Robertson Family

A family from Derby have made the most of lockdown by fine-tuning their culinary skills and raising much-needed cash for an East Midlands hospice.

The Robertsons, from Ockbrook, have created their own version of popular TV show ‘Come Dine With Me’ – where each member of the family is rated on their ability to cook a three-course meal – and recorded their hilarious antics. The videos have been shared on social media and have had hundreds of views.

Inspired by The Real Housewives of Cheshire’s Dawn Ward, who has shared her cooking skills with her 453k Instagram followers, the Robertsons – mum Annie Tierney (44), dad Liam Robertson and siblings Chloe (22) and Joseph Robertson (19) – have asked friends and family to bet on who they think will be crowned top chef. All the money raised will go to Treetops Hospice Care, in Risley; the leading end-of-life care charity which covers Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

We’re a close and loving family

Annie Tierney, who is Head of Operations for Kindred Education, said:

“My work means that I’m often away from home, where we have lived for the last 20 years. We’re a close and loving family and we are coping with lockdown but there are times when you just want to escape and get out of the house.

“This is the first time ever that we’ve spent so much time together as a family and, thankfully, we’re all still talking and getting on with each other!

“My daughter, Chloe, enjoyed watching Dawn Ward create her own version of Come Dine With Me on Instagram and thought that it would be a good idea for us to break up the monotony of lockdown.

“She thought that it would give us something to focus on during lockdown and then the idea just grew. We then decided to give friends and family the option to bet on who would win and, before we had even finalised our plans, Joe had set up a JustGiving page with all donations going to Treetops.”

Joe never cooks, can’t cook, won’t cook

Nineteen-year-old Joe, a successful make-up artist who, according to Dad Liam ‘can’t even boil water’ kicked the series off by serving up a Mezze board followed by Pollo Pesto Pasta and a Lemon Posset with Shortbread for dessert for the family’s first night in and received a lukewarm response from the rest of the family.

“Joe never cooks, can’t cook, won’t cook and so the cooking element wasn’t great,” said Annie, who is favourite to win, “but he did make a great dessert which we all enjoyed.

“We usually share the cooking as a family – apart from Joe – and so this is a real treat. We all get dressed up for the occasion, too.”

Treetops is a charity close to the hearts of the Robertson family. Annie’s mum, Josephine Morris – affectionately known as Josie – was cared for by the hospice before her death in October 2018.

Treetops was invaluable when she was coming towards the end of her life

Josie Morris with grandchildren Chloe and Joseph

Josie Morris with grandchildren Chloe and Joseph

Josie was diagnosed with Stage 4 gall bladder cancer just four months before her death and the family said that the diagnosis was “a bolt out of the blue.”

“Mum was just 69 when she died,” recalls Annie, “she had spent all her life living in Derby, with the last few years in Spondon.

“She was the life and soul of the party; a rough diamond who worked hard, never stopped talking and loved her garden, bingo and her caravan. Mum was a fabulous cook and enjoyed baking. She’d often send meals and cakes to the extended family on a regular basis.

“Mum was very kind, generous but also honest. Treetops was invaluable when she was coming towards the end of her life. They provided night care to assist and support me whilst I slept at her house, enabling me to take a much-needed break to go home and sleep in my own bed.

Literally angels that, at a difficult time, I could not have done without

“Treetops also helped when she died by calling the doctor, the undertaker and cleaning and dressing her. They also ensured that our family were able to deal with grief following her death. The staff at Treetops were literally angels that, at a difficult time, I could not have done without.

“I remember a day or so after her death, getting a call from Treetops, who provided some anecdotes about the times the team had been with Mum. The call made me laugh and cry, and was a great comfort.”

The Robertson family have raised almost £600 of their £650 target. Donations can be made on the family’s JustGiving page here and each episode of their Come Dine with Me experience can be found on Joseph’s Facebook page here.

Treetops provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart and respiratory conditions. Last year, Hospice at Home nurses provided over 28,000 hours of care across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.