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 North 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 – Michael O’Hare.
Lets meet the chefs…
Mike Carr is the former head chef at Harrogate’s Restaurant 92.
Starter: Symphony. Bringing a contemporary vibe to the table with a starter inspired by Clean Bandit, which marries veal sweetbreads and pickled radish.
Michael enjoyed the ‘clear connection‘ to the brief and could see the diners at the banquet ‘enjoying the tambourine‘. Even though the sweet breads were crispy, he felt the coating was too ‘floury‘ and even though the star of the show, they became ‘masked‘. Overall for Michael, ‘it wasn’t a symphony‘.
Fish Course: Champagne Supernova. Oasis inspired dish of the day using turbot.
Michael thought the turbot was cooked really nicely, although ‘under seasoned‘. He thought the sauce was delicious and would of liked ‘a lot more‘ and felt the dish ‘hit the brief in the face‘. However, the potatoes were ‘too heavy in saffron and a little soapy’.
Main Course: Rack n Roll. Mike is Confident his northern dish is putting both classic Yorkshire hogget and traditional Lancashire hotpot in the spotlight.
Michael thought the hog was cooked beautiful and he very much enjoyed the hotpot, saying ‘the cooking throughout was on point. Except, the broccoli was ‘heavily underdone‘ which he didn’t think was right for a chef of his ‘calibre‘. The link to the brief was prop heavy to the point it was ‘ridiculous’.
Dessert: Glass-Gin-Berry. An ambitious, fun dessert and a tribute to Glastonbury, combing edible glass, gin and berries.
Michael thought the taste was ‘incredible‘ and out of all 3 chefs, ‘Mike had nailed the brief‘. However, as skilful as the glass was it was ‘difficult to eat‘.
Overall Score: 30/40
Samira Effa, from Huddersfield is head chef at The Box Tree in Ilkley.
Starter: The Circle of Life. Taking her motivation from Elton John and the very common but versatile tomato.
Michael enjoyed the taste of food, saying it was ‘delicious‘ and really got it right ‘to what a starter should be, in terms of size and feel‘. He thought the circle of life was a great idea but believes she could ‘elaborate on the idea and go further with the tomato‘.
Fish Course: Tikka Look at me Now. Going all pun-tactic with a lobster and crab spicy dish.
Michael loved the name and idea behind the dish.The plate of food was delicious and he enjoyed eating it ‘thoroughly‘. However he thinks the dish would benefit if Samira changed the ‘way she cooked her lobster‘, suggesting to make a butter to get more of the smoky aroma.
Main Course: Memories of Baba’s Okra. Bringing the Nigerian flavours of her childhood to the kitchen with her dish featuring ox cheek and okra.
Michael enjoyed the idea of dish, how she linked her heritage and the connected with the brief. He couldn’t fault the cooking of the beef as she had cooked it ‘perfectly‘. However, having the ‘puree dotted around the plate‘ meant they were all different temperatures, meaning they tasted different. He also didn’t understand the ‘extra rage on the banana leaf’ and suggested it to ‘be on the plate‘ needed to be ‘more refined‘.
Dessert: Paradise Whatever the Weather. Memorable Coldplay concert she attended, featuring three different kinds of parfait.
Michael thought the ‘inspiration was great‘, and thought it ‘really hit the brief‘. He could taste the journey of a knickerbocker glory, the pistachio parfait bean this favourite. Although he wished for ‘more texture‘ within the dessert and the ‘fluid gel let her down‘.
Overall Score: 30/40
Tom Anglesea, originally from Durham, is head chef at The Laughing Heart in London.
Starter: My Masterplan. Inspired by Britpop pioneers Oasis, Tom reveals some personal connections to this year’s music brief. It combines the rather humble potato with lavish caviar and truffle to create a special version of Bellini.
Michael was disappointed in the missing ingredient, but he really liked that that pressure ‘didn’t drag him down‘, and still managed to get the plate of food up onto the pass. He thought the smoke on the creme friache was ‘expertly done‘ with a ‘nice level‘, however as soon as it reached the plate it was ‘lost‘ and suggested to add broth to the dish.
Fish Course: Lost Souls. Taking inspiration Fromm Pink Floyd and dedicates his Japanese-style fish dish in a fish bowl to both a dear departed friend and the pop stars no longer with us.
Michael really enjoyed the dish saying it was the ‘most elegant plate of food today‘ and it was ‘a million miles away from his starter‘. He particular enjoyed the scallops and ravioli, saying it was a ‘skilful piece of cooking‘ and ‘delicacy in the flavour’. However, suggested the chef could go finer and more delicate with the flavour and visually for a banquet, ‘it looked too much like a restaurant plate of food‘.
Main Course: Field of Gold Fish. Inspired by the sting song, it uses guinea fowl as it centrepiece.
Michael loved the cooking of the ballotine, saying the dish was a ‘precise and elegant plate of food which was presented today‘ and praised the chef. Although, wished the ruffle was ‘grated rather than sliced as the texture was a bit woody to get a even truffle aroma and taste‘.
Dessert: From Rags to Riches. Celebrating his north east heritage, with Billy Elliot with a dessert featuring coal-like black macarons.
Michael thought the whole dish was ‘intelligent, sophisticated and he was very impressed with the execution‘. He was concerned for the charcoal macarons, but called them ‘divine‘, taking his dish to the ‘next level’. Although Michael enjoyed the dish overall, he doesn’t believe a dish of ‘Billy Elliot represents a dish of Music in the last 50 years‘.
Overall Score: 31/40
The two highest scoring chefs going through to the judges round will be; Tom Anglesea & Samira Effa.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Mike Carr.
The two reaming chefs must cook their four-course menus again to impress the formidable judges. Food writer Matthew Fort, restauranteur Oliver Peytonand broadcaster and cook Andi Oliver – as well as guest judge – one of the pop stars the banquet will celebrate. Pop impresario, responsible for many number one hits in the 80s and 90s – Pete Waterman.
Lets see how the chefs got on…
Tom Anglesea, after a disastrous start to the competition, he managed to turn things around.
Starter: My Masterplan. Tom has made a few changes, by adding chicken oysters with caviar and adding an onion broth to bring the dish together.
Judges thought the dish had a ‘beautiful rich‘ smell from the broth and a ‘great presentation‘.
Pete was concerned with the seasoning, saying it was ‘exceptionally salty‘ which is coming from the caviar.
Oliver was upset that he tried to save the dish and ‘it hadn’t worked‘. Matthew disagreed with the food critic saying ‘the way the elements go together gives sweetness and smoke‘.
Fish Course: Lost Souls.
Intrigued by the title, Matthew called it a dish of ‘great elegancy‘.
Oliver thought it was a little bit ‘off key‘, saying the broth ‘didn’t have enough depth‘.
Andi was impressed with the ‘strong connection‘ with the brief and believed he had ‘nailed it‘.
Main Course: Field of Gold. Tom is now grating the truffle instead of shaving.
The judges all loved the aroma and fragrance coming from the dish, especially Pete, saying he had ‘died and gone to heaven‘ and suggesting it was the ‘most accomplished dish of the day‘.
Andi suggested it was a ‘nice restaurant dish‘, and shocked that Oliver had nearly finished his dish.
Matthew loved the dish that ‘technically there’s a lot of expert cooking going on here‘.
Dessert: From Rags to Riches. Hoping he will hit the judges sweet spot.
The judges loved the fun idea of the dish, which is a representation to ‘childhood‘.
Andi was concerned with the combination of candy floss and parfait, but was wrong saying it was a ‘success‘.
Oliver and Pete enjoyed the dish, saying it was very much ‘rock n roll‘.
Samira Effa consistently impressed Michael O’Hare in the heats with her personal connection sin the brief.
Starter: The Circle of Life. Listening to Michael and putting consommé through her Bloody Mary.
All the judges enjoyed the consommé, saying it was ‘superb‘.
Oliver thought it was a ‘very pretty dish‘, ‘showing of skill and flavour that is very well balanced‘.
Matthew was confused where the Bloody Mary foam was, which Andi soon realised it was’ forgotten‘.
Fish Course: Tikka Look at me Now. She has decided to smoke the bones on the BBQ and grill the lobster tails.
the judges all enjoyed the cracker, but found the lobster tail a ‘challenge‘. Pete thought the ‘lobster shell was more appetising than the tail as it had more of a smokey flavour‘.
Oliver believed if he took the curry sauce away, all the dish would be is a ‘series of canapés‘.
Main Course: Memories of Baba’s Okra. Samira has changed the beef ever so slightly by brushing it with the puree.
The judges loved the colours on the plate, and the ‘intensity‘ of the gravy.
Pete was confused as he couldn’t ‘taste any flavour on the beef‘.
Oliver was confused what each sauce was meant to play in the dish, saying personally there was ‘too many flavours’. Andi disagreed saying the ‘flavours were dancing around on her tastebuds‘.
Dessert: Paradise Whatever the Weather. As veteran Michael suggested the dish lacked texture, Samira has changed the cream version to chocolate brownies.
Hoping the dish ‘plays up to the Coldplay Original‘, the judges loved the elements within the dish.
Oliver loved the pistachio parfait, but unfortunately didn’t think ‘the colours matched by the balance of flavours‘.
All the judges agreed with Oliver.
The highest scoring chef and representing the North East in the final of the GBM is; Tom Anglesea.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Samira Effa.