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Mary Berry BBC Christmas show helps Herne Bay cousins cook up feast for mums


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Three cousins from Kent have cooked their "inspirational" mums a surprise Christmas feast - with the help of none other than Mary Berry.

Cooking novices James, Leah and Jack from Herne Bay put on a festive spread at Leeds Castle as part of a BBC One show that aired last night.

Brother and sister James (left) and Leah, with their cousin Jack, who are all from Herne Bay. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts
Brother and sister James (left) and Leah, with their cousin Jack, who are all from Herne Bay. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts

The emotional episode of Mary Berry's Festive Feasts saw the cousins tell how their mums - one of whom is high-risk due to her multiple sclerosis - have been unable to get together with their tight-knit family during the pandemic.

Jack told how his mum, Kaz, was diagnosed with MS when he was 10 and now uses a wheelchair.

"She trained to be a nurse for the NHS for three years, then she started deteriorating quite badly," he explained.

"Not long after that she was in a wheelchair so she had to basically stop."

His cousin James, who is a beach lifeguard in Herne Bay and works for the police, said: "It's been heartbreaking for my mum seeing her baby sister rapidly decline, and struggle to do things like she used to be able to do."

Sisters Kaz and Alison. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts
Sisters Kaz and Alison. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts

Due to the pandemic, the family have been forced to distance from one another, and have not been able to meet up for two years.

"My mum's only been able to see carers which has been very tough on her," said Jack.

"Last year was the first time I didn't spend Christmas with my mum, which was very very tough for her, and it was quite miserable to be honest."

The three cousins decided to treat their "inspirational" mums to a Christmas feast to mark their first reunion in two years.

Leah said: "I think they're incredible - they're the most amazing women you'll ever meet.

An old photo of Jack and his mum, Kaz. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts
An old photo of Jack and his mum, Kaz. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts

"They'd do anything for anybody, and they really deserve this."

Jack added: "My mum is so resilient. The things she does just amazes me from day to day. She really, really deserves this."

But while mums Kaz and Alison are skilled cooks, their children are not.

Leah confessed she once melted a set of scales by leaving them on the cooker, while Jack once ruined his parents' oven by cooking a pizza inside its plastic wrapper.

On last night's show, Jack, Leah and James travelled to Mary Berry's house, where the cooking guru and former Great British Bake Off judge gave them a crash course in creating a festive feast.

Mary Berry taught the three 'cooking novices' how to cook up a festive feast. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts
Mary Berry taught the three 'cooking novices' how to cook up a festive feast. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts
Jack was taught how to make a salmon pate starter. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts
Jack was taught how to make a salmon pate starter. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts

She taught Jack how to make a mouthwatering starter of smoked salmon and watercress pate.

Meanwhile James was taught to cook a glazed ham topped with clementines, served with garlic potatoes and a mustard sauce, and Leah whipped up a tiramisu red fruit trifle.

After beautifully executing the dishes with Mary Berry's guidance, they had a trickier time recreating them during a practice at home in Herne Bay.

But they thankfully pulled it out of the bag for the real thing, when they surprised their mums and relatives with a sit-down feast at Leeds Castle.

Kaz and Alison were surprised by a decadent feast at Leeds Castle cooked up by their children. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts
Kaz and Alison were surprised by a decadent feast at Leeds Castle cooked up by their children. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts

Addressing the room, Jack said: "Ever since I can remember you've just made Christmases so special for the whole family, and it's our turn to do something for you two. You deserve it."

The mums were delighted by the food - and even more so when Mary Berry appeared as a surprise.

The episode proved a tear-jerker, with many praising the trio on social media for their efforts.

One Herne Bay resident wrote: "Lovely to see such a nice family supporting each other".

Jack and his mum Kaz during the festive feast at Leeds Castle. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts
Jack and his mum Kaz during the festive feast at Leeds Castle. Picture: BBC/Mary Berry's Festive Feasts

One woman described it as "very emotional", while another said she "needed tissues at the end".

The episode is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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