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This Mornings Phil Vickery goes in search of Britains Best Tart

21/10/2020

This Morning's resident chef Phil Vickery will undertake a new mission this October as he travels the length and breadth of the nation to discover Britains Best Tart in a brand new four-part strand of the same name.

Throughout the new series Phil - a firm favourite on This Morning for 21 years - will also discover the history behind some of the best traditional tarts that Britain has to offer including the Bakewell tart, the Manchester tart, the Gypsy tart and finally the Yorkshire curd tart.

Each week Phil will visit the birthplace of these sweet treats and take viewers on a historic journey to the Derbyshire Dales, Manchester, Kent and Yorkshire, where he will meet those in the know who will share the secret recipes that date back hundreds of years. Once equipped with the local knowledge, an inspired Phil will return to the kitchen to create his own version of each tasty tart.

Phil Vickery - Press Pack interview

Phil, tell us about this new series and how it came about

Well, a couple of weeks ago on This Morning I did an almond tart and I hadn't done a lot of baking on the show for a while, but Phillip [Schofield] and Holly [Willoughby] loved it and said it was really lovely, and on the back of that I was asked by my bosses We'd like you to do a thing on Britains traditional tarts' to which I laughed at first and then they explained further the culinary version'. I did a bit of research and narrowed it down to the Manchester Tart, Bakewell Tart, Yorkshire Curd Tart and the Gypsy Tart - which I remember at school! And then we went off and filmed up and down the country, all within Covid guidelines.

What can This Morning viewers expect to see?

So I do a bit of research, and we go to the place where we believe they do one of the best or the best tart in the area, and it's not so much as judging it, it's going there, looking at what they do, and coming back and making my own version in the studio. I mean some of these tarts have such old recipes, I think the Bakewell Tart one for instance is from around 1870 so you have to modernise things a bit. And for the show I like to be careful with calories and things, so if I can lighten them and make them a lot less heavy then that's what I'll try and do. But also, a lot of the old' ingredients you can't get, for example, the Yorkshire Curd tart, to get fresh curds is quite difficult so my version on that tart I used cottage cheese. But also, I am kind of going on a history tour as well, I've definitely learnt things - there's a Bakewell pudding and a Bakewell Tart and I now know the history of both of them now! I'm still learning as I go on these trips for This Morning. Never too old!

You are a master of a pudding, is this what makes you the best person for this series?

When I was a young chef I trained in pastry and I had a flair for it. I remember making so much by hand back then; brioche, croissants, danish pastries everything. And I ended up working for about twelve years mainly doing pastry, and actually a lot of chefs around - I won't name names - but they can't do it. They hate pastry! It's such a finite thing an extra half an ounce of yeast can destroy bread for instance and 0.5g of salt can make a big difference, so it's very very specific and a lot of chefs don't have the patience!

Did you have in mind what your favourite tart might be before filming?

Not really but I have always liked Bakewell Tart even though I don't really like almond essence, but I make mine without that because I think the natural flavour of almonds is there, you don't need to enhance it. So Bakewell is pretty high up on my list, if I'm being honest.

Do you think the humble tart is underrated or being slightly forgotten about in the UK?

It is perhaps underrated, but because a lot of them are now so old, I guess people don't see them as fashionable anymore. For instance, in Bakewell they make a small Bakewell tart probably about 5cm across and 2cm deep and because it only had butter, sugar, egg and almonds in it, it was around 2,000 calories! So some are hugely calorific and so for a lot of people they find them too heavy. I tried one and I struggled to sleep that night!

What kind of tart is your personal favourite to cook and why?

Well, my personal favourite of all time is an egg custard tart. My mum used to do it for me when I was little and it was a staple in my restaurant too I used to have a guy that came to my restaurant every Monday for lunch and he once said to me, Mr Vickery, if you ever take that egg custard tart off the menu, I'm never coming here again!' and it was always on the menu, so for me, that's my favourite go to. Although my mum still tells me hers is better!

You are celebrating 21 years on This Morning, how does that make you feel?

Yes, I am! Do you think I'll get a gold watch?... I'm not sure how it makes me feel because when Denise [Robertson] was alive, she, together with Dr Chris Steele are the longest serving contributors on the show, then I think its me and Alison and actually that's rather nice that I've done it for that amount of time and that they still want me! I'm getting on a bit now so I'm very lucky and I'm very appreciative of it. I think I've travelled to 37 countries in total so far for the show how amazing is that? I've got to do so many amazing things during that time.

What have been your most memorable moments?

There are hundreds! Just things like closing the Sydney Harbour Bridge early so we could film on top of it was incredible. Then in a catamaran moored outside the Sydney Opera House where I cooked burgers that was quite special. We also went flying in a seaplane and landed on the Great Barrier Reef. Another time I went flying aroun
LINK: https://www.itv.com/presscentre/press-releases/mornings-phil-vickery-g...
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