Creative culinary competition. This week is the north west regional heats and three ambitious newcomers are competing to win a place in the national finals.
Browse content similar to North West Starter. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
This year on Great British Menu...
The pressure is really immense right now.
-..24 of the country's most talented chefs...
-Hold on to your hats.
-The pressure's on.
-..are fighting it out in the toughest competition
of their lives...
-Man, I'm nervous.
-I think I'm the most nervous one out of you both.
-I'm going to flip out!
-..as previous competitors...
Yeah, I'm quietly confident.
-..and ambitious newcomers...
-Don't jinx me.
..go head-to-head for the chance to cook at this year's banquet -
celebrating 140 years of the iconic Wimbledon Championships...
..the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world.
Go, go, go!
To get there, the chefs must create outstanding dishes which match
the exceptional skill and flair of the tournament's greatest champions...
-..and celebrate the incredible smells, colours and tastes...
..of the best of British summertime.
I've never tasted a plate of food like that.
First, they'll have to impress a formidable veteran of the competition...
You completely ignored the brief. I think you're miles off.
..who between them hold a total of eight Michelin stars.
The presentation of this dish was stunning.
This week, competing to represent the North West are three
-..all striving for success.
-Everyone has got high hopes.
But only two can make it through to cook for the judges on Friday.
-Tasting good, never mind looking good.
Getting a bit cocky over there, are we, eh?
This year marks the 140th anniversary of the Wimbledon
The competition first took place in 1877 and since then...
-You cannot be serious!
-..has become the ultimate Grand Slam tournament...
That's absolutely fantastic.
..attracting the greatest players from around the globe and
-signalling the start of the British summer.
-Straight sets again!
Wimbledon champion again!
This week, competing to represent the North West,
three chefs who are new to the Great British Menu kitchen.
26-year-old Tom Parker, the youngest competitor this year.
My food is about simple, clean, honest flavours.
It's cooked with a lot of love and passion and I'm here to let my food do the talking.
Self-taught chef Ellis Barrie, who's determined to impress with
-his own distinctive style.
-I started my own restaurant when I was 19.
I've pushed and pushed and pushed to make it a success and
I intend to do exactly the same in this competition.
And Paul Askew, the most experienced chef competing this year,
who's unfazed by his opponents.
I've got the experience in the kitchen.
Those boys had better watch out because I'm going to show them who's boss.
Umpiring is a former Great British Menu winner whose dishes got to
the banquet on two separate occasions...
-This is it, this is happening.
-I'm feeling really sort of giddy
right now waiting for this veteran to come in.
-Don't know whether to laugh or cry.
-Let the games begin.
..a veteran known for his exacting standards
and the holder of two Michelin stars - Daniel Clifford.
Good morning. Welcome to the Great British Menu. How are you feeling?
-Apprehensive, excited. A little bit nervous.
-I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully I've got what it takes.
-I'm excited for it. I'm very nervous.
Well, at the end of the day, today is all about putting decent food on plates.
It's the most difficult thing I've ever done.
It took me three years to get to the banquet, so just enjoy what
you're doing and do your best, because that's all you can do.
-Thank you, Chef.
-Thank you, Chef.
-I don't know whether I'm relieved or excited.
-It's going to be tough.
Today, the chefs will be cooking their starters,
but only the best dishes stand a chance of making it through
to the Taste of Summer banquet.
So you're a bit happier now you've met Mr Clifford?
-Rather nervous still.
-Made it a bit worse cooking for a two-star chef.
Wimbledon's motto is "In pursuit of greatness".
I want them to bring great food into this kitchen and wow me.
Burnley-born Tom is hoping the bright summer ingredients in
his dish - More Balls Please -
will give him the edge over his competitors.
-Good morning, Tom.
-I'm all right.
-How are you?
-Yeah, not too bad. And the inspiration behind this?
So it's based around my childhood memories of being at my grandad's.
My grandad is, like, a genius tomato grower.
It's just coming back to being a kid, like,
walking through his greenhouses, picking stuff off,
so it's tomato salad, a very chilled one,
with some goat's cheese and basil and lots of fresh herbs.
So with the goat's cheese, what are you doing with the goat's cheese?
So the goat's cheese, I'm making an ice cream and then we've got lots
-What's the marriage there?
-It's just a good combo.
They're both very clean flavours, the strawberries add a good bit of sweetness to it as well.
You know, fresh tomato salad is absolutely amazing.
Strawberries is a bit of a shocker.
I'm really hoping that them two flavours come together. Good luck.
Thank you very much.
Tom's dish, my biggest concern is, is this going to be
impressive enough to get him all the way to the final?
Self-taught Ellis has drawn inspiration from
a traditional summertime song for his dish, Sumer Is Icumen In.
-Ellis, how are you?
So, a beautiful array of ingredients here.
Yes, so my dish, Sumer Is Icumen.
Sumer Is Icumen is one of the oldest
-traditional folk songs on record.
So it goes back into the 1300s
and they sang this to welcome the summer.
Are you going to be able to sing this for me?
Well, we'll see how far we get!
The inspiration is summer and families,
-so we've gone with the cucurbit family.
-and some lovely summer-grown...
I've taken a bit of the Wimbledon idea of a bit of a picnic.
You've got the gin and tonic,
-the oysters and the cucumber sandwich.
So I'm not making an actual cucumber sandwich but there will be a
soda bread to go with the dish. I'm serving that with an oyster butter.
-You're making your own butter?
-I'm making my own butter.
And the pork lardo,
it gives that nice meatiness, because cucumber sandwiches
is always better with a little bit of bacon or whatnot on top.
OK. You are looking in my eyes like this is a true winner.
-Bish bash bosh.
Ellis's dish, he's doing everything you can do with a cucumber,
he's serving it with some beautiful bacon and some oysters,
but it could be cucumber, oysters and a little bit of bread.
Paul is hoping his years of experience will see him triumph today.
He's using his favourite local ingredients
to pay tribute to a Wimbledon champion.
Morning, Chef, are you all right?
-I'm good, how are you?
-Yes, very good. Excited?
-Very excited, yeah.
OK. So what's the name of the dish?
So it's called The Little Wonder, and it's named after
a fabulous lady from my hometown, and she won Wimbledon five times.
-What's her name?
the youngest ever lady to win Wimbledon.
So what's the connection between Lottie Dod and your asparagus?
Well, our region is known for fantastic production of asparagus,
so, for me, the asparagus is a little wonder, and so was Lottie.
So what are we going to serve with the asparagus?
Duck eggs, and I've married that up with some summer truffle.
The other ingredient that we're really well known for
on the Wirral in particular on Merseyside is watercress
and I'm looking to finish the salad with that.
Duck egg, asparagus, watercress and fresh truffle.
I'm worried, is his dish just a little bit too simple?
With two young chefs up against Paul's years of experience,
everybody's hoping their dishes will give them an early lead.
Have you always liked food, Paul?
-Well, look at me, mate!
I've had years of practice, yes.
-Yes, but it is going to be anyone's game.
-Game on, I say, gentlemen.
-Game on indeed.
Classically trained Paul is looking to impress Daniel by perfectly
executing his simple-sounding asparagus and duck egg starter.
He begins by placing his smoked bacon on a baking tray,
ready to go into the oven to crisp up.
Next he peels and trims his asparagus before blanching
in stock until al dente, and plunging into iced water.
-Are you worried about anything in particular?
-A little bit
with the duck egg. If you don't get absolutely timed to perfection
so that it's still gooey in the middle.
I just need to go and take my bacon out of the...oven.
-Don't burn it!
Paul has spent 25 years cooking in kitchens around the world,
and is now chef-proprietor of The Art School Restaurant in Liverpool.
I'm a classically French-trained chef but I have a lot of
global influences from Dubai, Singapore, from New York.
-We've got one mackerel, one duck egg...
I've cooked for some very high-profile guests,
such as the Queen, and I know what it takes to get these dishes onto
a banquet for such a celebration, and that's what I'm going to do.
Paul's inspiration for his starter is tennis player Lottie Dod,
who came from the small town of Bebington on the Wirral,
where Paul went to school.
Outside the house where Lottie once lived,
Paul's come to meet Natalie Fitch, a local amateur historian
with a fascination for the pioneering sportswoman.
Lottie was born in September 1871.
Her father had made a fortune in the cotton trade
and so her and her brother never had to work.
Wow, so she had plenty of time to play a bit of tennis.
-No wonder she did all right, I guess, isn't it?
She won Wimbledon singles five times.
The first time she won she was only aged 15.
She was the first female player to volley and smash
and she even played against men and beat them.
It's quite inspiring to hear all the exploits of Lottie Dod
and I just hope that the dish that I've produced, my Little Wonder,
will match up to all the things that she's done.
Back in the kitchen Tom is working on his two-part dish, More Balls Please -
a tomato salad served with a goat's cheese ice cream.
He starts by moulding pastry cones.
These cones I'm making now, they can, like, crack.
They can just dissolve with the ice cream and stuff like that.
It's going to be fun.
Next he moves on to his tennis balls themed salad
by blanching multicoloured baby tomatoes
before plunging into iced water and peeling.
I think the dishes have to scream out summer
or we're going to be in real trouble, aren't we?
-How did you get into it, Tom?
-I don't know.
I've just always been cooking with Granny, Granny when I was younger.
-I always knew I wanted to be a chef, from a very young age.
Tom grew up in Burnley, Lancashire, and is now
head chef at the White Swan in Fence, just outside the town.
My style of cooking is a very simple style of cooking,
it's all about sauces and great-quality produce.
I think that my food is worthy of a Michelin star
and it's only a matter of time.
Tom's starter is inspired by his grandparents...
Hi, Granny, Grandad, how are you?
..and by his childhood memories of his grandad growing tomatoes.
Fresh-picked tomato, you don't get...
it's not like you get in the supermarket, where they just...
Tom wants his grandad's advice on the best tomatoes to use for his dish.
I would use baby plum or baby cherry.
I'm using tomatoes in my starter.
You know, they love tomatoes and grow tomatoes.
My grandad's Mr Tomato, you know, it's been absolutely like...
It's a dish for them.
Well, we think he's the greatest!
We think he's the greatest and he has the talent to be successful.
Ellis is working on his complex dish...
Go, go, go!
Sumer Is Icumen In, a celebration of the cucumber family,
with six different cucumber elements.
For his compressed cucumber he places chunks into a vacuum bag,
adds juice made from cucumber skins
and vac-packs to intensify the flavour.
Next he kneads the dough for his soda bread,
before cutting into small portions.
The beauty about this recipe is there's no proving,
you know, I can get it kneaded up and let it rest
for a little bit before going into the oven.
-Have you ever tried any of these ovens before?
-Dangerous, mate, dangerous.
Originally from Liverpool, Ellis now cooks on the North Wales coast
at the restaurant he and his family built from a potting shed
at his parents' caravan park.
I describe myself as a Scouse Welshman.
I was born in Liverpool but I've had a restaurant on Anglesey
since I was 19. I'm just proud to represent the North West.
The Marram Grass has been described as a place of culinary pilgrimage.
For us, we just let the food speak for itself,
keeping it honest and simple, and that is what we're all about.
Despite Ellis receiving none of the formal training of his rivals,
he's feeling confident about his chances in the competition.
I'd like people to take me for who I am, to notice my personality,
and hopefully notice the quality of food I put out on the plate,
because it is good.
Ellis runs his restaurant with his brother Liam
and he's keen to see what he makes of his summer starter.
So I'm taking my childhood memories, obviously eating sandwiches
on the beach, and using that in the competition,
so remember those soggy, sandy, cucumber sandwiches
we used to eat on the beach, off Mother?
-She hasn't made us some more, has she?
-These are mine.
Eat it first, then I'll tell you what's on it after.
-Is there sand on it?
No, I don't want sand on it.
So what do you think?
-They're good. That's really good.
-Oyster and cucumber.
I think he belongs in this competition,
I think he can go all the way and show people what they're missing.
Back in the kitchen Paul has almost finished his simple starter.
He's working on the duck egg centrepiece of his summer salad.
To eggs he adds truffle oil and parsley,
Got it three minutes, 20 seconds. Straight out, into ice,
make sure it's OK, and then it just goes back into the steamer
for literally 20 seconds, so it's warm going on the plate.
Next Paul moves on to his watercress puree.
You all right, Paul, what are you making?
I've got a nice little watercress puree here.
I want to do some dots on the plate just for the presentation
-as well as the salad.
-Can I try it?
-Still adjusting the seasoning, but we're getting there.
I'm quite happy with it at the moment.
Paul has made a watercress puree.
I'm concerned it's too traditional.
I don't see how that's going to lift the dish.
Across the kitchen Tom has a long list of intricate tasks
to complete for his complex two-part dish, More Balls Please.
He makes a tomato tea consomme before leaving the mixture to drain.
Next he works on a red onion caramel.
-You all right, Tom?
-Hello, Chef, are you all right?
-Not too bad.
-Are you doing the washing up?
-It looks like it, doesn't it?
-It does, doesn't it?
-I'm just squeezing juice out of onions.
Onions. I thought we were making a tomato consomme.
No, it is a tomato consomme,
it's just that this is going to be made into a caramel which
goes on top of the ice cream, so like a red onion caramel.
-So all this work just for a tiny bit of syrup on top of the ice cream?
-Yes, correct, yes.
Tom's onion caramel, it needs reducing.
It classically should go really well with the goat's cheese,
I'm just concerned it's going to be bitter.
Like Tom, self-taught Ellis has plenty of work left to do.
He's moved on to his oyster butter,
which he'll serve alongside his soda bread.
-Ellis, where are we?
So we've got a 50% oyster puree,
-which we've just cooked off in the thermo, mixed in with butter...
..which we made ourselves to get the buttermilk to the bread.
So you've got half butter, half oyster. Can I try it?
Yeah, have a go, yeah. It just needs whipping up a little bit more.
Is that strong enough in oyster?
I think so, yeah, I've also put a little bit of oyster leaf in there.
I tasted the oyster butter.
It IS curdled, and really, can you call it oyster butter
when it doesn't taste of oyster?
Paul is first to the pass with his dish, Little Wonder,
in tribute to five-time Wimbledon champion Lottie Dod.
He starts with goat's cheese curd,
then add the spears of jumbo asparagus.
Next his watercress puree
and watercress leaves.
So what are you doing with the bacon, Paul?
So we've got some little shards of bacon,
just as a little bit of extra texture.
I was worried that everything was very soft on the plate.
To finish, Paul plates his truffle duck egg
and tops with smoked pork crumbs and vinaigrette.
He presents with a newspaper and billboard which explains his Wimbledon story.
-What do you think, boys?
-It looks really good.
Presentation is cool. Nice and simple.
-Shall we go and try it, Paul?
-That would be great, Chef.
-OK, I'll bring this, do you want to bring the dish?
So, The Little Wonder, Lottie Dod, a famous Liverpudlian.
-I think it definitely hits the brief.
-Yes, I agree.
-So, this is the duck egg.
Is this the consistency you wanted?
I'm pleased with the cooking of the egg.
I think it's still nice and runny, almost like a natural hollandaise.
-There we are.
-It is cooked well, eh?
-It's cooked well, yes.
The flavour of truffle is really coming through on that.
Hopefully not too much though.
The asparagus, is this going to be served warm?
This is a cold element because I felt the warm egg and
the releasing of the egg yolk across the asparagus would be more fitting.
I think if the asparagus was warm it would change
-the whole perception of the dish.
Cheese and truffles, eggs, bacon, it's like a really good breakfast.
Have you hit the brief?
For me, it absolutely heralds the beginning of summer.
Has it been done before, you know, is it a bit too safe?
Yeah, I agree, he could have played safe on that one.
-Aye-aye, how was that?
I was glad to get the first one out.
So what did you think about The Little Wonder?
We were saying maybe a bit on the safe side, maybe on the...
Oh, really? Cheeky!
I'm making mental notes here, Ellis.
Next up to the pass is Ellis with his complex dish, Sumer Is Icumen In.
But with plating up only minutes away
he's yet to complete all of his elements.
-How are you getting on?
-The stress is hitting,
just trying to make sure I've got everything done.
He blowtorches his compressed cucumber and tops with pork lardo...
A very traditional method, this.
..then removes his baked soda bread from the oven.
Finally ready, Ellis places his compressed cucumber in the centre of his plate,
followed by cucumber tagliatelle filled with courgette puree.
Next he adds oyster puree, rice wine gel and dried olive crisps.
Then pickled cucamelons and courgette pearls,
with cucumber flowers for garnish.
Finally he pours his gin and cucumber cocktail into glasses.
Hey, mate, we'll have our gin and tonics double strength, yeah?
He places all the elements into picnic hampers
and serves to the tune of the song that inspired his dish.
MUSIC: Sumer Is Icumen In
Sumer Is Icumen.
-Are you ready?
-Let's go for it.
-Is that what you expected?
-No, not at all.
-I want to taste it now, to be fair.
-Yes, me too. Let's go and taste it.
-Are you happy?
-I'm happy, yeah. I mean, I really...I do love this.
-Let's hope it tastes as good as it looks.
-It certainly looks like a little plate of summer, doesn't it?
This is compressed cucumber.
-Do you like that?
-Maybe a bit more charred.
For me it could be burnt a bit more as well,
it brings a really nice smoky flavour out of the cucumber,
when you give it a real hit on the chargrill.
Is this the consistency you wanted from the bread?
Yes, it was nice and light. You know, so I got it out just in time.
I think I find the bread a bit too strong for the oyster butter for me.
-And the butter?
-The butter's bang on, you get oyster right through.
I think that's my kind of summer celebration, isn't it?
I think it's light, it's done what I wanted it to do,
which is sort of a nice, fresh start.
What would you score your dish?
I think a good seven and if I can tweak the flavours
then I think I'm onto a winner.
-How did you get on?
-Yes, that was harder than I thought.
I think it's a good dish and I think it's got a lot of potential.
Tom is last to the pass with his two-part dish, More Balls Please.
For his salad he starts by placing balls of marinated baby tomatoes into bowls.
He adds compressed cucumber, watermelon,
strawberries and lime gel balls,
then pours in the tomato tea consomme.
Now it's the fun bit.
Next he pipes goat's cheese mousse into pastry cones,
and scoops of goat's cheese ice cream...
At least it is holding, eh?
..and tops with his red onion caramel and dehydrated ham.
-What do you think?
-I think it looks really elegant.
Yes, I love the freshness of the dish, it looks really summery,
really, really clean.
-So, Chef, shall we go and try it?
-OK, let's go. Enjoy, boys.
-Thank you very much.
Do you like that?
I think the goat's cheese is... It's really strong and it's quite punchy.
The red onion caramel is coming in a bit sweeter, which, you know,
balances the goat's cheese out a bit more.
For me, Tom, the goat's cheese ice cream is really tasty.
Oh, that's deep.
That is a really deep goat's cheese flavour, isn't it?
-The consomme is...?
-It's a tomato consomme.
I think it works well with everything,
the mint and the basil comes through nicely.
-A bit sharp.
That lime jelly really took my breath away.
Do you think this is a great opener to a banquet?
I think so, yes, I think...I think it's a good, solid dish.
-It screams summer to me.
-So you are scoring it...?
-That was fun.
-It's done, it's over so...
-Don't speak too soon.
-Let's see what Mr Clifford thinks, eh?
First dish done in the Great British Menu kitchen.
Ellis, I'm going to start with your dish, Sumer Is Icumen In.
The presentation of your picnic box was bang on for the summer brief.
I really enjoyed the use of the cucumbers within your dish.
Your soda bread was delicious.
your oyster butter,
it was slightly curdled.
The dish itself,
it needed a bit more excitement to make it banquet-worthy.
Make the piece of cucumber in the middle of the plate smaller
and stuff it with a fresh oyster, so you have a surprise.
Tom, your dish,
More Balls Please.
The goat's cheese ice cream was delicious.
The flavour combination between the tomatoes and the strawberries,
I really enjoyed that, Tom.
the red onion caramel on top of your ice cream was just too bitter.
I think your consomme needed to be fresher.
Tom, I'm looking for the wow factor.
I'm looking for a dish that I can put in front of the judges,
that's going to get you to the banquet.
Paul, your dish, The Little Wonder.
I thought the story of Lottie Dod was unique.
The egg was really tasty.
Everything on this plate was perfectly cooked,
I'm expecting greatness from this competition...
..and your dish I felt lacked skill and creativity.
It wasn't the kind of dish I would expect
in the Great British Menu kitchen.
So, for the scores I'm going to start with you, Tom.
I'm going to give you a score of...
I'm giving you an eight.
I'm giving you a score of...
Take risks, cos risks is going to get you to the banquet.
next is the fish course.
I'm looking for passion and drive
and outstanding plates of food.
So, please, don't disappoint me.
Good luck, and I'll see you very soon. Thank you.
Obviously I'm disappointed but...
we'll crack on.
A little bit gutted,
I'd have hoped for a little bit more than that, to be honest.
It's going to be a big rollercoaster for the rest of the time.
It didn't go catastrophically wrong.
It didn't go amazingly right,
but, you know, it was a good, solid start.
To get an eight off Daniel Clifford is amazing, I'm excited...
This year on Great British Menu, the ultimate professional cooking competition, 24 of Britain's top chefs are competing for the chance to cook at a prestigious Taste of Summer banquet celebrating 140 years of the iconic Wimbledon Championships. The chefs have been challenged to create outstanding dishes that capture a 'taste of summer'. Their menus must reflect the tastes, smells and colours of everybody's favourite time of year and pay tribute to the incredible history and prestige of the tournament. This week is the north west regional heats and three ambitious newcomers are competing to win a place in the national finals. They must cook their starters for veteran judge Daniel Clifford.
The three chefs are Tom Parker, head chef at The White Swan in Fence, who is eager to impress with a salad that includes ten complex elements; Paul Askew, the most experienced chef in the competition, who hopes his traditional techniques will triumph over his younger competitors; and self-taught Ellis Barrie, who is taking a risk with a creative cucumber and oyster starter.