First the Ashes, now the world record for barbecuing!
Despite limited Aussie sunshine, Balcombe is hoping to have smashed the Australian held world record for the longest continuous barbecue.
Burgers, sausages, chicken legs, bacon, ribs and scallops all browned alongside sweet corn, potatoes and bananas for a sizzling 27-and-a-half-hours at Balcombe Club.
Club chairman Bill Anthony and Ockenden Manor head chef Steve Crane cooked from 3.30pm on Saturday until gone 7pm on Sunday beating the Aussie’s Guinness World Record by an hour.
Villagers supported them despite 18 hours of almost continuous rain, turning up for dinner, breakfast, lunch, dinner again and snacks in between, all of which was recorded on CCTV cameras.
Now all organisers at Balcombe Club have to wait for is official adjudication by the Guinness Book of World Records with, in between time, thanks going out to all who helped stage the event.
Committee member Richard Cooper praised the cooks and the village for their resilience especially during the toughest times when rain, cold and darkness tested their courage to the limit.
He said: “The support of everyone was fantastic especially through the horrendous three o’clock, four o’clock, five o’clock period when the whole team felt so depressed. At four o’clock it was chucking it down and it was really cold and I personally felt the lowest I have probably ever felt, and it was then that I really did begin to question my sanity!”
The Guinness World Record rules meant Michelin Star chef Steve Crane and his barbecuing team-mate Bill Anthony were only allowed a 20 minute break each every four hours, with Steve only taking about 25 minutes all told.
They had to have two different items on each of their two barbecues all the time, and five different items cooking at once. All the profits will go to Help For Heroes.
Both Steve and Bill praised each other when they retired gracefully just after 7pm on Sunday.
Bill said: “It was really hard going at times, especially 2am and 3am when I was really tired and it was cold and it was wet. But, hopefully, together all of us have made a new world record and if we have I think it will be lovely for the community here in Balcombe and will be a celebration of the closeness of the village.
“The person I would really like to thank is Steve Crane who didn’t have to put himself through this but he did.”
Steve Crane was born in Balcombe and went to Balcombe Primary School but now lives in Crawley and is head chef at Ockenden Manor in Cuckfield. He still runs the Balcombe Club football team and supports the club in many way including staging fund-raising dining evenings when he cooks for members.
He said: “This is my job and I found it relatively easy but Bill was out of his comfort zone and second guessing everything he was cooking, and so for him it has been an incredible achievement.”
Steve added that besides the world record, he had agreed to take part in order to raise money for armed services personnel and their families after the Greenwich killing and other tragedies. “I was never going to stop because it was about making the money for Help For Heroes as well as the world record,” he said.
Richard added: “The timing couldn’t have been better for the community to come together in view of everything else that’s been happening lately. It has been horrible, really horrible, and we have now shown that we’re bigger than that.”