Fancy yourself as a top chef? Sign up to The Big City Cook

WE'VE all been there - Sat in front of the television watching "Masterchef" frustrated, as yet another builder/housewife/Z-list celebrity turns out a deflated soufflé. Suddenly the thought pops in to our heads: "I could do better than that."

Well soon, the suffering could be over. September sees the launch of The Big City Cook, a new joint fundraising initiative that will offer Londoners the chance to cook in some of the capital's best restaurants in a bid for the top prize. (The title: Big City Chef)

The initiative is part of a partnership between City A.M., The Lord Mayor and D&D London, owners of Floridita, Sauterelle and Coq D'Argent.

Teams of novice chefs from September 10th will compete in three cooking challenges in professional kitchens. The competition is being held in aid of the Lord Mayor's Appeal, Bear Necessities, supporting Coram, a children's charity, and RedR UK, a disaster relief organisation.

The Big City Cook is open to anyone who sets up a team. Round one begins with competitors cooking a dream dinner party.

The final, meanwhile, will be held in November and will feature teams - coached by a professional chef mentor - going head-to-head in the cook-off gala dinner at Floridita.

"It's such an exciting competition," says Allan Pickett, head chef at participating restaurant Plateau. "We want to encourage people to cook and give them confidence in their abilities. Who knows! It may inspire people to set up their own restaurant in future."

Entry prices for a team of three are £5,000. Information on signing up: www.thelordmayorsappeal.org.uk/cook