THEY say if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen — but it’s a piece of cake for The Taste contestant Debbie Halls-Evans.

The mum-of-three, who runs Delicieux Cafe, at the Doffcocker roundabout, off Chorley Old Road, was one of 12 contestants to make it through the first round of the cookery show with her spoonful of crispy chicken and truffle ballotine with mushroom sauce.

The show, starring celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, launched on Monday night with nearly two million viewers watching 25 contestants battle it out to get a coveted place on one of the three judges’ teams by making a spoonful of their best dish.

Each week viewers can look forward to Great British Bake Off-style cookery challenges and blind-taste elimin-ations as contestants attempt to please the judges with just a mouthful of food.

The show will see Nigella compete against American chef Anthony Bourdain and French chef Ludo Lefebvre to find the programme’s first British winner.

Mrs Halls-Evans, from Horwich, impressed Ludo and she secured a place on his team.

The 43-year-old, who also has two stepchildren with husband Dave, said: “I’m so glad I made it onto Ludo’s team. He’s bonkers but so inventive.

"He’s a genius but shouts all the time. He’s a bit like a child throwing a tantrum and when he shouts it’s like being at home trying to berate one of the kids.

"You’ll see Ludo and Anthony Bourdain constantly wind each other up as the show goes on, whereas Nigella is more like a school ma’am there to discipline them. Their banter is hilarious.

“She is incredibly beautiful. You think of her as a buxom woman but in reality she’s tiny. At one point in the show she stands next to me and I’m like a rabbit in the headlights.

"She’s just so articulate with the way she describes food and her palate is perfect. She was really open, warm and supportive throughout the show.”

The next episode sees the contestants battling it out to avoid elimination by making a dish for guest chef Richard Corrigan.

Mrs Halls-Evans said: “The format changes dramatically. We all have to cook a classic prawn cocktail with our mentor and then the guest chef, Richard, decides who is safe.

"Then in the second half we all have to make a classic dish to present to the mentors and at the end of the show one contestant is booted out.”

The next episode is on Channel 4 on Monday at 9pm.