The owner of a Jersey restaurant has wowed the judges in three back-to-back episodes of the Great British Menu, securing a place in the finals.
Express spoke to Number 10's Joe Baker about this year’s series, which is themed around Britain’s favourite children’s books…
Overall, it was a great experience. What the viewer doesn't see is that it's a tiring, long process which makes the pressure mount. But you will always go through ups and downs so the main thing is to just keep focused on what you're doing and not let your head run away with you.
Pictured: Joe (far left) competed against three other chefs in the South West category.
I've seen many a good chef crack in that kitchen! Generally though the atmosphere was friendly and fun, nobody was there trying to sabotage anything!
As I said in the show last year it hurt not to make the finals. It actually meant I felt more pressure going in this year as I was determined not to repeat it. So when the judges said my name it was just a huge wave of relief.
For me using local produce is common sense. These are suppliers that we use day-to-day so I wanted to show them off. I am genuinely proud of this little island and we have some incredible produce but we don't have the same veneration of amazing produce as some countries do, so I want to encourage that.
Pictured: Joe's Jersey oyster amuse bouche.
It seems particularly apt right now that we should promote what is available locally rather than worry about what's not available internationally.
The concept of this dish came quickly. The woodland is such an evocative canvas in writing and in cooking!
Pictured: The Enchanted Wood starter with egg yolk and mushrooms.
I always like plates of food that are aesthetically simple but layered and intelligent underneath. But this dish also took the longest to get right, there were lots of layers that I had to figure out how to balance.
Storytelling is surprisingly hard with a plate of food. I wanted the actual food and technique itself to tell the story and capture the imagination, but things like the hats were just a bit of fun.
Pictured: The group wore Paddington bear's signature yellow hat for tasting Joe's dessert, A Wise Bear's Emergency Sandwich.
I always lean to a slightly understated style but my family and I were joking that my prop game probably could have been a bit stronger!
The final is a really different dynamic. You have the chance to really tweak or change your dishes, but that's also risky as you're going in blind then. The standard is really high and there were some fantastic chefs. You get ranked in order from first to last for each dish, so the pressure is still on! Of course, you will have to wait and see how I get on!
The Great British Menu final, in which Joe cooks his entire menu again, will be aired in May.
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