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.
It is national finals week, where the winning chefs from the regional heats compete for the honour of cooking at a banquet. Each of the eight rivals will cook a different course – and with this being the last chance they have to impress the expert judges and a raft of guest judges from the British music industry, the pressure is on.
Lets see how the chefs got on…
Andy Sheridan, passionate food lover and executive chef at an innovative welsh restaurant went out in the heats last year.
Starter: Green, green grass of home. A sophisticated take on a lamb kebab, with the added pressure of his dish being compared with his rivals, Chris. He scored 35/40 in the Welsh final, Andy is taking a risk by adding 2 more strong flavours.
The judges enjoyed the beer and thought the dish was ‘subdued‘ in terms of colour and rich in flavour.
Martin was disappointed in the cooking of the lamb, while Andi thought the dish was ‘too heavy’ for a starter. Oliver was confused with the necessity with all the sauces, calling the dish a ‘butch night out‘.
Fish Course: Top of the cods. His dish is inspired by memories of a Friday night eating fish and chips whilst watching top of the pops on tele. It scored 27/40 in the Welsh final, only criticising its lack of excitement. Andy has tried to give it some extra jazz.
The judges enjoyed the caramelisation of the cod and the batter.
Kenya could feel the dish transporting her to being at home watching tele, saying it was a ‘nice homely dish‘, Andi agreed praising him on achieving his concept. Matthew enjoyed the dish, but didn’t think it was fit for a banquet but more for a restaurant.
Main Course: Rockfield: Cigarettes and alcohol. Oasis is the inspiration behind his dish and in the welsh heats, their veteran criticised the dish for lacking a starchy element, so Andy has added fondant potatoes but not everyone feels they are on trend.
The judges enjoyed the presentation of the dish and the fondant ‘buttery’ fondant potato.
Oliver thought the dish held ‘too many‘ flavours, overpowering the taste of the venison. Andrew also enjoyed the individual parts but was unsure if they worked altogether, Matthew agreed saying it wasn’t quite ‘Beethovens sweet symphony‘.
Dessert: Goldfinger. Inspired y childhood memories from the bond films and its Shirley Bassey theme song. In the regional final, Andy added to much gelatine to his pan cotta, causing it to set too firmly. The judges also thought the dish wasn’t well balanced.
The judges weren’t too impressed that the coffee foam had lost its shape, and also found the coffee flavour very intense.
Andi and Matthew found the dish extremely ‘odd‘ and Oliver couldn’t of agreed more saying it went ‘wallop‘.
Lorna McKnee, immaculate attention to detail took her to the finals last year.
Starter: Elton’s cheese on toast. A multi element dish inspired by an event held by the this British great. However its one of Lorna’s weaker dishes, scoring 27/40 in the Scottish final. The judges loved some of the elements, but not all as it didn’t gel as a whole. Lorna is keeping the ingredients the judges liked and taken off what they didn’t.
The judges enjoyed the added Elton theatre and the lightness of the dish.
Matthew thought the toast was ‘absolutely divine‘ and the rest of the judges couldn’t agree more. For Oliver its a ‘game with 2 halves‘, saying it was 2 canapés.
Fish Course: Spice up your life. The dish is based around a spiced monkfish, but despite its popular inspiration it was Lorna’s weakest dish in the Scottish final. So rather than fine tune the dish, Lorna has created a radically different composition by changing the spice and taking away the garnish.
The judges loved the extremely spice girls presentation, although thought it looked a bit rushed.
Oliver said the daahl was ‘delicious‘, while Kenya couldn’t get enough of the puree and carrots. Despite all the flavours and textures working together, unfortunately Matthew wasn’t keen on the monkfish.
Main Course: With a little help from my friends. Whilst the judges scored it a very respectable 35/40 in the regional finals, they suggested the dish needed some fine tuning to become more colourful and personal.
The judges couldn’t get enough of the chef’s dumpling and the breast of lamb.
Oliver praised the stew, calling it the ‘mothership‘ of the dish, the only criticism that Andrew and the rest of the judges had was that the presentation was ‘lacking‘.
Dessert: Lime and sunshine, there’s enough for everyone. Is a tribute to Wham’s Club Tropicana, which features a coconut mouse, fruit salsa, lime and Pina colada sorbet. It scored a perfect 40 in the regional final.
Peter couldn’t get enough of the dessert, while all the judges stayed silent being completely indulged in the dessert.
Andi was impressed that the dessert wasn’t ‘too sweet‘, and all the judges couldn’t agree more.
Adam Reid, lover of sophisticated yet hearty dishes, got him all the way to the banquet 3 years ago.
Starter: From the Beatle to oasis. Reflects his passion of bringing old fashioned Northern dishes into the 21st century. Inspired by a traditional corn beef hash, which Adam says Northern musicians have eaten from the sixties to the present day. It involves beef tartare and root vegetables. It was just one point off a perfect 40 in the regional final, so Adam is understandably confident.
The judges very much enjoyed the butter, and would be very happy just eating the bread and butter.
Martin enjoyed the little crunch, that was very ‘pleasing‘ and Oliver agreed, saying he could taste ‘the confidence of the chef‘. Matthew though the dish was so near to perfect that there was nothing that could be added to the dish or taken away without ‘disturbing the balance‘.
Fish Course: Northern Soul. Features almond poached cod loin, cod sauce and cod cheek. Homely flavours designed to honour Northern soul music. It scored 32/40 with just one feature, the coating on the cod cheek left divided opinion.
The judges were very happy with the light batter and cooking of the cod.
Oliver thought the fish was ‘poached to perfection‘ but maybe too conservative for him. Kenya found it very hard to compare the dishes, but thought the dish would fit better in a restaurant rather than a banquet. Andi was slightly confused with the connection to the brief.
Main Course: Comfort food sounds good. Out of all the chefs in the final, Adam’s dish scored joined highest with Luke’s int he heats. Adam’s musical inspiration comes from his home town, Manchester’s musical Brothers.
The judges were very happy with the presentation, as well as the cooking and taste of the chicken, with Andrew calling it ‘sensational‘.
Oliver thought the sauce was very intense as well as being light, saying the dish was ‘faultless‘. Matthew couldn’t get enough of the dish, as what ‘just as good as he remembers it‘.
Dessert: Manchester: I am the resurrection. Inspiration taken from the Stone Roses, key players in the Manchester scene and traditional Northern food by resurrecting the treacle tart.
Matthew loved the texture, lightness and flavour of the sponge, guest judge Peter Hook agreed, saying that there was a ‘great aftertaste‘ and asked politely is he could finish it.
Oliver thought it was ‘nice‘ and ‘pleasant‘ but couldn’t see the ‘rock and roll‘ within the dish.
Kray Treadwell, a maverick rule breaker and head chef at a restaurant famed for its wild creativity. Flying the flag for the central region.
Starter: Fire in the booth. Features deep fried sweetbreads in hot sauce, diced tuna, caviar and truffle. Like many of Kray’s dishes the flavours divided opinion. It received just 24/40 in the regional final, so Kray has attempted to overall the flavours without comprising the dishes fire.
The judges were concerned of how many ingredients were ‘piled‘ on top of one another.
Martin enjoyed the flavours, but thought it was ‘too greasy‘. Andi agreed and found it ‘really heavy handed‘ and wasn’t sure on the tuna belly, saying she doesn’t ‘really like it‘.
Fish Course: Disdain for orthodoxy. Serving the most controversial dish of the competition, inspired by punk it features a turbot fillet served on an oyster soup, with a black rice cracker, along with deep-fried edible cartilage styled as the Mohican. The dishes radical presentation and strong flavours, divided opinion in the regional final. Andi scoring it a score and Matthew giving it an 8, none the less rebel Kray is leaving it totally unchanged.
The judges were intrigued by the visual presentation.
Andi didnt enjoy the stud elements, Kenya agreed saying the ‘texture and flavour just doesn’t go together‘. Oliver thought the dish was ‘cool‘ but it has no ‘substance’ behind it, saying it wasn’t ‘great food‘.
Main Course: SHHARONNN. Homage to Ozzy Osbourne, Kray’s main course score was only beaten by Luke and Adam. The chef is so confident in his dish, he hasn’t made one change in the dish.
The judges enjoyed the taste and texture of the American biscuit, saying it was ‘quite clever‘.
The hot sauce went down a treat, but unfortunately Andi didn’t enjoy the ordinary potatoes. Andrew didn’t find masses of flavour in the beef and felt it was a bit ‘chewy‘.
Dessert: A new romance. A celebration of the new romantic movement of the 80’s challenged the idea of masculinity. The pairing of peaches and white chocolate is designed to give delicate floral elements and served with an unusual accompaniment.
Oliver appreciated the modern, colourful and rock n roll dessert presentation, al the other judges agreed.
Matthew enjoyed the ‘luxurious‘ mousse that wasn’t ‘too sweet‘, Andi also appreciated that it wasn’t just a ‘bowl of sugar‘, it also had a lot more ‘dimensions‘ to it.
Tom Anglesea, a keen traveller with culinary experience from around the world is representing the North-East.
Starter: My Masterplan. In honour of an oasis track is inspired by his own masterplan of success as a professional chef. Along with langoustine his new dish includes pigeon, which Tom is cooking in a technique he learned while cooking at a Chinese fine dining restaurant in Sydney.
The judges were happier with the dish presented compared to his potato dish, saying git seemed like a ‘different chef‘.
Martin was gobsmacked by the pigeon claw that was presented on the plate and said it was ‘ruining‘ the amazing prawn toast, while Matthew couldn’t see it wasted. Oliver was confused by the link between the langoustine and the pigeon, Andi agreed saying she ‘wasn’t a fan‘.
Fish Course: Lost souls in a fish bowl. Named after a lyric by Pink Floyd’s, I wish you were here, its a deeply personal dish in spired by a friend that passed away. It scored 28/40 in the regional final, while the judges appreciated its delicacy they felt it didn’t gel as a whole.
The judges appreciated once again the concept behind the dish, but got a ‘real kick‘ shock from the wasabi.
Andi liked the way the dashi was used as seasoning. All the other judges agreed, also saying that the ravioli was amazing. Matthew was happy that the chef had kept the same elements, but ‘refined and polished‘ them after the judges comments.
Main Course: Field of gold. A tribute to global music legend, Sting. While veteran Michael O’Hare gave the dish a 9 the judges weren’t quite so generous.
Visually, the judges thought it was quite ‘beige‘ and ‘uninspired‘, but thought the sweetcorn puree but ‘outstanding‘.
Andi found the texture of the balloting quite ‘off-putting‘, where guest judge Andrew found it extremely tasty, Oliver agreed saying it tasted ‘substantially better than it looked‘.
Dessert: From rages to riches. Inspired by the billy Elliot story and show it reflects his own career path from the North-East to London. A nod to the North-East coal mines, it features a charcoal macaroon with a yeast parfait and four apple elements and candy floss.
Being taken straight back to childhood with the candy floss, Matthew thought the macaroon was ‘dam fine‘ with great ‘stickiness around the teeth‘.
Oliver praised the chef on his balance of flavours, from the tartness of the apples and bold flavour from the macaroon. Andi found surprise in the ‘freshness‘ coming from the dish and Peter will ‘never forget’ the dessert.
Chris McClurg, is here representing Northern Ireland proud place on the culinary map.
Starter: Brixton Academy through the years. A sophisticated take on a lamb kebab. Which evokes memories of the late night, fast food Chris used to eat after the gigs he attended at the South London venue. In the Northern Ireland final it scored, 28/40. The judges praised it flavours but its authentic presentation made it difficult to eat. Chris has made a tweak with his approach to plating.
The judges all agreed that it honoured the ‘concept of a kebab‘, while also thinking it was quite ‘hefty‘ for a first course.
Martin praised the chef, as the dish reminded him of all the gigs he had been to and thought the music industry would really ‘appreciate‘ that. Oliver and Andi expected more ‘elegance’ if it was to be at the banquet.
Fish Course: Champagne Supernova. Convinced his dish will make it to the banquet thanks to its classic combination of champagne and scallops. It scored 33/40 in the Northern Ireland final, making it the highest scoring fish dish of the heats. But ambitious Chris has been trying his hardest to boost his success even further.
The judges were stunned by the quality of produce that was presented, saying it was ‘beautiful and elegant with added theatre‘.
Kenya couldn’t speak enough praise of the dish, while Oliver and Andi agreed saying there was ‘no where for the cooking and technique to hide‘.
Main Course: Proms from park to plate. Which celebrates the music of the classical influenced and grammy award band, Clean Bandit. Veteran Tommy Banks felt elements of the dish were too separate and the judges agreed, Chris has revamped the dish into a picnic.
The judges thought it was the most ‘luxurious‘ picnic, as it goes.
Andi thought Chris had been very clever and Oliver agreed saying it was a ‘dam fine picnic‘.
Dessert: Camden Rocks. Like Lorna’s, the chefs dessert scored a perfect 40 in the regional final. The dessert is based around monkey bread served with fruit and a vanilla soft serve ice cream. Homage to the many musicians like Amy Winehouse who made the burrow their home.
Matthew doesn’t think the dessert needed the fruit, making a joke and saying its like a ‘healthy gesture‘, Andi agreed while Peter thought it gives the dish ‘another level‘ of depth.
Lee Smith, competing for the North-West.
Starter: Beets of the sixties and the British Invasion. Combines beetroot smoked several ways, smoked cream cheese, rocket and peanut pesto. It scored 29/40 in the regional final and its only criticism being the peanut flavour was too strong, so Lee has toned it down and turned up the 60 style.
The judges thought it looked a little bit like a ‘kids painting‘, but beautiful colour to the dish.
Martin enjoyed the sorbet but wasn’t sure about the sweet peanut underneath. Andi thought the pickling was heavy handed, while Matthew was disappointed that the dish lacked beetroot, ‘a cloud of flavours‘. Oliver agreed and said it was a ‘miss of opportunity‘.
Fish Course: A whiter shade of pale. Is named after the track that won the first ever brit award for best British single. It was one of the highest scoring from the regional finals with 31/40. Hoping to outscore his main rival, Lee has made some changes to make his dish more indulgent.
The judges thought the butter sauce was very light, and the crab was too dry.
Oliver really didn’t like the dish and Andi felt like the dish wasn’t ‘luxurious enough‘.
Main Course: Welcome to the nineties, but why all the beef?. Although the lowest scoring dish of all the mains to make it to the finals, its Lee’s favourite. Lee has changed his dish to try and win the judges over and improve his score.
Enjoying the presentation of the dish, the judges couldn’t get enough of the bone marrow jam, which helped pull through the rib-eye.
Oliver thought the dish was ‘much, much improved‘ but still very rich and even though each element of the dish is perfectly executed, Andi didnt think there was enough ‘light and shade‘.
Dessert: Strawberry fields. A highly complex dish in tribute to The Beatles, it received conflicting reviews from veteran Daniel Clifford and the judges earlier in the competition. Lee has tweaked the dish to overcome the levels of sweetness and secure victory.
Matthew enjoyed the sorbet and thought it was ‘much improved‘, but said the cheesecake was ‘crude‘ compared to the other ingredients around it.
Peter is having a great time, seeing the dish as a ‘pic n mix‘, Oliver completely agreed, saying ‘one flavour flows to another‘.
Luke Selby, a highly driven chef from a top restaurant who triumphed in the London and South-East round.
Starter: The British Invasion. Includes a cheese infused custard, served on a bed of hay and a meadow sweet aroma. The dish is inspired the 1960’s British Invasion of UK bands in America, the hay and meadow sweet flavours reference lyrics from The Beatles. In the regional final it scored 32/40, since he first represented the dish he has added a black truffle and mushroom puree.
The judges enjoyed the theatre added to the dish and the taste of the delicate spiralled potato.
Martin thought the colour of the puree was the only element to let the dish ‘down‘. Oliver enjoyed the journey of the dish, but thought it was ‘extremely rich‘ for a first course, while Andi and Matthew couldn’t stop eating.
Fish Course: Rockstars. In honour of the lobster which Luke considers to be the rockstar of the shell fish world. The dish scored an impressive 32/40 in the regional final. The only criticism was the complexity, which Luke has acted upon and removed one of his sauces.
The judges loved the tempura batter, with Andi saying it was like ‘lace‘.
Matthew enjoyed the combination of ‘classic‘ butter sauce and lobster, which Kenya agreed saying it was ‘luxurious and refined all at the same time‘. But for Oliver it was all ‘too smoked‘ and therefore ‘lost‘.
Main Course: Spice. Duck based tribute to the spiced girls, hoping for another number one in the competition. Luke was the highest scoring chef in the main course across all the heats, scoring a 9 from veteran Angela Harnett and a 10 from Andi Oliver.
The judges all enjoyed the puree and aromas coming from the dish. They were all quite disappointed in the lack of ‘magic‘ and ‘spice’ that the dish showed first time around.
Andi and Matthew very enjoyed the cooking of the duck breast, although guest judge Andrew and Oliver thought it was slightly undercooked.
Dessert: Going platinum. Inspired by the UK music industry award that recognises album sales over 300 thousands. Features the classic combination of shortbread, caramel and chocolate.
Peter wanted to keep the record, while Oliver praised the chef on his broken chard.
Unfortunately the ice cream was ‘too silky‘ and ‘soapy‘ for the guest judge, but the flavours didn’t deliver well for the other judges.
The highest scoring chef and representing the Starter at the banquet of the GBM is; Luke Selby.
The highest scoring chef and representing the Fish Course at the banquet of the GBM is; Tom Anglesea.
The highest scoring chef and representing the Main Course at the banquet of the GBM is; Adam Reid.
The highest scoring chef and representing the Dessert at the banquet of the GBM is; Lorna McKnee.