I’m about to seek funding for which will see me working with some of the students at Petroc, an event for the homeless in the area, I’m doing my solo show Happiness is a Cup of Tea at The Boat Shed Festival in Exeter in July, as well as attempting to get Arts Council Funding for a tour of that same show and so on and so on.
Basically, I’ve got a lot to do and not enough time to do it! Send help!