RESTAURANT supervisor Oli Mannion is looking to become Britain’s Best Home Cook in a competition being judged by Mary Berry, Angela Hartnett and Chris Bavin.

Oli, 34, works at Gusto in Knutsford, and is one of eight passionate home cooks who are competing for the crown in a contest being screened on BBC One over eight weeks.

Each week the home cooks, who have been whittled down from 10 following the first two episodes, have two chances to cook their hearts out and avoid the Eliminator.

They compete in two challenges: a chance to shine in Mary’s Ultimate round and are put to task in Chris’ Rustle-Up round, before those who failed to wow the judges face Angela’s Eliminator round, which decides who leaves the competition.

Oli has worked at Gusto for seven years, and was persuaded to apply for the Best Home Cook competition, which is screened at 8pm on Thursday, by his wife.

Knutsford Guardian:

The contestants and judges. Image courtesy of BBC

“My wife managed to convince me to apply, and without her I would never have believed I could do it,” he said.

“I had to compete an application form, then do a phone interview, and a filmed interview, which included bringing some food I had made at home.

“Finally there was a practical audition in London which involved cooking challenges and interviews.”

Oli’s biggest cooking inspiration was his father, who he describes as ‘a magician in the kitchen’.

Family is everything to Oli, who loves to make hearty, soulful, comfort food for his wife and young daughter.

He’s an instinctive cook and trusts his palette to guide him instead of using recipes.

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Episode 3 is being screened on Thursday night, January 16, with the remaining eight cooks preparing their ultimate brunches for the judges and tackling a surprisingly tricky rustle-up challenge.