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- 6 million1 people involved in cooking mishaps as they emulate tricky techniques used by celebrity chefs -

More than one in ten (14 per cent) people in the UK have had a cooking accident or caused damage to their kitchen as a result of copying professional cooking techniques of top TV chefs, from shows such as Saturday Kitchen and Great British Menu.

Research commissioned by esure home insurance2 shows that despite 73 per cent of people naming themselves ‘amateur’, ‘novice’ or even ‘useless’ chefs, a worrying three quarters (75 per cent) would still attempt a complex culinary technique, not only risking injury to themselves and others but also racking up more than £5 billion worth of damage to UK homes3.

The techniques found to cause the most accidental damage in the kitchen were:

• Fast chopping (77 per cent) - Damage included scratching kitchen work surfaces
• Deep frying (48 per cent) – Damage included personal injury (especially burns to skin)
• Steaming (37 per cent) – Damage included water marks on walls and ceilings
• Tenderising meat (31 per cent) – Damage included chips and cracks to kitchen work surfaces
• Skewering (27 per cent) – Damage included personal injury (especially scrapes to fingers and hands)

Crème brûlées and roasted peppers should top the list of most dangerous dishes as over a third (37 per cent) of amateur chefs would consider using a DIY large-scale version of a blow torch to replicate these dishes after watching celebrity chefs on TV, as opposed to a smaller culinary tool. More than a quarter (28 per cent) of those consequently caused damage to their kitchens, utensils or themselves in the process. Perhaps more worryingly, 70 per cent of people admitted they didn’t keep a fire extinguisher or fire blanket in their kitchen.

According to the survey, just one in five (20 per cent) of households have a TV in their kitchen and despite modern technology, which allows us to ‘stop’, ‘pause’ and ‘rewind’ programmes, 62 per cent prefer to attempt re-creating a dish in ‘real time’ along with the chef.

Consequently, a quarter (25 per cent) of amateur cooks admit to leaving their kitchens unattended whilst they run into the lounge to catch the next step on television and a worrying 86 per cent admit they have carelessly left something cooking on the hob whilst doing so. One in ten home cooks have even been injured when running from kitchen to lounge in order to copy recipes from the TV – in fact, 34 per cent of those admitted to having slipped on peelings and spilt liquids in the process.

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.”

Top tips for cooking safely:

• Preparation is key – read recipes all the way through from start to finish before you even pick up a pan or utensil
• Make sure you have got a clear work surface before starting to prepare ingredients or cook
• Avoid distractions whilst cooking, such as talking on the phone, and keep demanding children entertained
• Ensure kitchen floors are cleared of all clutter before you begin, so there are no hazards to trip over
• If you spill something on the floor, make sure you clean it up immediately
• Keep flammable kitchen cloths away from hobs and live pans
• Always have fire extinguishers available and make sure you know how to use them
• If a fire does develop in a pot or pan, turn off the heat, cover it with a fire blanket, and leave it to cool
• Turn saucepan handles away from the edge of the work surface so you don’t knock them
• Keep a first aid kit at hand with a supply of plasters in case of any nicks or cuts

Mike Pickard, Head of Home Insurance for esure, 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.”

Professional kitchen safety tips are available at within the Helpful Resources section.

Gender Divide

Men are almost as likely (83 per cent) as women (87 per cent) to attempt a complex culinary technique, despite having no cooking experience.

Women felt more pressure to create gourmet dishes as a result of the rise in celebrity chefs (66 per cent) compared to 59 per cent of men.

However, women also rate themselves better in the kitchen, with nearly a third (32 per cent) claiming to be a ‘confident’ chef, compared to only a quarter of men (25 per cent).

Regional Differences

Those from Wales are the most risky in the kitchen, with almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Welsh people admitting they have caused damage to their house while cooking.

Londoners are playing with fire in the kitchen, with over a fifth (21 per cent) admitting to an accident after cooking with large flames – such as flambeeing.

People from East Anglia were the most confident chefs (38 per cent) compared to those from the North West, where 23 per cent claim that they’re either a ‘novice’ or ‘useless’ in the kitchen!


About esure home insurance:

esure provides both buildings and contents cover – with a contents no claims discount.

• Unlimited buildings sum insured

• Contents in the garden and outbuilding – up to £2000 each

• High-risk items

• New for old cover – no depreciation and reductions for wear and tear are applied for items stolen or destroyed in the home.

• Pest cover – esure provides additional cover for the removal of grey squirrels, wasps, hornets’ nests, rats, and mice infestations at just £1.67 per month

• Home emergency cover - covers up to £500 for call out charges and up to 2 hours labour costs, plus parts and materials up to a maximum of £100 for just £3.33 per month.

• Family legal protection - for £20.99 policyholders will be provided with up to £50,000 of cover for legal assistance to help them recover any uninsured losses.

esure’s press contacts:

Niki Bolton, Corporate Communications Manager: 01737 235070
Adrian Webb, Head of Corporate Communications: 01737 641000
Emma Lloyd, Communications Co-ordinator: 01737 641309
Asia Manzoor, Public Relations Officer: 01737 641305

An ISDN line is available for radio interviews.

Notes to Editors:

1 14 per cent of total population over 16 years of age (49,049,000 – Office for National Statistics, Mid-Year Population estimates, 2006) – 6,866,860

2 Fly Research surveyed 1,300 of the UK’s homeowners, from across the country, aged 18 and over on 13 April 2008

3 An average of £247 spent on kitchen damages per person (Total number of households in England and Wales is 21,660,475 – Office for National Statistics, Key Statistics KS18 Tenure, 2001 Census)

About esure:

esure was launched in 2001 and is a joint venture between Peter Wood and HBOS. The company offers car, home, pet and travel insurance over the internet and by phone. esure also offers car insurance cover through Halifax Car Insurance, Sainsbury’s Car Insurance and, most recently, the Sheilas’ Wheels brands.

About Tony Tobin:

Tony Tobin has been a regular on the BBC’s Ready Steady Cook programme for 14 years. He is also the Executive Chef at Tony Tobin @ The Dining Room in Reigate and Tony Tobin @ POST in Banstead, Surrey. He has always been a professional chef and worked as Head Chef for Nico Ladenis in London before starting his own restaurants.


esure has secured one of the UK’s most iconic sponsorships: the ITV National weather.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Mischief PR in the following categories: Men's Interest, Leisure & Hobbies, Home & Garden, Women's Interest & Beauty, Food & Drink, for more information visit