Strictly’s John Whaite in talks with West End but says food remains his number one

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Strictly’s John Whaite in talks with West End but says food remains his number one
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  • John Whaite
    British baker

Strictly Come Dancing’s John Whaite confirmed he is in talks with the West End but says cooking will always be a pivotal part of his identity.

The celebrity chef could chassé off the Strictly stage and into London’s musical arena to take on another dancing challenge or even a singing role.

“I am a Jack of all trades... I do not want to restrict myself,” he told the Evening Standard.

However, the star firmly assured a move towards the performing arts would not affect his food career which he passionately described as “an inextricable part of who I am.”


“Food is a very important thing for me and long may I continue to write about it. It is a huge part of my identity,” he added.

John’s willingness to try his hand at anything stems from his parents who he described as “remarkably inspiring.”

His mum opened a fish and chip shop, where John worked from aged 12, and a successful dry cleaning business with no previous experience, giving way to his positive work ethic.

“That is something I live by... We can all do anything we put our hearts to,” John continued.

“I have seen my parents doing anything from one thing to the next. They worked every hour God sends.

“They would be up milking the cows at 5.30am on our farm. It has given me a great work ethic. I applaud them for that.”

To celebrate the importance of small businesses, John is launching his latest food creation in partnership with American Express Small Shop.

His festive sandwich recipe is packed with turkey, stuffing and sage butter polished off with parsnip crisps.

“It is a really beautiful sandwich. It’s like a grilled cheese sandwich with brie in there,” he said.

Festive sandwiches are among the celeb’s top Christmassy foods, his favourite being made with gravy soaked bread inspired by the the TV sitcom Friends.

Referring to his and fiancé Paul Atkins’ tradition, he said: “Every year we xx down in the middle of the night to have our Christmas sandwich.”

But John might have to forgo his foodie tradition this Christmas as he takes to the Scottish wilderness followed by New Year with friends in West Yorkshire.

“We could always bring up a pot of Bisto but we are going to be sampling lots of local dishes - local cheese shops for example.”

With three weeks left until the Strictly final, John said he is “taking every day as it comes” and is equipped with fresh confidence following his Argentine tango which scored three 10s on Saturday.

“I do not panic about the final. The only thing you can control in this glittering madness is our enjoyment,” he said.

“The Argentine tango is a dance I really wanted to do. It is so passionate and intense.

“It gave me a new found confidence that had been starting to wane but this has brought it back. It is a dance that you have to go all out for.”

When his Strictly journey comes to an end, the British Bake Off champion said he is looking forward to some downtime in Scotland before potentially appearing in the Strictly Live Tour.

“I am going to turn my phone off for a week and get lost in the Scottish wilderness,” John said.

“It is really important when you have been through such a great high as Strictly to plonk your feet firmly on the ground - with stars above your head wandering around the gorgeous lochs.

“When I am not in glitz and glam, I am a very quiet person. It is important to be a performer but it is also important to breath.”

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