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Ainsley's National Trust Cook Off

Celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott being filmed cooking in an outdoor kitchen at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
Filming Ainsley's National Trust Cook Off at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Join celebrity chef and TV presenter Ainsley Harriott as he hosts a cooking competition using produce grown in three of the gardens we care for, in ITV's new series Ainsley’s National Trust Cook Off.

What’s the series about?

Ainsley Harriott heads to Blickling Estate in Norfolk, Tyntesfield in Somerset and Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire to host a light-hearted outdoor competition with well-known chefs, who create dishes using fresh produce from the gardens.

And who better to judge these freshly cooked plates than the people who’ve grown the produce? Our staff and volunteers taste and rank each dish, and Ainsley gets to know the people who look after the gardens all year round. From meeting Wimpole Estate's shire horses to trying topiary at Blickling Estate, you’ll see what it takes to care for gardens like these.

Ainsley’s National Trust Cook Off will run for 10 episodes, starting at 11.40am on 18 May 2024 on ITV1 and ITVX.

Visiting the three locations has made me realise how much diversity there is in the National Trust... I hope everyone can feel the energy and joy we experienced when they watch the series.

A quote by Ainsley Harriott Celebrity chef and TV presenter

Episode one

In the first episode of the series, Ainsley visits Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire. He's joined by Poppy O'Toole, who's known for her viral potato recipe videos on TikTok, and Sam Grainger, chef patron at Belzan in Liverpool and former contestant on the BBC's Great British Menu. The chefs source fresh ingredients from the garden to create their bespoke dishes, including cavalo nero kale, Charlotte potatoes and yellow courgettes.

Episode two

Ainsley heads to Blickling Estate in Norfolk with Joseph Denison Carey, co-founder of The Bread and Butter Supper Club and guest chef on ITV's This Morning, and Georgina Hayden, cook, food writer and stylist. Ainsley uses fresh broad beans to create a Cromer crab and broad bean guacamole tostada, while Georgina uses yellow french beans to create a Cypriot dish and Joseph pays homage to his Italian culinary training.

Episode three

In episode three, Ainsley is joined by celebrity chef and presenter Briony May Williams, who competed in the Great British Bake Off, and Gaz Oakley, cookbook author and YouTube chef, formerly known as 'the Avant-Garde Vegan'. This time, the chefs set up their kitchen at Tyntesfield in Somerset. Ainsley uses fresh chives to make potato and chive scones with eggs, bacon and blistered tomatoes, while Briony cooks on a wood-fired oven and Gaz explains the health benefits of using garden-fresh vegetables.

Ainsley Harriott shaking hands with a member of staff from Wimpole Estate while standing in front of a shire horse
Ainsley Harriott meets the team that looks after the shire horses at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Episode four

Ainsley visits Wimpole Estate with chef, restaurateur and BBC Great British Menu winner Tristan Welch, and Asian-inspired chef and author, Philli Armitage-Mattin, who was a finalist on BBC MasterChef. Ainsley picks fresh beetroot and makes beetroot and carrot patties with a vegan horseradish yoghurt. Meanwhile, Tristan shares his passion for zero-waste cooking and Philli creates a Japanese-inspired summer vegetable pancake.

Episode five

In episode five, Ainsley heads back to Blickling Estate and is accompanied by Freddy Forster, who appeared on Channel 4's Beat the Chef, and Lerato Umah-Shaylor, food writer and presenter. Ainsley picks cucumbers from the greenhouse to make 'bash-bang' chicken and cucumber noodle salad. Freddy demonstrates his skills in French cuisine, while Lerato highlights her expertise in traditional African cooking.

Episode six

Back at Tyntesfield, Ainsley is joined by Yvonne Cobb, deaf celebrity chef and founder of Yumma Food, and Dr Rupy Aujla, GP and creator of The Doctor's Kitchen. Ainsley creates brioche French toast with chargrilled greengages and cinnamon crème fraiche, while Yvonne experiments with strong flavours and Dr Rupy emphasises the importance of eating fresh fruit and vegetables.

Episode seven

Ainsley returns to Wimpole, this time with 2018 Great British Bake Off finalist, Ruby Bhogal and Michelin-starred French chef, Daniel Galmiche. Ainsley digs up Charlotte potatoes from the Walled Garden to make flatbread pizza with Charlotte potato, rosemary and chilli rings. Ruby celebrates her Indian heritage using one of her mother's recipes, while Daniel showcases his French influences.

A film crew gathers around an outdoor kitchen set up where Ainsley Harriott is whisking ingredients
Filming Ainsley's National Trust Cook Off at Blickling Estate, Norfolk | © National Trust Images/Gerald Peachey

Episode eight

In episode eight, Ainsley visits Tyntesfield accompanied by self-taught cook and author, Genevieve Taylor and Irish chef, Nico Reynolds. Ainsley chooses patty pan squash from the garden to add to his chargrilled summer squash recipe. Genevieve shows off her skills with the wood-fired and pizza ovens to make a pizza blanca, and Nico gets creative with Tyntesfield's home-grown onions.

Episode nine

Ainsley goes back to Blickling Estate with Ben Ebbrell, co-founder of Sorted Food, and Cyrus Todiwala, Indian celebrity chef and owner of Café Spice Namasté. Ainsley uses stripey tomatoes from the greenhouse for his pan-fried mackerel, while Ben creates a Latin-American-inspired dish and Cyrus pays homage to his Indian roots.

Episode ten

Ainsley visits Tyntesfield one final time with Serena Appleby, who's well-known for her appearance on BBC Three's Hungry For It, and Judy Joo, chef, author and restaurateur. Ainsley picks rare Ashmead Kernel apples for his maple-griddled apple, fennel and prosciutto salad. Serena uses her street-food style cooking to create a summer garden frittata, and Judy makes a salad dish inspired by her Korean heritage.

Explore the filming locations

Blickling Estate

Visit the Walled Garden

The Walled Garden was a source of food for people who worked on Blickling Estate for several centuries before it fell into disrepair during the 20th century. In 2014, we began work to restore the garden and you can now see an abundance of fruits, vegetables and herbs growing there. You can also eat produce from the garden in the onsite cafés or take some home from the donation point at the Estate Barn. 

Find out about the gardens at Blickling Estate

Produce growing over arches in the kitchen garden with Blickling Hall in the background
The Walled Garden in June at Blickling Estate, Norfolk | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole
Ainsley Harriott speaks to a member of staff in the outdoor kitchen at Blickling Estate

Watch Ainsley's National Trust Cook Off

You can find out more about the series and watch the latest episodes on ITVX.

Woman working on a portrait of Margaret Greville with Cliveden's Nancy Astor portrait in the background

Film and TV 

Go behind the scenes and discover the National Trust places that have been filming locations for some famous films and TV shows including Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones.

An elderly couple explore the walled garden at Felbrigg, with one of the visitors in a mobility vehicle. To the left are garden beds full of vegetables and on the right are garden borders full of flowers.
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Top kitchen gardens 

Growing fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs, these busy kitchen gardens from around the UK are rich in history. Some of their produce is even served in our cafés.

Blickling Hall viewed down Temple Walk with colourful azaleas in flower in the foreground
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Blickling Estate 

One day is never enough. Discover a complete Norfolk estate with something for everyone.

Aylsham, Norfolk

Fully open today
Tyntesfield House in Spring
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Place

Tyntesfield 

An ornate Victorian Gothic Revival house with extensive garden and parkland, just a stone's throw from Bristol

Bristol, North Somerset

Fully open today
Lambs in the parkland at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
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Place

Wimpole Estate 

A living working estate, guided by the seasons with an impressive mansion, parkland, gardens and rare breed farm.

Royston, Cambridgeshire

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A volunteer talks to two visitors, indicating something on the wall

Volunteer 

Our volunteers make our work to look after nature and history for future generations possible. Learn more about the volunteering opportunities available and hear a selection of their stories to find out what it's like to volunteer with us.