Strictly Kosher star on fame, phones, and chicken soup

By Simon Round, August 18, 2011
Cooking up a storm: Bernette

Cooking up a storm: Bernette

Just a month ago, Bernette Clarke was a Manchester housewife, juggling work and family. Now, following the screening of ITV1's Strictly Kosher documentary, she is Britain's latest reality star. And she might just end up as Prestwich's answer to Nigella.

Mrs Clarke, 46, has been invited to London to do a screen test for This Morning on ITV1. If the producers like her, she will appear live demonstrating one of her recipes on next Thursday's show. She is looking forward to the challenge and is confident of success.

She said: "I'm happy to go on TV. I think I'll do well because I'm very good. I'm lively enough and I've got enough recipes to keep them going every single week for a year."

She added: "I think they want me to make chicken soup, because that's what I was making on the documentary. I've given them a choice of latkes, chopped and fried fish, a kugel of some sort or maybe a strudel. I can cook anything."

However, Mrs Clarke warned that her style of cookery might not be what the public is used to. "I don't really follow a recipe, I throw everything together – that's how I've cooked all my life, but it's always gorgeous."

If Mrs Clarke gets around to weighing and measuring her ingredients, there might even be a Strictly Kosher cookbook: "I've been asked if I want to do one, but nothing has been signed yet."

She has been staggered by the attention. At work as a clerk at Manchester Royal Infirmary, she has noticed many of the patients staring at her. And she cannot walk down the street without being approached for a picture. "Last week alone I must have been stopped 20 or 30 times by people asking me to pose for photos on their mobile phones. That's a month after the programme was shown – it's gone mad."

Even if her cookery career does not take off, there is every chance Mrs Clarke will appear on our screens again. The response to the one-off film (which included a complimentary tweet from Boy George) has prompted ITV to consider seriously commissioning a series. "The producer is waiting for the go ahead. He's actually turned down lots of work because he thinks he's going to get this follow up."

Until then Mrs Clarke is keeping busy, cooking gargantuan quantities of food for her many Shabbat guests and will find time to come to London next month for the opening of a new building at Immanuel College in Bushey.

Last updated: 1:36pm, August 24 2011