Great British Menu 2019 – Northern Ireland
May 17, 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 – Tommy Banks.
Lets meet the chefs…
Chris McClurg, from County Down is head chef at Paul Ainsworth’s Michelin-starred restaurant No.6, in Padstow, Cornwall.
Starter: Brixton Academy Through the Years. Refining his take on classic lamb, post-gig junk food he ate after nights out at Brixton academy.
Tommy appreciated the chefs enthusiasm to the dish but had to reassure that he wasn’t the judge. The veteran enjoyed the hoggit and really ‘nailed‘ the flatbreads. However, he didn’t miss the the oyster and suggested to take it off.
Fish Course: Champagne Supernova. Using scallops for his Oasis-inspired dish.
Tommy said the dish was ‘delicious‘, the scallops were cooked to ‘perfection‘ and was happy that he had put his own twist to a classic dish. However, he missed the sweet flavour from the scallop he wanted and suggested to take back on the seasoning from the crisps.
Main Course: The Proms, From Park to Plate. Using guinea fowl, his inspiration is proms in the park and the British artists who mix classical and modern music styles.
Tommy enjoyed the ‘perfectly cooked‘ guinea fowl, but felt he had two separate dishes and not sure if they ate well together.
Dessert: Inspired by the music and food heritage of London’s Camden Town and pairs muscovado monkey bread with soft serve vanilla ice cream.
Tommy enjoyed the expertly baked monkey bread and the flavour of the ice cream. Unfortunately, the allotment jewels didn’t make sense to add in ‘almost raw fruits‘.
Overall Score: 33/40
Alex Greene, from County Down is head chef at Michelin-starred Deane’s Eipic in Belfast.
Starter: Breakfast: Oh You Pretty Things. Taking inspiration from the artists over the decades that have sung about the first meal of the day.
Tommy enjoyed the pickled mushrooms, well made dashi and thought the broth was the ‘star of the dish‘. Unfortunately the flavours weren’t carried out throughout the dish and was under-seasoned.
Fish Course: Coney Island and Dundrum Bay. A tribute to Van Morrison.
Tommy felt he was transported to Coney Island through the aroma and taste of dish. The veteran loved the quality of shellfish and how the chef had cooked it ‘perfectly‘. The only negative would be the cutting from the pasta.
Main Course: The Butchers Story, Jealous of the Angels. Commemorates his late bother and the song by Northern Ireland artist Donna Taggart that he associates with the difficult time of his death.
Tommy enjoyed the meat that was served but wished there was more smoke to it and wasn’t really a completed dish.
Dessert: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.Inspired by The Beatles and their Apple record label promises to reimagine the humble apple as am edible sculpture.
Tommy loved the concept, and said it was a wonderful piece of ‘craftsmanship‘. However, he couldn’t taste the flavour of the Granny Smith apple and that was due to the temperature of the dish.
Overall Score: 33/40
Glen Wheeler, from Fermanagh is chef patron at the Michelin-recommened 28 Darling Street in Enniskillen.
Starter: Hip Hop. Ode to the British hip hop and, fittingly, put rabbit in the limelight with a stuffed saddle, cep and rabbit ravioli all united with a wild mushroom foam and black garlic puree.
Tommy enjoyed the cooking of the rabbit and how the dish livened his senses when the lid was taken off, and wanted to truly ‘dig in‘. However he wished the ravioli was more delicately made and thought the black puree was ‘too strong‘ and overpowered.
Fish Course: A Whiter Shade of Pale. Procul Harem tribute featuring John Dory, will be all white on the night.
Tommy thought the dish was clever and was very happy with the cooking of the Jon dory. Unfortunately some of the other elements lacked seasoning.
Main Course: Glaston-Bird.A chicken dish that he serves in a model of the pyramid stage at Glastonbury complete with stage smoke.
Tommy enjoyed the fun presentation and the cooking of the meat. However, the sauce had lost the food and thought was very safe.
Dessert: Champagne Pavlova. Pavola based homage to his favourite band Oasis.
Tommy enjoyed the construction and refinement of the dish, and was pleasantly surprised there was still a lot of gooey meringue. However, he wished for more sweetness in the dish.
Overall Score: 31/40
The two highest scoring chefs going through to the judges round will be; Chris McClurgy & Alex Greene.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Glen Wheeler.
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 of the pop stars the banquet will celebrate, rapper – Loyle Carner.
Lets see how the chefs got on…
Alex Greene, starting low and finishing the week on a high and neck and neck with his rival.
Starter: Breakfast: Oh you pretty things.
The judges enjoyed the warm bread.
Matthew was confused by the ‘carpet underlay‘ (mushroom sausage), Loyle agreed and thought it was ‘under whelming’.
Oliver and Andi didnt think it was a ‘banquet dish‘.
Fish Course: Coney Island and Dundrum Bay. Listening to Tommy Banks, Alex decides to change the pattern within the pasta.
Matthew enjoyed, ‘the plump little cushions of marine flavours‘ (cockles).
Andi enjoyed the broth and Loyle liked the idea of the fish net.
All the judges thought that the salmon was a bit too ‘bland‘ and Oliver was upset that the chef hadn’t gone ‘wild and crazy‘ with the brief.
Main Course: The Butchers Story: Jealous of the Angels. Listening to Tommy, Alex is adding more veg.
The judges were overwhelmed with the ‘beautiful flavours‘ and couldn’t get enough of the fillet.
Loyle loved the dish, especially praising up the veg, Oliver agreed saying that you can see the connection with the dish and the brief.
Dessert: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away. This time Alex checks a spare, to hope it’s fully defrosted.
The judges were happy with the ‘beautiful‘ presentation and the fluffy mousse.
Matthew was very impressed with the technical skill gone into the dessert and Oliver agreed.
Chris McClurg, started the week on a high note from Tommy Banks before his scores took a slide.
Starter: Brixton Academy: Through the years. The chef doesn’t listen to the veteran advice, and still adds the oyster element.
The judges enjoyed the concept of the starter and made Loyle very happy.
Andi and Matthew enjoyed the spicy elements, although was a bit underwhelmed by the lack of seasoning on the hoggit.
Fish Course: Champagne Supernova. Taking the tarragon out of the dish, to not over power the other flavours.
The judges enjoyed the ‘taste of sea‘ crisps and the scallop that was presented.
Andi thought the puree was very clever to add, as the scallop was so big.
Oliver loved the balance of flavours and the dish overall, Matthew agreed calling it ‘classy‘.
Main Course: The Proms, from Park to Plate. Chris is taking a gamble and not changing anything to his dish.
The judges enjoyed the cracker on top.
Oliver thought the Caesar salad was great but thought the stuffing had taken the lime light away from the guinea fowl. Loyle agreed, although not wanting to.
Dessert: Camden Rocks.
The judges couldn’t get enough of the vanilla salt on the ice cream.
Loyle enjoyed the monkey bread, saying it was ‘insane‘, Andi couldn’t of agreed more.
Although Oliver was confused why the fruit was there.
The highest scoring chef and representing the Scotland in the final of the GBM is; Chris McClurgy.
Unfortunately saying bye and good luck for the future to Alex Greene.