BEEKEEPER Peter Benefer was stung by criticism from fellow Come Dine With Me contestants – but was buzzing after winning the Channel 4 show and the £1,000 first prize on the show on Wednesday night.
Keen cook Mr Benefer, 41, of West Park, Leeds, exchanged words with two of the contestants on the show which was screened last night, but ended up firm friends with a third.
Mr Benefer works as a recruitment consultant in Leeds and looks after 20 beehives in his spare time with his 12-year-old daughter, Meesha.
In October 2014 Mr Benefer and Meesha hit the headlines when she discovered bees in one of the hives had made a peace sign on a honeycomb.
Mr Benefer’s Come Dine With Me starter was a crispy poached egg on creamed spiced lentils with crispy pancetta.
It was followed by a main course of creamy chicken and chorizo pie – complete with pastry bee – and cumin spiced sweet potato mash.
His dessert was a white chocolate, vanilla and honey panna cotta with a raspberry coulis. Mr Benefer’s fellow contestants were Isca Watson of Selby, Elaine Borges-Ibanez of Dewsbury and Lakhan Singh of Bradford.
Mr Benefer said: “I do love cooking, but I found the whole Come Dine with Me experience pretty stressful. I became surprisingly sensitive and felt hurt when my food was criticised.
“Lakhan was criticising my food and I said, ‘Your food is terrible, I have had better food from a takeaway that’s closed down.’ He didn’t like it and I think I silenced him.”
Lakhan Singh came second with his starter of fish pakora followed by a main course of chicken saag curry then a mango dessert. Mr Benefer said: “I thought Lakhan was going to win, he was very confident. He said he had watched every episode of MasterChef. When we went to his house he said, ‘Thank you for coming to the winner’s house.’”
Mr Benefer said he also clashed with vegetarian Elaine.
He said: “I made her a vegetarian chicken and chorizo pie with vegetarian chicken and chorizo and she said it tasted too meaty.
“I told her she was too critical and gave all vegetarians a bad name.”
As well as keeping bees, Mr Benefer also helps rehabilitate injured hedgehogs in his spare time at Herby Hedgehog Emergency Rescue in Bingley and decided to donate his £1,000 winnings to the charity.
He said: “Although it was a stressful experience I’m glad I took part because I managed to win some money for hedgehog rescue and I made a new friend in Isca.”