A BASINGSTOKE dad is set to show off his culinary skills next week when he appears on popular Channel 4 show Come Dine With Me.

Christopher Cloke will compete against four other contestants from the Basingstoke area, who all filmed the show in a house in Ecchinswell, near Kingsclere in June.

The programme will deviate from the usual format which sees contestants welcome each other into their own homes for a dinner party over the course of the week, with the most successful host winning a £1,000 cash prize.

Instead, the group from Basingstoke were required to all host their dinner party in the same location, at someone else’s house in Kingsclere.

Christopher, from Chineham, took part in the series in memory of his late mother Carole, who died in 2018.

The father-of-two told the Gazette: “I always wanted the opportunity to show off my cooking skills and Come Dine With Me was my later mother’s favourite cooking programme and I always said I would go on it for her.”

The 39-year-old, who runs his own cleaning business ProClean Direct, said it was a challenge cooking his three-course meal in a different kitchen, explaining: “It was a great experience the house we cooked in was fantastic. It was slightly challenging because we had to cook on an aga, so it was a challenge for everyone.”

However, Christopher described his own dinner party, which will be shown on Friday, August 6 as a “showstopper” , having created a menu inspired by local produce sourced from places including Newlyns Farm Shop near Hook.

He said: “I love cooking and have always enjoyed cooking and have a real passion for it. I have watched countless cooking programmes over the years and have built a knowledge from that. I wanted to use local produce and am a big fan of Newlyns so used locally sourced produce. I would say it pretty much went to plan.”

Christopher said he enjoyed the company of the other four contestants, who have all kept in touch since filming took place.

“Everyone got on really well,” he said, without giving away too much before the programme airs, adding: “We have kept in contact and been out, it was an opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t normally.”

Come Dine With Me featuring Basingstoke contestants is being shown on Channel 4 next week, starting on Monday, August 2.

It is not the first time Basingstoke contestants have featured on the show.

The Channel 4 series has previously filmed contestants in the town, recording some of its most memorable shows in the programme’s history.

This included in 2014 when four contestants from Basingstoke – landscape gardener Toby Pullen, Hospital Radio Basingstoke DJ Zaira Sheikh, published author James Littleworth and self-confessed “lady of leisure” Heather Horsfall - competed to win £1,000 prize-fund.

But tensions ran high at the end of the contest when the results were announced and host Heather discovered she had come in last place.

To say she took it badly would be an understatement. 

Prior to this in 2009, thousands of people were touched by the story of Come Dine With Me contestant Spencer Uren, who appeared on the programme to try and win the prize money for his sister Sorelle, who had cancer.

But in a tragic twist, 37-year-old Spencer died of cancer himself just a few months after filming in May 2009.

His fellow contestants set up a fundraising appeal called Come Dine for Spencer in his memory, which raised thousands of pounds for the cancer ward at Basingstoke hospital.