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Sisters on TV: Young Annabelle and Gabriella prepare three-course meal for dinner party of 11-year-olds

Annabelle (left) and Gabriella Whittard

Annabelle (left) and Gabriella Whittard

Two budding young chefs will cook for a dinner party of 11-year-olds on a TV show that will be broadcast tonight.

Sisters Annabelle and Gabriella Whittard will be shown in the programme Dinner at 11, where eight 11-year-olds will discuss politics, school, life and love during a three-course meal.

Their sophisticated menu will include leek, potato and watercress soup for starters, chilli-marinated French-cut lamb chops for the main course, and flaming apple sorbet for dessert.

It will all be washed down with non-alcoholic cocktails, also prepared by the sisters.

The footage – to be shown on Channel 4 tonight at 10.45pm – was filmed in August last year by production company Dragonfly.

Annabelle, 13, and Gabriella, 11, were selected after a brief was put out to the nation’s children to design a creative menu.

Film-makers visited their home, near Berkhamsted Castle, to talk to them and taste some of their food, before selecting them for the show.

The programme was filmed on the same Shoreditch set used by Jamie Oliver during his cooking shows. The sisters were working alongside the likes of 2014 BAFTA-winning documentary makers Marina Parker and Nick Holt during the filming of Dinner at 11.

Annabelle said: “It was absolutely fascinating. I loved it.

“There were so many different people working on the set and it was amazing working with them. It was absolutely fantastic.”

Gabriella, who goes to Beechwood Park School, near Markyate, said: “It was really fun. It is a bit nerve-wracking when you know the camera is watching you and you know you have got to cook all these things. But to know that you can really boosts your confidence when you are cooking afterwards.”

She said it was a great opportunity to experiment and ‘show people what we can do’ – the diners described it as ‘better than anything we have had before’.

Mum Victoria said: “My children love to cook. They have done since they were little. They cook all the time.”

Cooking is a passion that runs in the Whittard family, with each generation encouraging the next to take it up at a young age.

Annabelle said: “Mum and grandmother are cooking all the time. Their food is absolutely brilliant. I started out bringing the spatula and stirring things, and got better from there.

“There’s not really a secret to good cooking. You just have to have a love of food and a passion for it, and someone supporting you the whole way.”

 

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