The British ambassador in Madrid made a daring foray into the world of Spanish cuisine on Wednesday night with an appearance on a popular cooking show where he defended UK chefs over alleged “crimes” against beloved national dishes.
Simon Manley had a starring role in the 45-minute edition of El Comidista, debating the merits of British versus Spanish food and receiving a tutorial on the perfect tortilla from host and chef Mikel Lopez Iturriaga.
The pair engaged in some light-hearted sparring over alleged British crimes against Spanish cuisine, with Mr Manly offering a valiant defence of Jamie Oliver, whose takes on traditional dishes have more than once incurred the wrath of the country’s foodies.
Wearing a Union Jack apron and declaring “Vive la Majestad!” (Long live her Majesty), the diplomat rustled up Oliver’s much-mocked recipe with chorizo and – the host quipped – “raw onion”. He proudly championed the “Hispano-British tortilla”, though Iturriaga was not entirely convinced.
It is not the ambassador’s first appearance on El Comidista. Last year the humorous food show – then a popular video blog – “summoned” him for a consultation over Oliver’s intervention on the best recipe for paella.