Great British Menu – North West
April 15, 2019
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 – Tom Aikens
Lets meet the chefs…
Liam Simpson-Trotman, who co-owns a high-end gastropub near Henley-on-Thames.
Starter: Culinary Treats & Banging Beets. taking inspiration from Liverpool’s legendary Cream nightclub – the place to be in Britain’s 90s clubbing scene – and sees him transform the humble beetroot into a sophisticated dish he hopes is worthy of serving at the banquet.
Tom thought all the different elements of the cooked beetroot were ‘perfectly executed‘. Although, was disappointed in the croquettes – they needed more ‘finesse‘ to get to the banquet.
Fish Course: That one song. Aims to impress with a simple mackerel dish inspired by a song he used to listen to with his husband while fishing.
Tom loved the approach and presentation of the dish. He also enjoyed the cooking of the mackerel and flavour balance of the miso, however he thought the dish was ‘a little too simple‘, and wished for ‘more creativity‘.
Main Course: Music united us.Desperate to impress with a meal he used to enjoy with his family while playing music at home – spicy barbequed pork with wedges.
Tom loved the flavour of the barbecue sauce, but the triple cooked chips didn’t have the golden brown colour of them that they needed. As the chef pointed out the pork rib was ‘smidge‘ under cooked. Tom also thought it was ‘too simple‘ for a ‘banquet worthy dish‘.
Dessert: What’s your guilty pleasure?. Hoping to tap into the music diners wouldn’t admit to liking, and is based around the flavours of his own guilty pleasure dessert of Black Forest gateau.
Tom loved all the flavour combinations, and thought it was a ‘perfectly balanced dish‘. There was a clear link saying ‘this was definitely your guilty pleasure and greatest hit‘.
Overall Score: 30/40
Adam Reid, chef patrons a top hotel restaurant in Manchester.
Starter: From The Beatles to the Oasis. A refined take on corned beef hash, which he says northers musicians will have eaten through the decades.
Tom could see the connection to where the chef came from and the North, but couldn’t see a ‘real connection‘ in the last 50 years in popular British pop music. He thought the ingredients worked together and were ‘perfectly cooked‘, but wished for more ‘tanginess to cut through the richness‘.
Fish Course: Northern Soul Music. Paying homage with a hearty dish featuring cod and a rich butter sauce.
Tom loved the cooking of the fish and thought it ‘was a clever and well thought out dish‘. However, despite the dish showing a ‘great level of skill and a good plate of food‘, there was no link to understand the last 50 years of British pop music.
Main Course: Comfort food sounds good. Based around a deceptively simple chicken stew – but he is hoping its comforting, homely vibe can secure him a place at the banquet.
Tom enjoyed the dish, saying it was ‘one of his favourite dishes yet‘. Tom couldn’t praise up the cooking and texture of the chicken enough, but there was still ‘no clear connection to the brief‘.
Dessert: Madchester: I am the resurrection. Serving another remake of a classic Northern dish – this time he is resurrecting the treacle tart, in homage to a track by Mancunian band The Stone Roses.
Tom enjoyed the ‘resurrection of the true British dessert‘. He found he had connected ‘very well‘ with the brief, however the granita had too much mint, which took away the orange flavour. Tom was also concerned with the balance with the treacle tart and the garnish was just ‘out of sync‘.
Overall Score: 32/40
Hrishikesh Desai, a Michelin-starred executive chef at a luxury hotel in the Lake District.
Starter: Old is Gold. Hoping the luxurious ingredients of scallop, saffron and caviar will give him victory with his tribute to Great British musical greats.
Tom loved each and individual ingredient on the dish and thought they worked very well together. Even though the saffron carrots was a stolen recipe from Tom Aikens he enjoyed them very much. Tom found the presentation ‘outstanding‘, but thought the caviar was a ‘rogue ingredient‘ and wished he didn’t go ‘over elaborate‘.
Fish Course: Curry & Rock.A complex salmon curry, inspired by the time he taught Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason how to cook Indian food.
Tom thought the dish was ‘very original‘ in both presentation and flavour. He enjoyed the cooking of the salmon and the carrots notes, adding a great addition to the dish. However, the aubergine masala was ‘under seasoned‘ and wished for more ‘spice‘.
Main Course: Kendal Calling and my band is ready.Pushing himself to the limit with a complex multi-part venison dish, inspired by the bands which play at the Kendal Calling music festival, held near his restaurant in the Lake District.
Tom enjoyed the venison, the potato piano and the ‘rich, intense sauce‘. However, he was visually wanting to see a band on the plate. Saying that the dish didn’t then ‘fit the brief‘ as chef described it.
Dessert: And the winner is..Attempting another highly complex dish, with no less than 13 elements. Perfecting them all could see him secure a place in the national final.
Tom was concerned he had taken this dish a little too far, with the 13 elements, however he ‘smashed it and made it the greatest hit yet‘. Tom went onto explain how he thought this was one of his ‘strongest dishes all week‘.
Overall Score: 36/40
The two highest scoring chefs going through to the judges round will be; Hrishikesh Desai & Adam Reid.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Liam Simpson-Trotman.
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. Multi-million selling singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald.
Lets see how the chefs got on…
Hrishikesh Desai, ended the heats number one impressing Tom Aikens with vibrant complex dishes showing a delicate mix of spices.
Starter: Old is Gold. Sticking to his guns Hrishikesh is keeping to the caviar within the dish.
The judges loved the presentation.
Andi found the carrot really pleasing, while Amy enjoyed the crunch from the hazelnuts, saying that ‘every mouthful you get something different‘.
Matthew enjoyed the puree, but wished for more caviar as the amount wasn’t enough to have an ‘effect‘.
Oliver couldn’t taste the scallops, and couldn’t ‘see the point in having an ingredient in the dish that cannot be tasted‘.
Fish Course: Curry & Rock. He has livened the dish up by adding really oomph to the dish.
The judges loved the creative carrot notes, and thought the dish was lovely’.
Oliver explained the dish as ‘busy‘, and thought it was an ‘OK‘ dish.
Andi didn’t think flavour went well together, while Amy thought it was ‘delicious‘.
Main Course: Kendal Calling and my band is ready. The chef had added a guitar of pickled beetroot, to show a better connection with the brief.
The judges enjoyed the ‘incredible eye to detail‘.
Oliver thought the kofta was incredibly ‘over seasoned‘, Amy agreed saying ‘once you’ve had the kofta, you can’t really taste anything else‘.
Matthew enjoyed the truffle mash, but wish there ‘was a lot more‘.
Dessert: And the winner is. Chef is trying to replicate the 10 point Tom Aikens had gave him.
The judges appreciated how hard the chef has worked.
Oliver thought the dish was ‘really brilliant’. Amy could see the clear connection to the brief, and even felt like a winner herself after eating the dessert.
Matthew could see clearly why Tom Aikens had scored it a top 10 and Andi agreed.
Adam Reid, ended 4 points behind, earning praise for homely dishes with a Northern character.
Starter: From The Beatles to the Oasis. Making a tweak by adding a card to explain the connection with the brief.
The judges admired the handmade pottery and were all very ‘overwhelmed‘ by the dish.
Oliver loved the backstory to the dish and thought the tartar was ‘really well balanced‘, calling the dish a ‘beast‘.
Matthew appreciated the finely diced elements, while Andi enjoyed the butter.
Fish Course: Northern soul music. Again the chef has added a card to create a better connection.
The judges loved the colours and saying the presentation ‘gorgeous‘.
Oliver loved the balance of flavours within the dish and Amy agreed, saying ‘it worked very well with the brief‘.
Andi was disappointed in the cod cheeks, saying it was too ‘coarse‘, while Matthew said ‘yes to Northern soul‘.
Main Course: Comfort food sounds good. The chef wants to replicate his highest score again today, by following with the chicken.
The judges appreciated that the chef had already carved the chicken.
Andi believed he had cooked the crown to ‘perfection‘, while Oliver admired all the flavours.
All the judges agreed, saying it was a ‘10‘ and delivered a ‘perfect homely dish‘.
Dessert: Madchester: I am the resurrection. The chef had taken Tom Aikens comments into consideration and put less mint leaves within the granita.
Andi thought the dessert was ‘treacly all in the right areas‘.
Amy thought the dessert ‘was amazing‘. Unfortunately Oliver thought it was his ‘least successful dish of the day‘.
The highest scoring chef and representing the North East in the final of the GBM is; Adam Reid.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Hrishikesh Desai.