Ex-PNE star has a shot at fine dining

TV dinner: Gary Bennett and wife Linda
TV dinner: Gary Bennett and wife Linda
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Rows, reconciliation and a decapitated prawn were all on the menu when ex-PNE star Gary Bennett and his wife Linda took part in Come Dine With Me.

The pair took part in the couples edition of Channel 4’s popular dinner party show, and less experienced cook Gary found himself all at sea in the kitchen.

Gary, 50, played for Preston during the 1996-97 season, famously scoring two quick goals in a 3-0 victory over Blackpool.

His wife, Linda, 47, a psychiatric nurse, is a longtime fan of the show and a keen cook.

She said: “I applied for six years to be on the normal show and didn’t get through, but with this first series of the couples version I was successful.

“I didn’t tell my husband at first, but when Channel 4 rang asking to speak to him, I had to break the news.

“He enjoys football and horse racing, so I said you have a 3 in 1 chance of winning £1,000 ... he eventually came round”.

Linda wanted to use her cooking skills to the full, after a long and careful planning, she decided to cook a deconstructed prawn cocktail, lamb tagine with gem’d couscous (a Nigella Lawson recipe) followed by her signature banoffee pie.

Everything was going to plan – until the cooking started.

Linda chuckled: “It was really funny but really stressful. Gary was told by the show he had to take part in the cooking, but I’m the cook of the house!”.

Gary added: “It was all very new to me. I was unsure about what to do – I pulled the head off a prawn which apparently wasn’t the correct thing to do!”.

Gary and Linda were the last couple to cook hold the party, having been to two other couples’ houses, they got on well with the four other contestants.

“Rosie and Dave were a fantastic couple who had been married for 25 years.

“Very loved up, doing everything together, different to me and Gary – we still retain a fair bit of independence.

“Melissa and Kyle are newly weds and are still discovering who each other are,” said Linda.

“I didn’t feel nervous during filming – we were interviewed in front of cameras prior to cooking on the show by channel four so we were used to the cameras”.

l The episode will air tonight at 5 o’clock pm on Channel 4.