The chefs from Scotland - Tony Singh, Michael Smith and Philip Carnegie - pull out all the stops with their fish dishes, hoping to impress veteran chef Alan Murchison.
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The competition continues on Great British Menu.
This week, three of Scotland's top chefs, Michael Smith, Tony Singh and Philip Carnegie,
are fighting for the chance to cook at the People's Banquet, the ultimate street party.
Yesterday was a battle for the starters and a baptism of fire for new boy Philip.
-It's cremated the top.
-A last-minute mistake
put him two points behind returning competitors Tony and Michael.
It's a blank canvas. It's all to play for.
Scoring them all week is Great British Menu veteran Alan Murchison.
We've had a solid start, but they need to take a few more risks to elevate a dish from good to great.
Today, it's the fish course and the three dishes coming to blows
are smoked salmon kedgeree, langoustines and chilli jam
and seafood platter.
I'm gunning for this one.
After the disaster I had with the oven, this is serious stuff now.
This year, the chefs have sought out heroic characters in their local communities
who already use the power of food to bring people together.
They'll be their guests of honour at the People's Banquet if they win.
It's really important that these people are represented.
There's nothing more important than family and community.
But first, the chefs have to come up with magnificent sharing platters.
This year's competition is tough because it's not restaurant food.
When people are challenged to do something different, it has to be spectacular.
They are being scrutinised by award-winning chef Alan Murchison.
He felt the heat of the kitchen last year when he beat Michael and Tony.
What I'm looking for today is a little bit more finesse. The guys need to move it up a gear.
First up is Michael Smith
who is banking on a menu of traditional Scottish classics to get him through.
His rustic baked cheese earned him six points
and joint first place, a position he is determined to hold on to.
I'm tied up with Tony, Phil's just behind. It's all close, so I'm going to give it my best shot.
-Fish course - what have you got for us?
-Smoked salmon kedgeree.
-And three different types of salmon I'm seeing.
There's hot-smoked there. That's cold-smoked. Also some organic salmon here.
-Then I'll play around with a few other ingredients. Most people love salmon and smoked salmon.
-That's why I've gone with that.
-What are you going to serve this in?
These are going to be served in flat, oval dishes, so it's almost like a paella presentation.
-Do you think that will work at the banquet?
I'm confident that this could be up-scaled, the way it's presented.
Michael is giving a simple breakfast dish a Scottish twist,
featuring smoked salmon from the west coast,
but is his idea grand enough for the People's Banquet?
He needs to get the wow factor in.
Another sort of consciously safe effort is not going to be enough.
Up next is returning competitor Tony Singh,
beaten by Michael last year and determined to cook for the judges this time round.
He got off to a good start yesterday with his playful rabbit in a hat,
a quirky dish typical of his style of cooking.
The rabbit was the fun one. This is just simple, fantastic west coast langoustines.
Technically, very simple, but it's visually exciting.
It's fun, so hopefully I'll get through.
-Talk us through your dish.
-I'll do roast langoustines with chilli jam.
I've got lovely Loch Linnhe prawns. I'll leave them whole.
Very simple dish. What are you doing with the presentation to give it the impact?
-It's a nice, big stack with a diver on top.
-You've been out shopping again.
-I know. I love shopping, eh?
-You think this dish is going to cause a ripple of excitement?
-I think it will. It's in the shell.
You're not normally exposed to this kind of stuff. The langoustines are fantastic.
Sucking it off the shell, suck oot the heids. Brilliant!
Do you think the good people would be happy sucking "oot the heids" at a People's Banquet?
I hope so. You've got a bib on. You'll have goggles. It'll be fine.
Tony is showcasing some of Scotland's finest produce
in another finger-licking dish with a witty prop,
but has he taken the joke too far this time?
Do people want to start shelling langoustines at the table?
Tony might have just taken it a step too far in the simplicity stakes.
Last but not least, it's first-timer Philip Carnegie,
a Michelin-starred heavyweight looking to outclass his rivals with a refined, high end menu.
He came last yesterday with a disappointing four for his pigeon-stuffed artichoke,
a complex dish he burnt first time round. He knows he can't afford another mistake today.
In this next course, there is a lot of things going on, but yeah, hopefully, it'll come together
and there'll be no disasters.
What's the dish you're doing?
I'm actually going to be doing a seafood platter.
I'm going to do lobster with a little bit of melon,
scallops with some crispy bacon, potato espuma,
some herb mayonnaise, quail eggs, going with baby beets.
Could you replicate this dish for the banquet?
I've got the best Scottish ingredients here.
Visually, it's all flavour, tasty. A bit more interactive, this one.
Have you bitten off more than you can chew here?
Maybe, but I'm going to give it a go.
Philip's gone for another ambitious dish,
designed to display his technical skill,
but is it the best way to show off Great British seafood?
A seafood platter is concentrating on simple flavours done beautifully.
He's got a lot of ingredients going on there. He might be over-gilding the lily here.
With just a couple of points separating them, each chef has the chance to steal a march today
and represent their region at the People's Banquet, which the Scots haven't achieved since Series One.
It's been a while. Do you think we can get a Scottish dish on the banquet?
-I've not managed it.
-One of us should get one thing through.
Tough competition. When you get into the finals and see the quality of cooks...
Are you trying to say we're not quality?
-Thanks for the pat on the back(!)
-Standards are very, very high.
Now you're saying our standards are low!
Alan is not convinced they're doing enough.
I want to see a dish to represent Scotland in the People's Banquet.
It's really important that the guys deliver today.
The pressure is immense, especially for Philip, who is tackling the oven head on
in a bid to put his starter disaster behind him.
-You're not using the oven now?
-I've used it.
-And it's all done. It's safe. Phew!
Philip is preparing one of five individual dishes for his mammoth seafood platter,
a dish that could make or break him.
We saw how little mistakes can mess up the whole day.
Fish cookery has got to be perfect.
Perfection is what Michael is aiming for with his paella-style salmon kedgeree,
a classic recipe that Tony doesn't think even qualifies as a fish course.
I love kedgeree, but it's more of a breakfast dish, eh?
Tony is making a chilli jam to accompany his roast langoustines,
an incredibly simple dish next to Philip's extravagant seafood platter.
What's going into your chilli jam?
Shallots, sesame seed oil, palm sugar, ginger, garlic, chillies, some fresh herbs. That's it.
-Kind of Thai-styley, aye?
-You've got the Thai influence with the palm sugar. It's a fusion kind of thing.
Michael knows that Tony is anything but predictable.
Tony's dish sounds simple, but again, you never know what he's going to come up with.
A confident Tony really is letting his ingredients do the talking today.
There's no tricks. This is the simplest dish I've got, but I know it's a good dish.
Alan is worried it might be too basic for the People's Banquet.
-Mr Singh, doing some cooking then?
-Is this your chilli jam?
-You seem to be very, very under control here, Tony.
Keep it simple. But the whole banquet lends itself to simplicity, so that's what I'm going for.
Have you done enough for this next course, do you think?
I've done enough, but Mother Nature has done more. The langoustines will be sublime with this.
It'll take more than top-notch seafood to cut it with Alan.
It's a cooking competition. There's not a lot of cooking going on.
That's not a criticism that can be levelled at new boy Philip.
He has a lot to prove after yesterday's disaster
and is going all out with a technically demanding platter.
You've got enough food here for half a dozen dishes. Which one are you working on?
They're all amalgamating into one. There's a fair bit to do, so...
You might be able to give Tony a hand(!)
Tony and Phil are complete opposites with regards to cooking today.
Phil has put five times the amount of effort or work in, depending on how you look at it.
That will either come out in the final dish or sting him in the tail.
It is a big risk, but one Michelin-starred Philip thinks is worth taking.
There is a lot going on, but you've got to push yourself, so that's what I've done.
There's more than just his reputation at stake.
This year, the chefs aren't just striving to get their dishes on to the banquet.
They're battling to bring a guest of honour too,
someone they've met in their local community who already uses food to unite people.
Philip travelled to Bressay Brae in Aberdeen, a sheltered housing complex that brings back memories.
As a boy, his mum used to get him and his classmates to come and sing for a community like this one.
When I was being brought up, my mum was a cook in a nursing home,
so today is just like a step back in time for me.
It will be a really nice feeling just seeing them all.
-Hello, Philip. How are you?
-Hi, Lorna. No' bad. Yourself?
Lorna Butler is the driving force behind a fantastic new project
that every week entices residents out of their flats for a shared supper with their neighbours.
-What's going on?
-We've just had a game of bingo, then we'll have our fish and chips which I get at 4.30.
It's the perfect place for Philip to road-test the salmon for his fish course
and an exciting addition to the residents' fish supper.
-Have you tried blinis?
-Never heard of them.
What will the tenants make of Philip's home-cured fish?
-Am I going to be the guinea pig here?
-Aye, you are, Andy.
-It's happened before.
-Aye? Well, you're still standing.
This is Philip. He wants you to try some of these little goodies.
So don't hold back. Just eat up and enjoy.
I hope you like fish.
Coming back here in a residential home, it has brought in memories from my childhood.
I'm just so glad they didn't expect me to sing this time!
I love salmon, smoked salmon.
-Hopefully, that's going to be all right cos that's our ain. We cure our own salmon.
-Do you think we should alter it in any way?
-No, I think it's beautiful. I really do.
-Just leave it like that?
-Yes, they're beautiful.
That's a big thumbs-up for Philip's smoked salmon.
While the residents tuck into their fish and chips, Philip has a surprise for organiser Lorna.
If my menu gets through to the end, I would like to invite you down as guest of honour
-because I really think you deserve it. Thank you very much.
-That's lovely. Thank you.
It's an incentive that's driving all three chefs
to get one of their dishes on the banquet menu this year.
The people we met in our communities are the ones it would be a pleasure to cook for. They deserve it.
-Aye, they do deserve it.
-I think it'll be amazing.
That's why I like this brief. It's no' about the chef and your technical abilities.
-It's about getting the people who put so much into it, giving them a wee pat on the back.
Three of the country's top chefs are busy preparing fish courses,
each hoping they will represent Scotland at the ultimate street party.
Returning finalist Michael
is scaling up kedgeree to make it fit for a feast.
Tony is pinning his hopes on roast langoustines,
fishing for laughs with another jokey prop.
And newcomer Philip is going over the top
with an elaborate seafood platter.
Scoring them is Alan Murchison, last year's regional champion who knows what they're going through.
The guys are concentrating on what they're doing. Tony is pretending to be busy. Phil is really busy.
And Michael is double-checking everything he's doing.
In the next 30 minutes, they'll be put under a bit more pressure.
The cracks will appear and we'll see what they're made of.
With little separating the three chefs and Alan's second judgment looming,
there is a lot riding on this course, something risk-taker Tony seems oblivious to.
He is putting flavour before technique with his roast langoustines.
His dish is so simple, he even has time to spare on his presentation,
a tactic to stand out from the crowd.
Phil's dish is very technical, Michael's dish is very traditional, but I think mine will have the edge.
Alan seems more excited by Phil's cheffy gadgets than Tony's diving helmet.
Foam gun's out, doing the rounds this year.
Michael Smith, you've got a foam gun as well. We've started a trend.
Eh, possibly, possibly.
-You're doing hollandaise with watercress?
-Tony...? No, you're not doing any cooking today.
-Foam gun, diver's helmet? Diver's helmet, eh?
Michael is not relying on props like Tony or showing off Michelin-star techniques like Philip.
He's chosen an old school breakfast dish which hinges on perfect rice.
With no room for error, he's feeling the pressure.
-How are you doing, Mike?
-I'm doing OK.
That's my rice! Never take the lid off cooking rice.
-Old wives' tale. Are you making excuses already?
-That's bad luck.
Michael is cooking well. There's technical elements there.
The rice could overcook. If it's too wet or dry, it could be unpalatable.
He's also got to get the right level of spice that's going to complement the salmon, but not annihilate it.
He's got a few things that can go wrong.
Luckily for Michael and Philip, Tony's simple fish course is up first.
And his three components, including shop-bought bread, have been ready to go for quite some time.
-We're getting to crux time now, first dish up. Are you ready?
-I will be, yeah.
He's given plenty of thought to his dish's presentation
from his quirky diving helmet to essential finger bowls,
but Alan is worried it's a case of style over substance.
Michael and Philip are pushing the boat out.
Tony could have made a bisque, he could have added another texture, done a little tartare.
There's many things you can do with langoustines to elevate them, so let's hope it's good enough.
There's no going back now and with the clock ticking,
Tony finally swings into action with trays of roasted langoustines,
smothered in chilli jam and piled high with wedges of roast lemon and lime for garnish.
-Do you need a hand, Tony?
-No, I'm fine, thank you.
Look at that bad boy!
Tony thinks it ticks all the boxes, but is it really suitable for the People's Banquet?
-Shall we take a couple of portions and go and try it?
-Look at those!
-Make sure you get the roasted lemons and limes.
-A little bit of the garnish...
We'll start digging in as well.
Shall we go?
Time to find out if Tony's roast langoustine
is enough of a centrepiece for our celebratory street party.
-What do you reckon then? Presentation?
-Shall we get stuck in?
-Yeah, let's see how you eat a langoustine.
The sucking of the head.
-I don't think we need a knife and fork.
-Mind your fingers.
Aye, they're sharp, huh?
How do you think sucking the juice out of a langoustine's head will fit in with the banquet?
You can do it if you want.
It's to try something different, push yourself out your comfort zone.
If you want to be a bit more reserved, peel it, a bit of bread, mop up the juices.
With this being a simple dish, should you not make your own bread?
With the time that we've got... I always do sourdough.
That's a 24-hour thing, so I wouldn't be able to make it.
It tastes fantastic. I can't fault the flavours.
-But I'm not sure if he could have done a bit more.
The banquet, the big event. Is there enough process going on here? I'm going to keep harping back to this.
It's not about process, about whizz, bang. It's about taste.
I can visualise this on long tables, people getting stuck in.
It could grace the table of a banquet.
Alan won't be revealing what he thinks until he's tasted all three dishes,
but Tony is confident he's on to a winner.
My fish course came out spot-on, langoustines cooked right.
Chilli jam, perfect. Hopefully, it's a good mark for the dish.
Philip is two points behind Tony and Michael
and hoping to outshine them with a highly technical seafood platter.
I'll pop the salmon into the water bath.
A gastronomic dish with five tricky components, he knows he has to deliver today
to stand a chance of cooking for the judges, but still has a lot to do.
How's the beetroot jelly?
With time now against him, he's feeling the pressure.
-Phil, you've got five minutes left. Do you want a hand?
-No, I might just need five minutes extra.
He's up against it, he's pushing, he's sweating, he's working hard.
He's got a real mountain to climb to deliver this dish.
Behind schedule, he garnishes his lobster and melon.
A couple of minutes and I'm done.
Puts the finishing touches to his leek and potato scallop,
plates up his home-smoked salmon with beetroot and quail's egg
and delivers his seafood platter to the pass.
Crikey! A lot of food going on. Talk us through it then, Philip.
Here we've got home-smoked salmon,
then we have the scallop done on creamed leek with a warm potato espuma and crispy bacon.
Then we have mussel bonbons with a herb mayonnaise, Scottish blue lobster with melon
and then just plain, simple langoustines.
-Shall we take some away and have a little taste?
Will Phil's lavish seafood platter set him back on course for the People's Banquet?
-Lots and lots of work.
-Phil had a sweat on again.
I think he was ten minutes over. You can't do that at a function.
-How many would you see this serving?
-This would be for one person.
-Is that for two people?
-More than enough for two.
-Happy with the cooking on that?
-Maybe a wee bit less.
The bacon's really nice, but it's very strong. That's a cracking scallop.
Maybe one thing too many?
The mussel bonbon...
Maybe too intense with the herb mayonnaise.
The lobster and the melon, it's summery.
-If he did that on its own...
-You would say you don't need to do anything more.
-Happy with that one?
-Nae qualms whatsoever.
-He's producing all this great food.
-Just too much of it.
I just wanted to showcase Scottish seafood.
I think that's what I've done. Once it's done, it's very easy to put up.
As little tastes, each individual one is great.
It all working together, I'm not sure. Maybe a little bit overkill.
I think it is.
After what happened with my first course, I had to pull out the stops.
I think Alan was shocked I managed to get everything out. When he saw my box, he'd think I was off my box!
Last but not least is Michael's kedgeree,
a breakfast classic he is serving paella-style
with three types of cured and cooked salmon and vibrant Araucana eggs,
sourced especially for their medium size and colour.
It might seem quite a simple dish, but there are a lot of different factors that go into the dish
and every one must be perfect.
Time is running out. He's already cooked his spicy rice, but needs to warm it through prior to serving,
a crucial stage that could see him overcook it if he's not careful.
-Michael, is that you heating it up or finishing it off like a paella?
Ignoring Tony's attempts to distract him, he carefully arranges his soft-boiled eggs,
adds chunks of cooked organic salmon, hollandaise foam
and for crowning glory, some salmon skin crisps.
-The eggs are quite visual, aren't they?
-The Araucana yolks are really vibrant.
I'll leave this for the guys to try. You and I can take the big one through to the tasting room.
It certainly looks the part,
but will this dish get the guests talking at the People's Banquet?
-Happy with the presentation?
-Yeah. I know it needs to have a wow factor.
I think people will go, "That's a good-looking dish. I'd like to get stuck in."
I'd be happy if that got put down in front of me. All the different greens, then you've got that orange.
It's kedgeree. You're looking for a bit of curry in there.
-That's what I was going to say. I'm looking for a bit of spice to come through.
-It's not there.
Do you feel it needs three different textures of salmon? We've got hot-smoked, cold-smoked and poached.
Yeah, because they are different. Although the salmon is a bit over the way I would have liked,
it's using the organic...
I can make out the hot-smoked, I can make out the cold-smoked salmon.
-The fresh is lost.
-I wouldn't know if there was fresh salmon in there.
-No, you cannae make it out.
-Can you deliver this dish for 100?
-If you can't up-scale it, it's not the right dish.
It's about how achievable the dish is, if it goes all the way to the final stage.
The skin, great idea...
-Take your eye out!
-With the fish skin, I would have put a bit of salt on.
-It needs some salt.
-But when you hear "kedgeree", what do you think?
Two things. Breakfast and a wee bit of spice.
Definitely breakfast. I don't know if it fits in that hole for your fish course.
I understand what you're saying.
I'm pleased today with the fish course. I managed to execute it. It went the way that I hoped.
I might have upped the spice a little bit.
I think it looked good. Hopefully, it's got that visual wow factor that everyone is talking about.
All three dishes tried and tested.
There's nothing the chefs can do, but nervously await Alan's verdict.
I want to win this course and stay in the lead. A bit anxious, two great dishes came up.
I'm looking for as high a score as possible because I need the points.
Alan gave Phil a lowly four yesterday
and old pals Michael and Tony averaged sixes, so have they improved today?
Hello, gentlemen. A mixed day for me, this one.
Tony, roasted langoustines with chilli jam. I think your presentation again was superb.
A little bit of ambition and technique missing for me
and I think you undersold yourself as a chef.
Philip, your seafood platter...
It's been a long time since I've seen anybody work as hard as you did today.
However, you gave yourself far too much to do,
hence the fact none of the dishes were absolutely perfect.
Also the platter as a whole didn't really gel for me.
I don't know how you would serve that for 100 people.
Michael, Hebridean smoked salmon kedgeree... Great flavour.
Potentially, a little bit more spice and could it also be perceived as a breakfast dish?
Tony, roasted langoustines, chilli jam...
Five out of ten.
Philip, for your seafood platter...
Six out of ten.
Michael, Hebridean smoked salmon kedgeree...
Good dish. Eight out of ten.
Next up is the main course, guys. The very best of luck.
-- Well done. - Cheers.
-Yeah, good man.
A tough day tomorrow, though.
So, after day two, Michael has held on to the lead
with an overall score of 14.
Tony has tumbled into second with 11
and Philip is hot on his heels with 10.
I've dropped behind Michael now. I'm not in the lead. A bit more on edge. Just need to try harder.
I do feel a wee bit disappointed. I thought I might get another point.
Getting an eight is brilliant, but you can't rest on your laurels in this competition.
With one point in it, tomorrow's main course will bring blood, sweat and tears.
They're halfway there and they need to make sure the next dish is really setting the standards.
And see the chefs resort to surprising tactics.
Let me see that technique of opening the tin and pouring it into the pan.
Can you imagine Oliver Peyton and Prue Leith eating baked beans?
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd 2011
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The chefs from Scotland - Tony Singh, Michael Smith and Philip Carnegie - pull out all the stops with their fish dishes, hoping to impress veteran chef Alan Murchison. Will he choose a seafood platter, Hebridean smoked salmon kedgeree or roasted langoustines with chilli jam?