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Who will triumph in the Calzone Challenge at the Isle of Man Food & Drink Festival?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Calzone Challenge 2014

Well known residents Stuart Baggs and Dot Tilbury will be challenged to produce a perfect folded pizza or calzone at the Isle of Man Food & Drink Festival, 3pm this Saturday, 20 September at the Villa Marina.

Using special pizza flour from Laxey Glen Mills and initial guidance from The Italian Experience restaurant, Douglas, the contestants will then produce their own culinary masterpiece.

Stuart, who runs BlueWave Communications, is well-known for his appearance on series six of BBC1 show The Apprentice, when he styled himself as ‘The Brand’ and had several run-ins with Lord Sugar.

Dot is best known for her work at the Isle of Man Philatelic Bureau, which she managed for 14 years before retiring last year, and for her work as a cycling coach, for which she was awarded the MBE and inducted into the British Cycling Hall of Fame.

Both Dot and Stuart have been playing down their chances ahead of the challenge, with Stuart hinting he may have resort to underhand tactics to get an edge.

‘I’ve just filmed an episode of Come Dine with Me, which will be on later this year,’ said Stuart. ‘I didn’t give anyone food poisoning, which is better than I expected. If I’m going to beat Dot, I’ll need to cheat. My plan is to distract Dot with tales of cycling and hope she burns her pizza!

‘Eating is something I’m very good at and no matter where I’ve travelled, I always crave a bit of Manx home cooking. It’s just a shame I’m so bad at it. But I’m looking forward to trying my favourite local delicacies at the Festival.’

Dot has previous experience in such cooking challenges, having been up against Steve Colley and Conor Cummins in previous years.

She said:

‘Steve arrived with a basket of prepared perfectly diced onions, peppers, mushrooms. We were making pancakes and he sabotaged my tossing action and won. Conor was a dark horse – despite burning everything, his omelette was edible and, of course, him being a famous TT rider, I lost out again. But I think Lord Sugar described Stuart as a bit of a “gobby geezer” – so we should get along fine!’

Anyone keen to taste the results of the Calzone Challenge might like to note the contestants’ views: 

‘I’m a caveman,’ said Stuart, ‘So I like anything meaty. The more the better. A whole chicken, three kinds of pigs and as few vegetables as possible spoiling it. And thin crust – let the toppings do the talking.’

Dot is the direct opposite:

‘I love mushrooms, peppers, onions, courgettes – all sorts of veg, but with not too much cheese,’ said Dot. ‘I’m definitely a thin crust girl. I’m really looking forward to the Festival, to meeting Stuart and seeing the crowds. A spot of live cooking, with lots of good fun. But be warned, I’ve never made a pizza in my life!’

This year’s Festival is set to be the biggest and best yet, with a mouth-watering array of Manx producers lined up to ply their wares and a full programme of activities for families to enjoy. Go to  and for more information.

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