Of fame, phones, and chicken soup

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY SI­MON ROUND

JUST A month ago, Ber­nette Clarke was a Manch­ester house­wife, jug­gling work and fam­ily. Now, fol­low­ing the screen­ing of ITV1’s Strictly Kosher doc­u­men­tary, she is Bri­tain’s lat­est re­al­ity star. And she might just end up as Prest­wich’s an­swer to Nigella.

Mrs Clarke, 46, has been in­vited to Lon­don to do a screen test for This Morn­ing on ITV1. If the pro­duc­ers like her, she will ap­pear live demon­strat­ing one of her recipes on next Thurs­day’s show. She is look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge and is con­fi­dent of suc­cess.

She said: “I’m happy to go on TV. I think I’ll do well be­cause I’m very good. I’m lively enough and I’ve got enough recipes to keep them go­ing ev­ery sin­gle week for a year.”

She added: “I think they want me to make chicken soup, be­cause that’s what I was mak­ing on the doc­u­men­tary. I’ve given them a choice of latkes, chopped and fried fish, a kugel of some sort or maybe a strudel. I can cook any­thing.”

How­ever, Mrs Clarke warned that her style of cook­erymight­not be what the pub­lic is used to. “I don’t re­ally fol­low a recipe, I throw ev­ery­thing to­gether – that’s how I’ve cooked all my life, but it’s al­ways gor­geous.”

If Mrs Clarke gets around to weigh­ing and mea­sur­ing her in­gre­di­ents, there might even be a Strictly Kosher cook­book: “I’ve been asked if I want to do one, but noth­ing has been

signed yet.”

She has been stag­gered by the at­ten­tion. At work as a clerk at Manch­ester Royal In­fir­mary, she has no­ticed many of the pa­tients star­ing at her. And she can­not walk down the street with­out be­ing ap­proached for a pic­ture. “Last week alone I must have been stopped 20 or 30 times by peo­ple ask­ing me to pose for pho­tos on their mo­bile phones. That’s a month af­ter the pro­gramme was shown – it’s gone mad.”

Even if her cook­ery ca­reer does not take off, there is ev­ery chance Mrs Clarke will ap­pear on our screens again. The re­sponse to the one-off film (which in­cluded a com­pli­men­tary tweet from Boy Ge­orge) has prompted ITV to con­sider se­ri­ously com­mis­sion­ing a se­ries. “The pro­ducer is wait­ing for the go ahead. He’s ac­tu­ally turned down lots of work be­cause he thinks he’s go­ing to get this fol­low up.”

Un­til then Mrs Clarke is keep­ing busy, cook­ing gar­gan­tuan quan­ti­ties of food for her many Shab­bat guests and will find time to come to Lon­don next month for the open­ing of a new build­ing at Im­manuel Col­lege in Bushey, Hert­ford­shire, along­side Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.

Let’s hope he is not knocked down in the rush for au­to­graphs.


Cook­ing up a storm: Ber­nette

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