CELEBRITY chef John Torode showed local cooks how to make amazing street food at the Eat Street food festival in Basingstoke.

The star of MasterChef held six cooking demonstrations over two days last Friday and Saturday, showing keen amateur cooks how to create delicious street food from basic ingredients.

The demonstrations, which took place in Porchester Square, drew big crowds.

John, who was making his first visit to the shopping centre, said: “I always like doing these sorts of events where you are able to inspire people to do something a bit different. I’m cooking street food such as southern fried chicken and corndogs, and making them taste fantastic.

“Great food does not have to come out of Michelin-starred restaurants – some of the best food I have ever tasted has come from street vendors.

“I think a lot of people underestimate this sort of food, particularly deep fried foods. I love corndogs. When you deep-fry something the meat inside is essen-tially steamed. It is a fantastic way of cooking.”

John said he is delighted that there has been revived interest in cooking in recent years, adding: “I think teenagers these days are a lot more likely to be able to cook than, say, someone in their mid-twenties.

“It is easy to cook. We are all so time-poor these days that people think it is easier to stick a ready-meal in the microwave. But you could just as easily bung some chicken and potatoes in the oven and have a proper meal.”

The TV star also signed copies of his latest book, and happily chatted and posed with excited fans during the two-day food extravaganza.

The Eat Street event also featured stalls from various Festival Place restaurants, with Ask, La Tasca, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Wagamama all dishing out free bites to shoppers.

The crowds were entertained by the popular wandering band ‘Hot Dinners’, while the Costa Coffee team was on hand with coffee-making master classes.

Steven Connolly, Festival Place centre director, said: “With large crowds attending, and over 4,000 free bites handed out, the event was a huge success and really helped to establish Festival Place as the foodie destination it’s become.”