A BOLTON chef can almost taste victory after making it to the final of a reality cookery show.

Debbie Halls-Evans has managed to avoid the chop throughout nine weeks of fiery cookery challenges, blind-taste eliminations and simmering egos on Channel 4’s The Taste.

Tomorrow she will battle it out one last time in the all-woman final to be crowned the first British winner of the show, featuring mentors Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Anthony Bourdain.

Speaking about getting to the final, Mrs Halls-Evans, who lives in Blackrod, said: “I think reality kicked in that it was a competition and there was a real opportunity to actually win.

“It suddenly became very real and scary. It seemed such good fun prior to that.

“In the final, we were told we had to make a starter, main and dessert. That’s when the nerves kicked in.”

The first challenge the four cooks faced was to make a canapé that perfectly complements a glass of Champagne to impress guest chef Pierre Koffmann — mentor of Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay.

The 43-year-old, who used to run Delicieux Cafe, at the Doffcocker roundabout, off Chorley Old Road, said: “He is seen as kind of the father of cooking.

“He has trained a lot of the mainstream chefs you see so, for us in the cooking world, he is a bit of a demigod.”

Mrs Halls-Evans has had a roller-coaster ride on the show, finding herself in the bottom three on a number of occasions, but thinks her creativity and resilience helped her survive.

She said: “I would like to believe that because I’ve been creative. I haven’t stuck with one genre of cooking.

“I’m an avid learner. I’m like a sponge and I did listen to what Ludo was teaching us and then applied it in completely different ways.

“I didn’t lose it with Ludo at any point. I kept bouncing back and I suppose that was seen as resilience. In a commercial kitchen, you have to have that ability to keep bouncing back.”

Mrs Halls-Evans has recently landed a spot on Bolton FM as the radio station’s food ambassador, promoting all things foodie in the town and will be supporting a range of events and food ventures.

She said: “One of the key reasons I went on The Taste was for self-belief and that I could do this and get some professional endorsement.

“To get even near the final, I’ve been encouraged I have the ability and I can take this as far as I want to go.”

  • The Taste is on Channel 4 at 9pm.