Birmingham chef Trish Plunkett wasn’t fazed when a power failure cut the gas and plunged her restaurant into darkness – the bright spark cooked over candle-light instead.

A problem at a local sub-station meant all the lights and cookers failed just before the evening service at Liaison in Stratford Road, Hall Green.

The chef was forced to cancel most of the bookings for a dinner celebrating French provincial cooking. But rather than disappoint four loyal customers the resourceful Irishwoman rigged up a makeshift stove – using 50 emergency night lights. “It was like cooking in the Blitz,” she said.

But she battled on to produce a mouth-watering three-course dinner. Even the bread and the plates were heated – after being wrapped in foil and blasted with a blow torch.

“We had to turn people away but the party of four are a lovely group and had come from Sutton Coldfield.

“They said, ‘We trust you. We’ll be happy to eat whatever you give us.’”

Jo and Steve Farrow, who are in their 70s, and their friends Margaret and Baron Ecclestone leapt at the unusual culinary offer, even if they had to keep their coats on.