Paul Daniels’s culinary wizardry in Booking the Cooks,
Oisín Davis stirs with the stars
Those of you of a certain age will recall that magicians who wanted to entertain the masses didn’t have to be suspended for days on end from glass cubes or enforce a hunger strike on themselves in blocks of ice.
In the not-so-distant past, all that was required of them was a sharp wit, a charming (usually female) assistant and of course, the ability to perform the odd illusion or two. Paul Daniels was one such trickster. Not only did he tick all of those boxes, but he had some damn fine catchphrases, too. And if you thought that this more old-school approach to showmanship wasn’t drawing crowds any more, then think again. Daniels is still packing them in and even after many decades in show business, continues to win praise from his peers and public.
Indeed, when granted an opportunity with someone who has such a respected legacy under their belt, there was no way I couldn’t not ask him about the wildest trick he’s ever seen.
“The production of a donkey and an elephant on an open stage by the late great Harry Blackstone. No trap doors, no cover, and there they were. Quite wonderful!”
And who was the greatest magician that ever lived?
“Merlin – if he ever actually lived – because people are still talking about him after hundreds of years.”
That’s all very epic, but when it comes to food, Paul’s tastes are definitely more grounded. He may be a household name who has entertained millions, but serve him up some humble egg ‘n’ chips and as he has says himself, “I am in heaven”. Sitting alongside Harry and Merlin perhaps?
You’re going to like this . . . Paul Daniels in his heyday