Five minutes with John Whaite:Great British Bake Off winner and popular cookbook author

Star baker John Whaite won the third series of The Great British Bake Off and has published three cookbooks, the most recent being Perfect Plates In 5 Ingredients

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After rejecting a place at Oxford University, John studied law at Manchester University and signed up to be in The Great British Bake Off during his final year. After winning the series in 2012, he studied at the famous Le Corden Bleu culinary school. Since then, he has released three cookery books and turned his hand to TV presenting. 

What would you make for yourself for a simple evening meal?
I have so many favourites. I’m currently making a lot from my latest book, Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients, not just because the recipes are so simple, but also because when writing it I didn’t get to enjoy the food completely - I had to be very analytical about the dishes. Now I’m really enjoying them. My favourites are mushroom and sage gnocchi (I pan fry the gnocchi so they become crisp and golden) and my lime and thyme carrots with salmon fillets - really great, really refreshing. 

What is your favourite kitchen utensil or gadget?
I couldn’t live without my KitchenAid or my Magimix. They’re timesavers when it comes to getting the job done. 

What's your favourite recipe to make?
That’s like asking a mother to pick her favourite child. We all know she has one deep down inside, but it’s a secret that dies with her.

The one item or ingredient that you’re currently obsessed with?
I’m back on chorizo again at the minute. I have lots of little personal fads, but right now I’m loving the paprika spiciness of chorizo. Oh, and I don’t think my love affair with peanut butter and caramelised popcorn will ever end. 

Your favourite London restaurant?
I’m obsessed with the Blue Nile in Woolwich. It’s an Eritrean restaurant, serving the best injera around. A lovely lady called Sheewa runs it with her family, and it’s an absolute bargain! 

How do you approach your own diet?
I try not to get too hung up about it. The current obsession with ‘clean’ and ‘lean’ really bothers me. I tried one of those programmes recently and I didn’t feel glowing or radiant; I felt gloomy and irradiated with misery. I’ve come to realise that diet is something we should think little about - we shouldn’t gorge or stuff ourselves every waking hour, and of course we should be mindful of portion sizes, but we shouldn’t beat ourselves up if we have a bad day. 

  • Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite supports the Stork Sunday Bake service which helps bakers with tips and recipes on Sundays. Follow Stork on Facebook or @bakewithstork on Twitter and Instagram for recipes and tips from John and Stork.

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