A TV Master Chef has given students a taste of what’s to come when his charity cookbook is published later this month.  

Matei Baran’s inspiration for the project has been his six-year-old son Armin who suffers from the life-limiting illness cystic fibrosis.  The book features healthy recipes for children affected by the disease and its proceeds will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. 

Although it is not published until 26 January, the book – originally named Big Chef Little Chef – has already hit the headlines after the owner of the Little Chef brand threatened legal action over the title.  

Matei said he did not have the money or time to put up a fight – even though all the Little Chef roadside restaurants have shut and the book will support a charity – so changed the title to Big Chef Mini Chef.  

“I feel so angry about it and just can’t understand why they have behaved like this,” said Matei, who reached the quarter final of Master Chef: The Professionals in 2015 and is the executive head chef at The Salt Cove restaurant in Tynemouth.  

“But it’s made me even more determined to make this a success for Armin and the children who have helped with the book, as well as the charity and everybody who will benefit from the recipes.” 

This week he was back in the kitchen – filmed by a news team from ITV Tyne Tees – to deliver a cooking master class to students at Cramlington Learning Village. They are studying GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition and as part of the qualification will have to prepare a three course meal.   

The school’s Head of Food Julia Smith said: “High skill and professional presentation are vital for high grades in practical assessments, so Matei’s demonstration and expert advice has been invaluable.  The students are extremely enthusiastic about their course – and several of them want to work in the food industry – so it’s great for them to see such a top chef at work.” 

Matei – with the help of mini chef Armin – prepared salmon en croute with broccoli stem fresh capers and tomato salsa.  The recipe, which is ideal for people affected by cystic fibrosis, features in the book alongside many other tasty and healthy suggestions.  

“It’s all about cooking with kids for kids,” said Matei. “I want to encourage children from an early age to eat well but also begin to learn about cooking.  It’s one of the most important life skills, so the earlier you begin the better.” 

He added: “It was fantastic to meet the students at Cramlington and I hope it’s helped them.  The thrill of any chef is to see people enjoying the food you’ve made – and they seemed to like it.” 

Big Chef Mini Chef is supported by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and North East food wholesalers Bidfood and Delifresh.  

Matei, Armin and the other mini chefs will launch the book on 26 January at Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books – in Newcastle. 

Big Chef Mini Chef is available to buy through www.mateibaran.com