Some people love cooking. Some people love DIY.
George Egg is first and foremost a stand-up comedian, but he’s pretty handy in the kitchen and the garden shed, too.
He’s used a plumber’s blow torch to cook a fillet of rainbow trout, dressing it with a smear of wasabi and a splash of soy sauce, and a DeWalt DW340 paint stripping gun to caramelise a scallop which he cooked in its shell.
“I placed a tiny knob of butter on it,” he writes in his blog, “and blasted it for about a minute each side and sprinkled it with a little smoked sea salt, a pinch of dill, some pepper and a squeeze of lemon. It was honestly one of the nicest things I’ve ever eaten in my life.”
It’s not just power tools. Anything unconventional will do, such as an Elpine desktop paper shredder to make linguine.
“Perfect 3mm ribbons. Boiled in a kettle, dressed with UHT cream pots, parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper. And a pinch of chopped parsley.”
George Egg: DIY Chef, his latest show now touring the UK, is an inspiring and inventive evening of stand-up, live cooking and comedy lecture in which George prepares a breakfast, a lunch and a dinner using, amongst other things, a wallpaper stripper, a heat gun, a paper shredder and a whole host of other power tools, office equipment, hair-dressing appliances and gardening implements.
Eat your heart out, Jamie Oliver.
The show, which sold out at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Brighton Fringe Festival, where it received 4 and 5 star rave reviews, comes to the Waterside, Sale, next month.
So expect an evening of power tools, gardening equipment and office supplies being re-purposed and abused. Expect laughs. Expect to learn something new. And expect to taste the food at the end.
Cookery and DIY is an unusual mix. How did it come about?
Well the comedy I’ve been doing for years, and the DIY I’ve been doing for years, both running parallel. I just decided to put the two together. I’ve used tools for cooking many times before and with a real life storyline behind it too I thought I’d turn my experiences into a show.
Are you first and foremost a comedian, chef or DIY fan? Or all three? Or none?
Oh gosh. All three definitely. I mean comedy is how I’ve made my living for the last two decades, but then I’ve also built a house pretty much from the inside out over the last fifteen years and a day hasn’t gone by since I can remember when I haven’t cooked something, so they’re all equal passions.
Why power tools?
Because they’re f**king cool.
When it comes to cooking, which are the most important power tools?
I suppose the ones that generate heat are the most useful – so blow torch, hot air gun, soldering iron and such like. But then there’s great cutters too (plane, paper-shredder and so on). And there’s amazing steam-makers. And things which vibrate. Oh crumbs, there’s too many to choose from. I reckon the blow torch has to be the best because it’s so bloody dangerous.
What’s the most unusual power tool you’ve used to make a meal?
I think the wallpaper stripper is the most absurd looking, with it’s long hose and billows of steam.
What’s your favourite recipe using power tools?
Pasta made with a paper shredder. It’s just so much fun and beautiful to watch.
Have you ever used a hammer drill for meat tenderising?
Not yet, but I will now. Thanks.
Do you use any other unconventional appliances and equipment to cook apart from power tools?
Yes, the show veers out of the shed and into the garden, the office and elsewhere. As I’ve mentioned, I use a paper shredder, hair-straighteners, garden shears and lots more besides.
What happens to the food you cook during your show?
The audience eat it. The irony is that the show is about me looking after myself and not eating junk food, but then I do the show, cook the food, serve it to the audience and leave hungry so inevitably far too frequently find myself ending up in a drive thru somewhere.
Do you have any culinary or DIY idols?
Gennaro Contaldo is the most inspiring chef on tv. He’s so funny and warm and utterly watchable. DIY-wise I’ve recently started watching a guy called Adam Savage on youtube. He’s a proper-maker with the most incredible workshop and his enthusiasm is just so infectious.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of cooking with power tools?
What’s next? A Cooking With Power Tools recipe book? Or maybe a The DIY Chef TV programme?
I really hope so. I’m talking to some people so we’ll see. Certainly more shows. I’ve already got an idea for the next show, so watch this space.
Waterside Arts Centre, Sale; Sunday 4 February 2018 at 7.30pm. Tickets £15 (£13).
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