Factfile on Jay Tinker


Jay, 40, is a security director based in Southport. He’s divorced, with two children.

First food memory

I’ve been cooking since the age of ten. My father was an excellent cook and I used to follow him around the kitchen. He passed away when I was 12 and when I was in the kitchen afterwards it felt like I was still with him. That’s why I carried on cooking.

Best moment

“Jay has the most incredible magic touch with a piece of fish,” says John. “It’s an amazing thing, it’s like he just passes his hand over it and honestly, it’s wonderful. I don’t know how he does it, but he’s brilliant.”

Worst moment

When John and Gregg said my bouillabaisse wasn’t really a bouillabaisse.

How about nerves?

“He’s pretty much unflappable,” says Gregg, “but then he’s worked in a pressurised environment doing security. You don’t think of a big man like that, working on the door, being strong and quite imposing, also having a delicate touch.”


I dream of opening a restaurant in Southport where I will get all of my produce within seven miles of the restaurant and eventually earn a Michelin star.

The judges say

John Torode: There is a time during MasterChef that you discover what style you’re most comfortable with and he’s doing that now.

BUT... Gregg Wallace: Jay could be more ambitious. He should stay with his love of classics, but be a little bit more creative.

A word of advice

Gregg Wallace: He should get himself into a classic French kitchen, Michelin-starred or French bistro, because that’s the food he likes.

This is an edited version of an article from the issue of Radio Times magazine that went on sale 6 March 2012.


MasterChef: the Final Three begins on Tuesday 14 March at 9pm on BBC1/BBC1 HD