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Gordon Ramsay wannabes cause £5 billion kitchen chaos

25 April 2008 / by Joy Tibbs
Culinary chaos is causing damage worth billions of pounds in kitchens across the UK, leaving people without home insurance wide open to financial loss as well as physical damage.

Research commissioned by esure home insurance shows that by trying to recreate cooking techniques demonstrated by high-profile celebrity chefs – such as Gordon Ramsay, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver – many amateur chefs are causing costly damage in their own homes.

The study reveals that six million people – 14 per cent – have had a cooking accident or caused damage to their kitchen while trying out new tricky techniques.

Although 73 per cent respondents described themselves as 'amateur', 'novice' or 'useless', 75 per cent would still attempt to pull off a complex cooking trick. Approximately £5 billion of household damage has been done as a result of trying out complicated cooking techniques.

The most damage-inducing cooking tricks included: fast chopping, causing scratched kitchen surfaces; deep frying, involving personal injury damage; steaming, causing watermark damage on walls and ceilings; tenderising meat, leading to chips and cracks in kitchen surfaces; and skewering, causing personal injury.

The study shows that the most dangerous dishes on the list were crème brûlées and roasted peppers – for which many people use a DIY-style blow torch in place of the special culinary versions used on television cooking programmes.

More than a quarter of these caused damage to themselves, their kitchen, or culinary utensils. And 70 per cent do not keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Celebrity chef Tony Tobin from the BBC's Ready Steady Cook, said: "It's great to see that kitchens across the country are becoming hubs of creative cookery - fuelling a passion for food and the growth of the dinner party.

"However, all celebrity chefs have had years of training and people at home must remember this when attempting to recreate any dishes they see on TV.

"Make sure you're familiar with the basics before trying out any complicated culinary techniques and prepare your kitchen before starting. A cluttered kitchen is a dangerous kitchen."

According to esure, 62 per cent prefer to cook while they watch their favourite chefs whip up exotic dishes, and 25 per cent admit to leaving their kitchens unattended as they rush to the lounge to watch the next cooking stage.

A staggering 86 per cent have left food cooking away while they check the television, and 10 per cent have been injured running between the kitchen and the lounge while cooking.

Head of home insurance at esure, Mike Pickard, said: "The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in a house - but adding a budding home cook and a technical recipe can make the likelihood of having an accident soar.

"Having ample buildings and contents insurance plus accidental damage cover, to foot the bill of any kitchen mishaps, is definitely worthwhile."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd