'My friends will kill me for not picking Nigella' - Irishman Barry wows judges on The Taste
When given the choice, most men would choose to spend the next month of their lives with Nigella Lawson, but not Irish cook Barry Johnston.
After wowing the judges with his scrumptious dish on last night's premiere episode of The Taste on Channel 4, the 27-year-old charity worker from Ballinasloe emerged as one of the early contenders to take home the win.
All three judges, including domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, American writer and food guru Anthony Bourdain and legendary French chef Ludo Lefebvre, were wowed by Barry's dish - cured and grilled macakrel with pickled beetroot, wasabi mayonnaise and samphire tempura.
Last night marked Nigella Lawson's official return to our screens as she fronts The Taste over the coming weeks.
And with his pick of the judges, Barry joked his friend 'would kill him for not picking Nigella', but explained he came on the show to work with Mr Bourdain and eventually chose him.
"I wanted to do it to test my method and see how good I was," Barry told Miriam O'Callaghan on RTE Radio One.
"The first impressions seem to be good, it was very intimidating cooking on the show. You're used to your own kitchen and knowing where everything is - but on the show, there are cameras in your face, lights everywhere.
"Anthony is a hero of mine, and he was the most intimidating to cook for. I was totally outside my comfort zone."
As for NIgella, Barry explained that she was a pleasure to work with, but tougher than she gets credit for.
"Nigella is amazing, everyone saw exactly what they expected to see - -a woman who loves food and is great on television," he said.
"She's quite competitive, Anthony described her as an iron fist in velvet gloves."
And there was no doubt who the star of the show was - and her name is Nigella.
The embattled tv chef came out trumps on the British version of the American show and has earned rave reviews from tv critics.
It's even being claimed that Angelina Jolie is the frontrunner to play Lawson in a Hollywood biopic next year.
Rumours of domestic abuse and drug taking surfaced at the same time and shocked and fascinated people around the world.
“Angie had planned to take a lot of time off next year but this role is very tempting. She has been gripped like everyone else by all the drama surrounding Nigella these past few months and thinks she is a remarkable woman," a source told The Sun.
“The story has got it all — and she’s as intrigued as anyone else by it.”