HE’S been banned from the kitchen and banished to the shed by his wife, who told him to “get on with some DIY”.
But comedian and anarchist George Egg has other things on his mind: FOOD! His unstoppable urge to be creative means he has to find ways to cook from the equipment he finds in his garden shed.
So he makes tagliatelle with a paper shredder, steams kippers and eggs with a wallpaper stripper and uses a hot air gun to conjure up some croutons.
“It’s innovative, it’s resourceful and it’s very silly,” says George, who lives in Brighton with his wife and three children.
The award-winning comedian, who had two sell-out years in a row at the Edinburgh Fringe with his show Anarchist Cook, where he demonstrated how to prepare and cook meals using equipment in hotel rooms, is back with his new show, DIY Chef. He’s touring the country, with a date at the Chequer Mead Community Arts Centre in East Grinstead this month and two at the Brighton Festival Fringe in May.
The show, which features live cooking, is described as a cross between stand-up comedy and a lecture where audiences can expect power tools, gardening equipment and office supplies to be re-purposed and abused.
And they can expect to be able to sample the seriously tasty food he creates afterwards.
“Well, the idea for this show began when I had to visit the doctor with chest pains,” George explains. “It turned out to be nothing more serious than heartburn – but then he said that we needed to talk about my diet and my weight.
“When I told my wife, she banned me from using the kitchen and sent me to the shed to do some DIY. I’ve
Pictures: George Egg demonstrates his unusual uses for power tools in his show DIY Chef
always been into DIY – we did up our house here in Brighton over about 15 years. In the shed, I started cooking food secretly.
“I used things that I had in my shed – not necessarily just garden equipment and DIY equipment but all the other weird things you dump in the shed, like a paper shredder and hair straighteners.”
In DIY Chef, he uses the equipment at hand to create three meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. “It’s proper gourmet food,” he says. “In fact, it’s so delicious I take some of it back to my hotel room to eat later – a delicious irony given that my last show was about cooking food in hotel rooms using the equipment there!”
He admits he’s hard to please when it comes to eating out. “I’m so into food that I will spend ages searching out places to eat that do innovative food,” he says. “I do all the cooking at home too – I’m a bit of a control freak there. I could get up in the morning, go into the kitchen and start cooking and stay there till bedtime.
“I have thought about starting my own cafe or even cook school but it’s never happened. Then I began incorporating it into my stand-up routines and now I have the best of both worlds because I do comedy and cooking together.”
So after his tour finishes at the end of July, what’s on the menu next for the DIY chef? “Oh, I’m already looking at other places to cook food,” he says. “A car, maybe – think about the engine or a hot dashboard. Or a laboratory. A school. Or a prison. That would be fantastic.”
George Egg – DIY Chef is at Chequer Mead Community Arts Centre, De La Warr Road, East Grinstead, at 7.30pm on Friday February 23. Tickets £14/pensioners and students £12. Phone 01342 302000 or visit chequermead.org.uk.
George Egg – DIY Chef is at The Warren, St Peter’s Church North, York Place, Brighton, at 8pm on Thursday May 24 and Saturday May 26 as part of Brighton Festival Fringe. Tickets £12/concs £10.50/carer or support worker £6. Phone 01273 987516 or visit otherplacebrighton.co.uk.