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Celeb chef Suzie Arbuthnot cooks up virtual treat in lockdown with a few well-known faces


Suzie Arbuthnot at her Lisburn home

Suzie Arbuthnot at her Lisburn home

Stephen Hamilton

Suzie Arbuthnot at her Lisburn home

The winner of the BBC's Best Home Cook has been teaming up with some famous faces to teach people locked in their homes how to make some of their favourite dishes.

Lisburn woman Suzie Arbuthnot (36) has been hosting weekly virtual cook-alongs on her Instagram page and YouTube channel alongside Belfast-based artist Aly Harte, BBC presenter Holly Hamilton, Cool FM breakfast show host Pete Snodden, motorbike star Jonathan Rea and recently retired Irish rugby captain Rory Best.

The videos have been filmed in their own home kitchens and recipes featured to date have included 'hidden' vegetable lasagne, chocolate sandwich cream, potato farls and Japanese pan-fried dumplings.

Since being crowned the 2020 champion of the primetime show back in February, Suzie has become a well-known local face.

Beating fellow finalists Sarah Woods and Georgia Salamat to the title of Best Home Cook, she dazzled Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett and produce expert Chris Bavin with Mary Berry's ultimate three-course dinner party.

Her cooking skills were described as "absolutely tremendous" - and she now has plenty of spare time on her hands to share her secrets with fans.

The self-employed accountant is currently in lockdown at her home outside Lisburn with her husband Steven (35), an A-level psychology teacher at Omagh Academy, and their two children, Odelia (2) and five-year-old Zander.

As someone who is normally always on the go, whether it's to the gym, hockey practice or choir rehearsals, Suzie admits that after four weeks of lockdown she is going "stir crazy".

"I'm not used to being stuck at home and it has been quite hard to adjust," she said.

"I'm fortunate that my husband is still teaching [from home] and bringing in an income but my job has stopped as I can't get out to see clients. Steven is loving getting to spend so much time with the kids as he's not on the road to Omagh every day.

"It has been mentally difficult knowing that I don't need to do 100 things at once because he is here to help.

"Having this time has made me reassess and I know I shouldn't complain because I have my health."

Suzie says Steven can also take credit for coming up with the idea of the Friday afternoon cook-alongs at 2pm.

"It was his brainchild, and because I was already doing them with the kids anyway, he thought it would be fun to get some other people and their families involved, too.

"Since we are all stuck at home we are cooking more than normal so it's the ideal time to get families into the kitchen to learn about food and gain confidence.

"I try to make things simple as we have to create the dish within an hour.

"The feedback has been really lovely as more and more people are watching and telling me how they got on trying the recipes.

"And they love to see that I'm in the same position as them in terms of still managing to cook with kids crawling all over me.

"I have also been trying to push local food suppliers to keep them going, and thankfully it seems to work as they say their business is booming."

Belfast Telegraph