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 – Phil Howard.
Lets meet the chefs…
Tom Westerland is a former National Chef of Wales and head chef of the Brasserie at Lucknam Park in Wiltshire.
Starter: Top of the Crop. Features a rabbit Kiev, turnip puree and pickled vegetables. It is jointly inspired by memories of watching Top of the Pops on television as a child and also his father’s vegetable garden.
Phil loved the link to the brief, he also enjoyed the seasoning saying it was a ‘tasty plate of food to eat‘. However, wished for more crunch on the pickled vegetables and didn’t think it was ‘elegant‘ enough to be ‘banquet worthy‘.
Fish Course: Sunny Afternoon. The Stereophonics cover of The Kink’s Hit Sunny Afternoon is the inspiration behind Tom’s dish, which also conjures up memories of childhood holidays on the Welsh coast.
Phil really enjoyed the quality of the grilled fish and the side cone was a ‘10/10 bite‘. However, the tomato essence needed more horseradish and the style of the dish was just ‘too simple‘.
Main Course: The Cow Shed. Westy’s beef dish is named after a former stage at the Glastonbury festival.
Phil thought the beef was cooked well and tender, as well as all the vegetables being delicious. But, the chef didn’t believe the consommé had a place in the dish, as it turned the potatoes soggy and ‘failed to unite‘ all the elements he had on the plate.
Dessert: God Save the Queen. Playing homage to his music idols The Sex Pistols. He battles to create an Eton mess with colours of the Union Jack but can he pull it off.
Phil thought this was the most ‘strongest‘ take on the theme and could see it going straight through to the banquet. But, Phil didn’t believe the element of an Eton mess being ‘messy‘ was lost.
Overall Score: 24/40
Cindy Challoner is the former head chef at prestigious teaching restaurant The Classroom in Cardiff.
Starter: Green, Green, Grass of the Home. She has opted to make a deconstructed version of the classic welsh dish lamb Cawl, which includes a savoury Caerphilly cheese welsh cake as well as notoriously tricky consommé.
Phil enjoyed the brief and her creativity, to take something traditional and refine it more. However, the consommé needed to be more clearer and the lamb lacked flavour as well as tenderness.
Fish Course: I Don’t Know Where Im Going from Here But I Promise It Won’t Be Boring. Features soused and grilled mackerel with beetroot and rhubarb – all flamboyantly presented in celebration of David Bowie.
Phil thought it was inventive and ‘played tribute to David Bowie‘ through her presentation. He enjoyed the plate and balance of flavours. However, the puree’s were too small and too acidic.
Main Course: Spice Up Your Life. Spice Girls-inspired beef main course, involves an unusual and risky combination of wasabi and horseradish that she is hoping will set her apart from the other two chefs.
Phil enjoyed the seasoning and cooking of the beef, the shallot puree and plenty of flavour the jus. However, the spice needed more of a ‘punch‘ and wasn’t sure if the ‘east meet west‘ thing pulled off.
Dessert: Our Number One. Celebrates the unsung heroes of the music industry. She has already taken risks with various degrees of success and now she takes the riskiest of all – a dessert that requires a molecular gastronomy technique.
Phil loved the ‘classical combination‘ of chocolate and strawberry. However, the key of this competition is preparation and rehearsal and Phil was concerned that she hadn’t tried everything together until the end.
Overall Score: 21/40
Andy Sheridan, formerly of Sosban restaurant in Llanelli, returning to the competition for his second attempt at making it to the banquet.
Starter: Green, Green, Grass of Home. A very personal interpretation of the brief celebrating the journey he makes through the welsh valleys to visit his children every fortnight with an additional not to Welsh music legend Sir Tom Jones.
Phil said it was a ‘well executed and tasty plate of food‘, he enjoyed the cooking of the lamb, the portion size and all the individual elements. However the dressing of the plate needed to be re-thought out and wished for some acidity to be ‘picky‘.
Fish Course: Top of the Cods. Reinvents his childhood favourite dish of fish and chips that he used to eat whilst watching Top of the Pops.
Phil loved the ‘take on the theme‘, the ‘richness‘ from the mayonnaise and the cooking of the cod. However, the triple cooked chips didn’t have the ‘crunch‘ he was hoping for and wasn’t a fan of the lemon gel.
Main Course: Rockfield, Cigarettes and Alcohol.Cooking venison in celebration of his favourite band, Oasis. He accompanies the loin with rhubarb and beetroot ketchup, black pudding puree, pickled beetroot and a pistachio crumb.
Phil said it was a ‘delicious plate of food that was well executed‘ and enjoyed the combination of flavours that linked to the brief. However, he disagreed with the starch element and needed some ‘proper crunch‘.
Dessert: Goldfinger. Tribute to legendary Welsh songstress Dame Shirley Bassey. It is a symphony of chocolate and coffee with bling decoration befitting the diva herself.
Phil thought it was an ‘indulgence of chocolate‘ and loved the link with the film.However, wished for something alcohol in there to lift the big flavours and wasn’t quite ‘elegant‘ enough.
Overall Score: 33/40
The two highest scoring chefs going through to the judges round will be; Andy Sheridan & Tom Westy.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Cindy Challoner.
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 – A former boy band star, from JLS – J.B.
Lets see how the chefs got on…
Andy Sheridan got this far last year, but the judges didn’t send him to the national finals.
Starter: Andy has taken Phil’s advice, and opted to cook his cook his lamb belly more slowly.
The judges were concerned for how many elements they were in his starter, however were pleasantly surprised with the presentation and ingredients.
Andi loved the saltiness to the lamb belly and JB agreed, saying it wasn’t ‘overpowering‘ and would happily ‘demolish‘ it all.
Matthew and Oliver thought the dish was ‘beautiful‘, saying it was an ‘harmonious piece of cooking‘.
Fish Course: Top of the Cods. Andi sure’s to fry his triple cooked chips until crispy.
Andi and JB loved the cod, especially the different ways he had cooked the fish. All the other judges agreed.
Oliver knows that Andy understands the balance of flavour, but didn’t quite think it was a banquet dish saying it lacked ‘rock n roll‘.
Matthew also thought the dish was nicely done, but didn’t think ‘wowza‘.
Main Course: Rockfield, cigarettes and alcohol. Andy has added fondant potatoes, as Phil thought his dish was lacking a starchy element.
The judges enjoyed the smells and presentation from the dish.
Andi enjoyed the fondant potato, Matthew agreed and was happy he listened to Phil Howard’s advice.
Oliver thought the black pudding was a unique element to the dish, JB agreed saying ‘YES‘ to Matthew’s question ‘is it exciting enough?’
Dessert: Goldfinger. Andy has added more gelatine for more of a wobble to his panna cotta. Also changing his plates, from comments he had been given earlier on in the week.
Andi was amazed by the lightness of the panna cotta. Matthew was surprised with how the bitterness had worked very well within the dish because everything else was ‘so creamy’.
Oliver thought there was ‘too much‘ gelatine in the panna cotta, and Andi said she could of done ‘without the brownie‘. The other judges disagreed, saying the ‘brownie linked everything else up together‘.
All the judges needed some more ‘theatre‘ and ‘dazzle dazzle‘ to show of Shirley Bassey.
Tom Westy aims to take a place in the finals.
Starter: Top of the Crops. Westy had decided against Phil Howard and isn’t changing anything in his dish.
The judges loved the aroma coming from the dish & the thought of a ‘rabbit Kiev’.
Matthew enjoyed the turnip puree and the pickling of the carrots. Where as Andi wished for more ‘bite‘ in her beetroot.
Oliver was disappointed into the rabbit Kiev, saying the ‘garlic was overpowering the flavour of the rabbit‘. JB agreed, and the dish didn’t ‘knock him off his feet‘.
Fish Course: Sunny Afternoon.Westy has decided to listen to Phil and added more of an horseradish punch to his broth.
The judges enjoyed the link to the brief and the side dish cone, saying it had ‘lovely sunny flavours‘.
JB loved the mackerel, but thought it ‘didn’t compliment anything else‘ on this dish.
Oliver was concerned with the raw tomatoes, while Andi suggested the dish ‘falls flat‘.
Main Course: The Cow Shed. Phil thought the consommé made the dish too soggy, but once again Westy has chosen not to listen to the veterans advice.
All the judges thought the cooking of the fillet was ‘delicious’ and enjoyed the buttery leeks underneath.
JB loved the ox cheek saying it ‘melted in his mouth‘.
Oliver didn’t think the dish needed the broth, Matthew agreed saying the broth made the potatoes ‘slightly soggy‘.
Dessert: God Save the Queen. Westy has decided to listen to Phil’s advice and mix everything together to get more of a ‘mess’.
Even though the judges loved the colours, they thought the chocolate shell was a bit too thick to break.
Andi wasn’t a fan of the dessert, saying it was ‘a lot of sweet stuff compacted in a small space‘.
JB didn’t see the point of the sorbet, saying it was just ‘another element‘.
Oliver enjoyed the concept, but didn’t think the dish delivered.
The highest scoring chef and representing the Scotland in the final of the GBM is; Andy Sheridan
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Tom Westy.