This year the country’s most talented chefs battle in the Great British Menu to earn the right to cook at an exquisite banquet, held at the beating heart of the British music industry – Abbie Road Studios. The greatest place to honour the brilliance of British pop music.
The brief to celebrate Britains extraordinary contribution to pop music. They will be honouring the stars and heroes of the music industry from the 60’s to the present day.
This week it is the heats for London and South East region. To cook at the banquet the chefs need to first prepare finely tuned dishes for a chef from Great British Menu’s hall of fame – Angela Hartnett.
Lets meet the chefs…
Paul Walsh is the executive chef at Michelin-starred city social. He won his star within just a few months of opening.
Starter: Waterloo sunset. A delicate fish and fregola dish inspired by the view from his rooftop restaurant and the Kinks hit.
Angela loved the cooking of the langoustine, calling it the ‘star of the dish‘. She was impressed the chef experimented with the fragola, but was confused why he had designed a fish starter now going into a fish main course and expected more ‘vibrant colours‘.
Fish Course: Whats the story morning Dory? Using John Dory for his Oasis-inspired dish.
Angela thought it was a very tasty plate of food, describing the flavours coming through. However, she didn’t think the story came through within the plate.
Main Course: Let it Bee. Inspired by London honey.
Angela loved the cooking of the veal, saying it was a ‘lovely plate of food‘. She also loves the ‘extras Paul goes with his cooking‘, which ‘balanced very well‘. Although she thought there was no ‘wow‘, when the cover was lifted.
Dessert: Tiers in Heaven. Inspired by the Eric Clapton song and his love for his children. Demonstrating his culinary skill with an ambitious dessert using layers of different chocolate and hazelnuts.
Angela loved the consistency of his ice-cream, the clever idea of the layered ganache and was impressed with the skill that was seen in the dish. Although, the base needed to be ‘more crispier and less soggy‘ and thought the classic flavours were a ‘bit too safe‘.
Overall Score: 33/40
Luke Selby has just won a Michelin Star as head chef at Hide in the West End.
Starter: The British Invasion. Themed around The Beatles for his starer, as he cooks a complicated, fragrant salad inspired by the lyrics from one of their early hits which won over America.
Angela enjoyed the presentation and aroma of the dish, saying it was a ‘very striking plate of food‘. She thought the crispy potato basket were very tasty and ‘could off eaten more‘. She also thought it was smart to design a vegetarian starter now going into 2 main meat courses, but for the chef ‘the flavours lacked something‘.
Fish Course: Rock stars Heroes. Lobster with Asian flavour.
Angela was concerned with the issues Luke had when preparing his dish, but luckily it worked for the chef. The plate worked for Angela on ‘every level’, saying he had ‘nailed style over substance within his brief’, describing the elements she loved.
Main Course: Spice. Inspired by his favourite girl band spice girls.
Angela was impressed with the chefs cooking and flavours, describing the elements in which she enjoyed the most. However, there was ‘a lot of duck after duck‘ and maybe ‘one too many dishes with a lot of protein on the plate‘.
Dessert: Going Platinum. Giving himself a lot to do with his final dish, a take on millionaire shortbread.
Angela really liked this dessert and was impressed that his salted caramel ice-cream had set in time. She enjoyed the flavours and texture coming the dish, unfortunately the shards didn’t work and suggested that the chef ‘rethink‘ his ideas.
Overall Score: 34/40
Ben Marks, the youngest chef in the competition. He is the chef owner of Perilla, in Hackney. He has been described as one of the most exciting new chefs of his generation by world renowned chef Phil Howard.
Starter: Glass onion. Taking inspiration from the Beatles that has a very personal reason for feeling connected to their music theme.
Angela enjoyed the presentation, calling it ‘quirky and unique‘. She reassured the chef the that ‘sogginess‘ never harmed his dish. However she thought the soup lacked sweetness from the white onions and didn’t understand why he burnt the paper at the end.
Fish Course: Indian-spiced mackerel dish. Sticking with inspiration from The Beatles.
Angela really likes how the chef is pushing himself in the competition and ‘thinking outside the box’. She was ‘slightly worried’ in the presentation and was pleased it worked ‘quite well’. The chef not working with spices before, Angela believed that risk ‘paid off’, however the mackerel lacked seasoning.
Main Course: Blackbird. Once again themed, white album from the Beatles.
Angela really enjoyed the dish, the cooking of the quail and the beautiful flavours coming from the sauce. However, chef wished there was veg on the plate or something ‘to cut the richness’.
Dessert: White Album. Finishing he tribute to The Beatles album, which his grandfather was involved in the design of, with a delicate all-white dessert set in shortcrust pastry.
Angela thought the pastry was ‘superb‘ and the white rose petals added delicacy to the dish. However, she thought the goats yoghurt was too much making the dish ‘sour’ and personal thought the dessert ‘needed to be set more‘.
Overall Score: 35/40
The two highest scoring chefs going through to the judges round will be; Luke Selby & Ben Marks.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Paul Walsh.
The two reaming chefs must cook their four-course menus again to impress the formidable judges. Food writer Matthew Fort, restauranteur Oliver Peyton and broadcaster and cook Andi Oliver – as well as guest judge – one of the pop stars the banquet will celebrate. Legendary bassist, Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield, from the Stone Roses and Primal Scream.
Lets see how the chefs got on…
Ben Marks, is in the lead.
Starter: Glass Onion. Listening to Angela’s advice, Ben is adding a touch more puree to his ‘yesterday bread’.
Matthew enjoyed the ‘freshness‘ of the soup, while Oliver agreed and added that it had ‘great texture‘.
Andi said it was a ‘beautiful dish, with great balance‘.
Mani was inspired by the dish, saying he would ‘never throw his old bread out to the birds again, because Ben’s starter was an absolute winner‘.
Fish Course: Indian Spiced-Mackerel. Ben added more seasoning to his dish, which was encouraged by Angela.
The judges enjoyed the plating of the dish, however thought it was a ‘party out of control‘.
Andi loved the pops spices coming through the dish. Matthew on the other hand want a fan of the dish and said ‘it would be better if the mackerel was taking out completely‘ and found it ‘a bit of a mess‘.
Mani was overwhelmed by the ‘mushy’ texture.
Main Course: Blackbird. The chef is aiming for another 10 for his main course.
The judges thought it was a ‘clever‘ idea, stuffing the quail to give the diner a ‘surprise‘.
Mani enjoyed the simplicity.
Oliver believed it was ‘rock and roll‘ saying it was a ‘piece of art on a plate‘.
The judges were happy with this dish, ‘cooking brilliance‘, putting the chef back in game.
Dessert: White Album. Overcooking his custard, which Angela scored an 8, he quickly cooks up a new batch.
While all describing the flavours, mani thought the overall experience was ‘very subtle‘.
All Oliver could taste was ‘meadow sweet’ which was too overpowering, while Matthew and Andi didn’t see anything wrong with flavours and enjoyed it a lot more.
Luke Selby, is just one point behind. Cooking beautifully refined dishes often featuring a subtle Japanese twist.
Starter: The British Invasion. Taking on board Angela’s advice, Luke is amping up his flavours.
Mani and Andi enjoyed the crisp nest which gave the dish ‘great texture‘.
Matthew Fort thought it was quite ‘hard work chewing the greenery‘, which some of the judges enjoyed a burnt edge and some didn’t.
Oliver Peyton, enjoyed the starter saying ‘if this is anything to go by, we are in for a difficult day‘.
Fish Course: Rock Star Heroes. Nothing is being changed within dish, despite Luke encountering another tempura disaster while preparing.
Mani enjoyed the dish and calling his presentation ‘exquisite‘.
Andi couldn’t get enough of the tempura lobster, while Matthew praised the cook on the cooking of his lobster.
Oliver said the whole dish was an absolute ‘triumph‘.
Main Course: Spice. Luke has added another piece of duck skin to add in more texture for an extra crunch in his buns.
Enjoying the ‘gentle‘ consommé, the judges loved the chefs dish.
Andi really enjoyed the cooking of the duck and was already an ‘10‘ from the broadcaster.
Oliver thought it was ‘technically great‘, but the dish didn’t express the ‘wow of the occasion’.
Mani preferred the quail as it had ‘more of a sense of occasion‘, although the duck was ‘stunningly perfect on ever level‘.
Dessert: White Platinum. Luke has changed the technique of his while chocolate shards, to be able to get them on the plate.
All the judges enjoyed the presentation and brief of the dessert.
Oliver called the dish ‘absolute perfection‘, and Andi loved the addition of the puffed rice.
Matthew explained the differences between the desserts, saying Bens dish was more ‘original‘ while Luke’s is a ‘re-working of nice old favourites‘.
The highest scoring chef and representing the London & South East in the final of the GBM is; Luke Selby.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Ben Marks.