Phew… and breathe! Did you catch the episode of Couples Come Dine With Me – A Dog’s Dinner where Poppy and I served our guests dog food? (The full episode is also below). Thinking back to the filming makes my heart pound (or as they couldn’t resist keeping in the show, had my ‘sphincter pulsating’)!
It was one of the hottest UK summers on record and having to be on ceremony at all times with a mic pack monitoring your every move was interesting but at times, purely exhausting. You’d never know it from the 50 minute edit, but the week consisted of long days spent filming, starting at 8am and not finishing until 2am or 3am. We all had big eye bags by the end of the week.
Each day the first three hours of filming Couples Come Dine With Me was spent at various locations around Wiltshire where we talked about the previous night and what we ‘might’ expect to happen that night. In the evening, we could be kept waiting in the car for up to an hour at each destination before being called to shoot the famous knock on the door. On the first night we had no idea who the other couples were going to be or what they were like, but my gosh did we get lucky. Thankfully we all got on like a house on fire and had a real laugh, which is not always the case from some of the episodes I’ve seen!
The first hosts were winners Kelly and Sam. Quite how we managed to misinterpret the golf theme and turn up as sailors instead, I really do not know. When we saw Albatross on the menu, all I could think of was a big squawky bird… a howling error indeed, captain.
I enjoyed their rare beef starter, which is very in line with Poppy’s Picnic. They were such great hosts and I wanted to give them a score of 20. Alas, the producers made us deduct a point, but I guess they had to keep at least a tiny element of suspense for the viewers.
The second night at Brian and Mandie’s was extremely entertaining. Their main course of humble pie was one of the most delicious shepherd’s pies I’ve had, but this rapidly went downhill with their sticky truffle dessert – oops. Bless them trying to get us all going with the dancing… at least I sort of managed to move my knees!
Being called the ‘James Bond of businesses’ made me chuckle. Indeed, Daniel Craig now says he won’t work with anyone else but Poppy Galore, the only dog with a license to eat!
When it was our turn to host we were excited to share our message of feeding fresh wholesome food to dogs, but nervous on how it would be received nonetheless. We prepared a menu using fresh, flavourful ingredients that could be enjoyed by both humans and four-legged friends alike, and were keen to show that feeding fresh to your dogs is important for their health and happiness, and easier to do than you might think.
It was absolutely smashing that they allowed Poppy to cook with me, and she kept a very eager eye on all the ingredients (although food hygiene was observed at all times) – including those that managed to fall on the floor.
Our guests arrived dressed in black tie. I was so pleased when both couples completely entered into eating from their dog bowls and put on dog masks. Kelly even said that our golden broth would have been a winning main course ‘if you were a canine’. I’m thrilled because why shouldn’t our dogs have an exciting eating experience too?
There were numerous times where I was ready to throw in the towel from the stress and lack of sleep but I pushed through. What you may not know is that each couple are given £120 towards preparing the food, and the crew decide seating arrangements around the table. It wasn’t all glitz and glamour as there was a lot of hanging around between scenes but all six of us got on superbly well, sometimes forgetting the cameras were there. What you didn’t see on the show is that our final night ended up with us around the table singing and shaking a move to Dancing Queen at the top of our lungs.
Kelly and Sam used their winnings to buy Minnie, a little miniature schnauzer just like Poppy, who is also fed Poppy’s Picnic.
My Come Dine With Me Appearance was not about winning the competition – it was to convey a message to all the viewers at home about feeding a fresh diet to our dogs. This I know I succeeded in doing.
You can watch the full episode below. Our turn to host the evening starts at 31:10.