City's Come Dine With Me contestants have the recipe for entertainment

POOR Andy Daykin had hoped his haggis would be the star of last night's Come Dine with Me - or at least his cranachan, albeit a little soggy.

• The diners meet up in the Hard Rock Cafe (from l to r), Liz Grant, Irena Magdalewicz, Andy Daykin, Toni Giugliano and Michelle Lindsay

But when "Luscious Liz", a 41-year-old self-confessed young-man-eater from the Cowgate, decided he was far more tasty than the served up dish of the day, the 28-year-old realised her outrageous flirting could make for a very long week in TV land.

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Combine that with the non-stop political chat of Scottish parliamentary researcher Toni Giugliano, the rebellious antics of rock chick Michelle Lindsay and the high expectations of Polish catering supervisor Irena Magdalewicz and brace yourself for an eventful week as the Channel 4 series graces our screens for the next four evenings.

It is definitely a recipe for entertainment, if not necessarily a lesson in culinary excellence.

Filmed in Edinburgh in October, the hugely successful reality television show follows five local budding chefs as they take turns to throw a dinner party for the rest of the group, each scoring one another's efforts in a bid to win the 1000 first-place prize.

Last night was the turn of Bruntsfield-based Andy, a structural engineer who opted for a traditional Scottish meal in an attempt to wow his guests - if not entirely successfully.

With conversation failing and his desert criticised, he was more than glad to hang up his apron and call it a night.

"It was exhausting," he laughs. "The film crew had been at my house since 8am and didn't leave until after three in the morning!

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"They filmed me going round all the shops I needed in Bruntsfield, then preparing the food and then us eating the actual meal, as well as all the after-dinner pieces we had to do to camera. "I had no idea, owing to the amount of filming they do, that the whole thing takes so long."

Without a camera in sight, Andy and his fellow contestants met up for a meal at the weekend for the first time since they opened their homes to each other, and a scathing film crew eager to turn them against one another in true Come Dine with Me style.

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"The entire experience was amazing," says 35-year-old Irena Magdalewicz, who works for Edinburgh University and lives on Easter Road.

"We've kept in touch since filming and I hope it will be like that once the show's actually been on this week.

"We've all been feeling a little guilty, admitting to each other, 'I said something bad about your food...'."

Tonight Irena will find out just what her dinner guests really thought of her Polish-inspired meal as she takes to our screens for round two of the show.

Viewers should expect to see her put into practice the high standards she spoke about in last night's episode, as well as an end to Toni's political discussions, which she bans in favour of a night of light-hearted entertainment.

But will her guests approve of her choice of cabbage for starter - and for the main - as well as a spot of traditional dancing from her homeland?

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Tomorrow, taking centre stage is spiritualist Liz Grant, a single mother-of-one, portrayed in the programme as a modern-day "cougar" who is out to get lucky with young Andy, seducing him at every opportunity.

"This all came about because in one of my interviews for the show I said I had once had a younger man," laughs Liz. "The crew picked up on that. Andy certainly wasn't scared of me though - he loved it!

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"The programme is all about acting and I asked him if he was OK with the whole thing, and he was. I was surprised the filming was so much like this, but once you know the rules you do have a choice as to whether you play up to what is wanted of you or not.

"The way I looked at it was that people want to be entertained by Come Dine with Me, they come home from work, may be feeling a little miserable, and that is what they want. If I am the fat cougar then so be it."

Now it just remains to be seen what scores her guests give her meal, especially when Irena mistakes her pre-dinner cocktail for toothpaste...

Securing a place on Come Dine with Me was more than a dream come true for 26-year-old Michelle Lindsay, who also lives on Easter Road.

A PA by day, and a singer in the local rock band Tannhausser by night, the Channel 4 programme has been her favourite for years.

"I had a bit of stumbling block just before filming though, when my landlady said she wasn't keen on it taking place in my flat," Michelle explains. "Thankfully, my mum stepped in and saved the day and I hosted the night round her place."

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Something of a rebel, Michelle will take centre stage on Thursday when it is her turn to play host, opting for a night of substantial dishes, and nothing too bizarre.

Of course, we will just have to wait to see how her guests respond to her menu choice, but don't be surprised if "food snob" Toni has something negative to say about her gravy.

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"The whole experience was incredible," says Michelle, who actually gets on very well with Toni. "We were lucky to have such a great group - the whole week was fantastic."

He may indeed criticise her choice of sauce - as well as picking faults with every other menu presented to him during the week - but expect 25-year-old Toni to go to great lengths on the final night of the show to impress his guests.

"I'm depicted throughout the show as being a food snob," says Italian-born Toni, who lives in Firrhill with his partner. "But I hope I show people you can be passionate about food without being a 'snob'.

"The filming was quite a revelation to me and I certainly look at television in a different way now.

"There were a lot of leading questions given to the contestants to try to set up a character of each of us, but it was great fun to be part of."

As voiceover Dave Lamb offers his famous ruthless comments, expect a lot of laughter as Edinburgh does Come Dine with Me proud.

• Come Dine with Me, Channel 4, 5pm.