The head chef of a Northamptonshire pub and restaurant believes it has become one of the first businesses anywhere in the country to offer a live webcam feed to the kitchen.
Russell Clamp, who oversees the kitchen at the Overstone Arms in Pytchley near Kettering, installed the a camera overlooking the pass and the stove in November last year.
Initially the system was to allow diners within the restaurant to view his work but Clamp, who joined the business in May last year after it was taken over by new owners, has expanded the service to make it available to view anywhere in the world via internet telephony service Skype.
The camera is live from 10am to around 3pm and then again from 6pm to about 10.30pm every day when Clamp is in the kitchen.
"It started out because we do quite elaborate plate decorations and a lot of customers were asking us how we do it," Clamp explained. "I thought I have got nothing to hide so I have got put the camera in the kitchen. It can be quite scary at first because of the way it is set up, we don't get any warning that someone is going to be looking at you."
Since the camera's introduction, not only have customers been able to watch their food being prepared while sitting at their tables, including one man who watched his chicken being cooked via a smartphone, it has also attracted the attention of a global audience. Clamp said people from as far away as Malaysia, Singapore, Poland, Australian and Tasmania have dropped in to watch after the Overstone Arms was mentioned on a blog of unusual webcams.
He has also played virtual host to a class of 30 catering students from the nearby Manor School in Raunds.
"If someone comes on and says hello, I can respond," Clamp said. "Although if it is a busy Saturday night at 8:30pm I will probably just wave and ignore you, but if it is a Tuesday lunchtime I will just stop and chat. I get lots of people coming on with lots of random questions like ‘Can I freeze whipped double cream?' and ‘What is the best way to stop potatoes turning brown?'."
Clamp, who is a development chef but agreed to work with the pub's new owners for a year to get the new food offering off the ground, hopes to take the idea elsewhere with him when he eventually leaves.
To watch Clamp and his team in action, Skype: "theoverstonekitchen".
By Neil Gerrard
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