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 – Daniel Clifford.
Lets meet the chefs…
Emily Scott is the chef proprietor of Cornwall’s renowned St Tudy Inn. A firm believer in fuss free and paired back food.
Starter: I Don’t Know Where I’m Going From Here But I Promise It won’t Be Boring. Inspired by David Bowie.
Daniel thought the presented was ‘beautiful‘, the quails eggs cooked ‘perfectly‘ and the lemon oil was ‘pleasant’. However, the dish needed more ‘acidity to enhance the flavour‘ and he couldn’t see the dish going the banquet.
Fish Course: Half Shell Heroes. Inspired by radio (Desert Island Discs) to create her dish featuring scallops.
Daniel loved the dish, calling it ‘delicious‘, praising the chef on showing that ‘classics shouldn’t be forgotten‘ and taking on advice. However, her interpretation of the brief is very ‘personal‘ and is weary that the diners won’t understand her journey.
Main Course: Castaway. Inspired by David-Bowie, Emily’s dish celebrates Britain’s food heroes and she is using Cornish duck meat from her local producer that she pairs with grilled radicchio and Malbec sauce.
Daniel thought the chef really ‘heroed the duck‘ and said it was a ‘very tasty‘ plate of food. However, the mash could of benefitted from more ‘cream, butter and seasoning‘ and the sauce ‘overpowered the duck‘.
Dessert: Disco Fever. Dedicated to disco, making an ice cream but, in a nostalgic move, has decided to make hers in her mothers antiquated ice cream machine from the 1980’s.
Daniel enjoyed the dish, saying it was the ‘best‘ panna cotta he had ever tasted, the coconut fairing was simply ‘perfect‘ and the ice cream was full of flavour. However, he isn’t sure if her retro ice cream machine would be up for the banquet.
Overall Score: 28/40
Joe Baker is largely self-taught, and at just 28 is already running his own restaurant, No 10, in St Helier.
Starter: My Octopus’s Garden. Beatles inspired dish – an unorthodox pairing of seafood and cheese.
Daniel thought the dish was very ‘brave‘, the octopus was cooked ‘perfectly‘ and the texture was ‘spot on‘. The veteran couldn’t fault the dish, saying the cheese sauce was ‘magical‘ and a ‘lesser chef‘ wouldn’t of pulled this off.
Fish Course: Off the Record. Celebrating the golden era of pirate radio with a dish that pairs steamed cod with an oyster and squid ink sauce.
Daniel thought it was a ‘very brave dish and took skill to deliver it‘. The fish was cooked perfectly and the sauce really ‘complimented‘ the cod. A ‘joy to eat‘ with loads of layers, however the record on the side ‘didn’t really tell a story‘.
Main Course: Bless the weather, make hay.Using locally sourced ingredients, Joe is using hay from his family farm and Jersey beef.
Daniel enjoyed the bone marrow fritters, the ‘beautifully‘ cooked and prepared turnips. However the beef was too ‘tough‘, he couldn’t taste they hay and didnt enjoy the hollandaise.
Dessert: Message in a Bottle. The Police are Joe’s inspiration, which includes chamomile ice cream made from Jersey milk along with granola and fennel pollen meringue all set in a half glass bottle.
Daniel loved the idea and thought he really ‘fit the brief‘. However, the dish had too many bitter tones and it felt more like breakfast than the end of a banquet.
Overall Score: 29/40
Lee Smith is head chef at Michel-starred restaurant, Samphire. Classically trained, Lee had worked his way through ranks of restaurants including Le Manor aux Quat’ Saisons.
Starter: Beets of the Sixties. Devoted to the colourful music of the 1960’s. A risky moves that involves creating a pesto he can’t taste prior to plating because of his nut allergy, leaving the final flavour balance a guessing game.
Daniel said the dish was ‘perfectly seasoned‘, the acidity worked well throughout and complimented the beetroot. However the rocket pesto was overpowered by the garlic, suggesting ‘should the chef be taking a risk on something he can’t taste‘.
Fish Course: A Whiter Shade of Pale. Featuring turbot and the humble turnip which he cooked in a variety of ways.
Daniel loved the ‘story behind the dish‘, the combination of the dish was ‘beautiful’ and how they worked very well together. However, the dish needed acidity from the turnips, costing the chef a point.
Main Course: Welcome to the nineties, but why all the beef? Lee has opted for sirloin, which he accompanies with bone marrow jam and grilled hispi cabbage with yeast extract butter and celeriac crumb.
Daniel thought the beef was cooked to ‘perfection‘, praising the chef for putting ‘backbone‘ into his dish and done the brief proud. However, the dish needed more acidity and wish the food had been taken of the record player.
Dessert: Strawberry Fields. Lee’s Beatle’s inspired dish is a complex creation which takes the strawberry to the next level.
Daniel thought that the ingredients ‘married perfectly together‘ and even though Daniel has a very sweet palette, but not everyone does. He also suggested a few basil leaves scattered to look more like a field.
Overall Score: 33/40
The two highest scoring chefs going through to the judges round will be; Gordon Jones & Lorna McNee
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Ben Reade.
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 half of the synth pop duo The Communards – Rev Richard Coles.
Lets see how the chefs got on…
Lee Smith, making his way to the top with his innovative take on the brief and flavour combination.
Starter: Beets of the Sixties. Lee has an alternative to replace his ‘soggy goats cheese’, and loosing the hazelnuts in the pesto so he can try it himself.
The judges enjoyed the vivid colour and called it a ‘technicolour‘.
The smoke on the cream cheese wasn’t working for Reverant Richard Coles and Andi found it quite ‘powerful‘. Oliver thought this was only a ‘minor‘ detail to a triumphant dish.
Fish Course: A whiter shade of Pale. Lee hopes the pickles turnips work for him today, to add acidity to his dish.
Richard found the dish ‘delicious‘, Matthew couldn’t of agreed more.
Oliver said the dish was ‘absolutely everything, the cod was not‘, and he found it quite predictable. Suggesting it was the cover album.
Main Course: Welcome to the Nineties, but why all the Beef? Listening to everything Daniel Clifford said to get the highest score.
Andi found the cabbage ‘extraordinary‘ and said the dish as a whole was an ‘explosion of flavour‘.
Oliver wasn’t a fan of the pickled beetroots, nor the beef saying it was ‘disappointing‘.
Dessert: Strawberry Fields. Adding micro basil leaves, as veteran Daniel Clifford suggested.
Andi thought it was an ‘average’ and ‘refreshing‘ dish, while Richard loved the basil and notes of strawberry.
While Oliver agreed with Andi calling it ‘academic‘ and Matthew is going for a ‘PHD‘.
Joe Baker, hoping his passion and inventive dishes get him to the finals.
Starter: My Octopus’s Garden. Joe decided to cook the razor clams on heat this time round.
The judges enjoyed the ‘oceanic delights‘, and the richness of the cheese sauce.
Oliver didn’t think the flavours ‘set off‘ the octopus, although liking them all individually.
Fish Course: Off the Record. Daniel scored this dish a near 10, which Joe is hoping for.
Matthew and Andi found it ‘very dramatic‘ and wasn’t having a ‘great time‘ with the dish, she found the fish quite watery and found the underneath very ‘sludgy‘.
Richard found that the more he ate, the more he enjoyed the dish. Oliver said it was ‘rock ‘n’ roll cooking‘.
Main Course: Bless the weather, make hay. Joe is changing the hollandaise with some extra butter and cut the beef slightly thinner, to make it less chewy.
All judges loved the story and link to the brief.
Matthew enjoyed the beef, with ‘delicious‘ flavour. Although Andi thought the sorrel sauce was knocking the dish in all sort of directions.
Dessert: Message in a Bottle. Joe has swapped damsons for blackberries to give more sweetness.
The judges loved the presentation of the dish
Andi enjoyed the meringue while Matthew didn’t think it was a celebratory pudding although thought it had some ‘delightful‘ elements.
Oliver was ‘pleased‘ rather than ‘thrilled‘ and mentioned that with the brief, there’s a chance to go ‘bonkers‘ with the dessert’.
The highest scoring chef and representing the South West in the final of the GBM is; Lee Smith
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Joe Baker.