A MARKETING manager from Andover who is appearing on Come Dine With Me this week said a year ago she could not even boil an egg.

Nicole Stevens is one of five contestants from Basingstoke and the surrounding areas who appear on the popular Channel 4 programme this week, competing against each other to host the best dinner party.

The group took part in filming in June at a house in Ecchinswell, near Kingsclere, in a move away from the usual formal which sees contestants welcome each other into their own homes throughout the week in a bid to win a £1,000 cash prize.

However, Covid regulations meant producers instead decided to hold the dinner parties all in the same location.

Nicole was fist to host, creating a menu inspired by her Caribbean roots.

The 27-year-old, who was living in Andover at the time of filming but recently moved to Weybridge, said she learned to cook during lockdown.

She explained: “I had low expectations taking part I thought I was going to mess it up. My mum is a really amazing cook and makes a lot of Lebanese food so a lot of our friends and family know her as someone who can cook. But I used to burn boiled eggs only a year ago. I learned how to cook during the pandemic and was watching YouTube videos and I would call my mum on Zoom for help.”

Nicole, a marketing manager for Mailbird, said there was a brand-new crew filming Come Dine With Me, saying: “We were all learning together and it took a long time to film. The first day I was filming from 8am until 2 in the morning. There was a Covid officer making sure we were all doing the right thing, everything got sanitised after each course. They were very strict about Covid.”

She said she loved meeting the other contestants, who have all kept in touch since going out for drinks and even having a sleepover.

Nicole scored 29 for her three-course meal, which was not enough to win the competition, however she said: “I didn’t win but I did feel my food and the delivery was high quality.”

The winner will be revealed in Friday night’s episode after all the contestants have hosted their dinner party.

The Gazette has also spoken to fellow contestants Adam and Chris. You can read their stories here.