Portfolio: Andrew Hayes-Watkins

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Forget Ainsley, Nigella and the like: the 12 chefs pictured here are some of the nation's top culinary talents – and they've no time for an easy smile to camera. "I wanted them to be hot, sweaty, red around the eyes," says the food photographer Andrew Hayes-Watkins of his subjects. His ongoing project, In the Kitchen, began with this dirty dozen, participants in the BBC's Great British Menu over the past three years – although he has since snapped 75 candid shots of chefs from around the country, documenting those making a living out of toiling away in restaurants, rather than simpering away on TV.

"Initially I was just asked to do publicity stills for the series," says Hayes-Watkins, "but I thought this was an opportunity to go deeper, and I set up a makeshift studio in the corner; any high moments of drama, I tried to pull one of the chefs out of the kitchen and photograph what was going on. I wanted to capture the real stress of working in a kitchen."

The seventh series of 'Great British Menu' is on BBC2 from 9 April. For more from the photographer: andrewhayeswatkins.com