The chefs from Wales - Aled Williams, Gareth Jones and Hywel Jones - pull out all the stops with their fish dishes, hoping to impress veteran chef Angela Hartnett.
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It's Day Two on Great British Menu.
Three of Wales's most competitive chefs -
Gareth Jones, Hywel Jones and Aled Williams -
are vying to cook at the ultimate street party.
Yesterday, they locked horns over the starters.
We don't do this every day.
And returning Welsh champion Aled was shocked to be knocked into last place by the two new boys,
both in joint first.
I'm giving you six out of ten.
Now their fish courses are up for scrutiny
by Michelin star-holder Angela Hartnett.
At the moment it's pretty much equal footing. This is a chance for one to excel and go into the lead.
They're all desperate to impress with show-stopping dishes.
Wow, look at that! It's quite impressive.
Is it meant to go that colour on the side?
The competition's heating up now. It's going to get tougher
but I'm up for that challenge.
The chefs have met inspiring characters who use the power of food to bring their communities together.
These local heroes will be the winning chef's guests
at The People's Banquet. But first,
the contenders must come up with magnificent sharing platters to get people talking.
I'll need a second try!
Deciding who makes the grade
is Great British Menu veteran and Britain's most revered female chef, Angela Hartnett.
She's expecting a lot from the fish course.
They have to sell it with their eyes, with the presentation and cook to perfection.
First up is determined underdog Gareth Jones,
whose imaginative and rustic Conwy pork pie
earned him seven points and joint first place in the starter round.
It's getting serious now. I want to be the man at the banquet. All I can do is get my dishes perfect.
Just keep pushing as hard as I can.
-So, Gareth, what's the dish?
-Cured trout crostini
-with sweet pea mousse and crab espuma.
-So on a piece of bread, you're saying?
-Take a piece of bread, flake off your own trout,
add that, add the garnish with pea and brown crab.
You're interacting, making your own crostini. It's not just bread with something on.
-Served on a piece of Welsh slate that I sourced myself.
-So visually impressive?
-The guy who couldn't say boo to a goose yesterday!
Gareth is hoping to lift his simple cured trout out of the ordinary
by adding two technically tricky mousses.
But is he being a bit too ambitious?
He's got to watch out and make sure
the pea mousse isn't like a rubber ball and set too hard with too much gelatine.
You have to watch the cooking of the trout that it remains succulent and fresh, not overcooked.
You have two and a half minutes on the turbot.
Up next is quietly determined Hywel Jones,
a five-year Michelin star-holder and a newcomer to the competition.
He's sharing the limelight with Gareth in first place
after showing his precise skill with a refined cawl stew starter.
He's confident he can emerge triumphant again today.
The others have a challenge on their hands to beat my fish course.
This will come out on top.
-What dish are you doing today?
-Dressed Cardigan Bay lobster
with Wye Valley asparagus prepared in three different ways,
-served with a mayonnaise served with lobster oil.
For this I've had a fantastic beautiful glass plate made.
I've gone to the beach off the coast where the lobsters are caught
and got some shingle which I'll put underneath it.
I am. I was pleased with how the first course went.
Hywel's putting his culinary expertise on display
in this luxurious lobster dish with asparagus three ways.
But shingle from the beach - is this a winner?
Hywel's last dish, fantastic flavours, fantastic cook.
But what he really lacked is the presentation
and that wow factor. Hopefully with this dish
when you look at it, you think, "I just want to tuck in and eat that food!"
Last, but not least, it's Aled Williams, the returning champion for the Welsh region.
He suffered a serious blow when he landed last with a six for his guinea fowl starter.
Now he's desperate for top marks to put him back in the game.
The scores for the first course showed me what I'm up against.
I know I've got to cook my heart out. If I get the dish how I want it, I can catch the points up.
So what dish are you doing for us today?
A whole steamed turbot with mussels, cockles, leeks and samphire.
-All from Wales, I presume?
-All from Wales except the lemon and the wine.
How are you feeling, moving forward after the first course?
Disappointed with the first score.
I know I need to raise my game to catch up with these two boys.
Everyone's going to say, "What is it?" How are you going to serve your dish?
-I've got a stunning copper turbot kettle which I've borrowed...
Borrowed from an old chef friend!
Yeah, it's stunning. You lift the lid, you'll have lovely nice fish.
-Aromas coming out.
-The sauce and vegetables. A one-pot wonder!
Will Aled's eye-catching one-pot steamed turbot
be enough to get him back in the running?
For me, Aled's fish course, he's got to get it right.
Make sure he cooks his turbot perfectly well.
He's one point behind the other two. He can't afford to slip any further.
With so little separating them, the chefs will be doing everything they can to get ahead.
They're all looking for cracks in each other's confidence.
-We're all pushing for the same dream.
-See our individual styles coming out.
-Aled had an advantage on the starter.
-Knowing the lay of the land.
-He's done it before. We're the new boys.
You guys are saying I had an advantage, but I came last.
We're all very close. There's only one point in it.
Everything to win, everything to lose. Game on, boys!
Judging their every move is the formidable Angela Hartnett.
She's adamant the chefs live up to her exacting standards on presentation, taste and execution.
What I expect is beautifully cooked fish, full of flavour.
They have to sell it with their eyes, sell it with the presentation, cooked perfectly.
They've really got to push their limit.
All three chefs are focused on the challenge.
Gareth is brining the fish for his cured trout,
while Hywel's lobsters have been poached, ready to extract the meat.
The chef with the most to prove, though, is Aled, painstakingly preparing his turbot.
He's banking on elaborate presentation to sell his simple dish.
-Where's your big copper? Can't wait to see it.
-Wow, look at that. You could put a small dog in that!
-Or a large turbot!
-It's quite impressive.
-It's a beautiful piece of copper.
-Waiters will need some strength!
-Might need two people.
-What do you think, Gareth?
-Amazing. Not cheap!
-Looks fabulous. Hywel, are you jealous?
-Do you want one?
-I'm very impressed.
-He'll let you borrow it if you need to.
-It's not mine!
About a grand each. You'll be fine.
It might look good, but Angela has her reservations.
It's not a lot of technicality in the cooking.
It's all going to be in the flavour, not just in the presentation.
Aled's pared-down approach is facing a serious culinary challenge from Hywel.
Having lost points on presentation yesterday, he wants to dazzle
with his intricate dressed lobster and asparagus.
I'm going to take the claws off, crack the claws, chop all that meat,
make little fishcakes. The tail, I'm going to turn it over on itself,
slice it into medallions and dip that through a lobster jelly.
Into the shell I'll put a mixed leaf salad and some asparagus prepared three ways.
Blanched tips dressed in vinaigrette, some shaved asparagus raw, paper thin,
and diced stem of asparagus which goes through the salad.
-So, not much then(!)
After seeing their first course I know they're cooking at a high level.
So what I'm doing now has to be bang on, but I'm confident it'll come out on top.
Hywel may be certain his elaborate lobster dish will be a treat for the banquet guests,
but Aled's not convinced.
It sounds fantastic, but it sounds like a busy plate.
There's a lot going on. He has to get all the elements right.
Underdog Gareth's had to push his culinary boundaries to compete with his more seasoned rivals.
-Have you got any experience in street parties?
-I've done a bit of partying, but not street parties!
Not street parties!
He's making a tricky espuma, or foam, of brown crab to serve with his cured crab crostini.
A risky choice, raising some eyebrows.
Are you concerned about the espuma collapsing or anything?
-I've practised and it hasn't gone wrong yet, but there's always today!
-There's always a first time!
If I need to catch up with you guys, I can do with all the help
so if you want to make it collapse, that'll be great!
Yeah! I'm sure you'd like that!
If he gets all the elements right, it'll be a great dish. If some things melt, he might be in trouble!
Angela's worried whether such a technical dish really plays to his strengths.
You don't strike me as an espuma sort of guy! Espuma, as you say it.
It's not something I've used a lot,
but for this competition I thought I'd see what we could do with it.
-The brown crab espuma in the past has come up well.
-You've done it before. That's good.
Cos you never want that trick of when you eat the foam
and then, when I went to his place you eat foam and it tastes of nothing!
I'm only joking. It never tasted like that. It's fine. But sometimes you have the foam
and it's just air you're tasting, there's no flavour.
-But you're confident with the crab it'll be...
You're OK with schum, schum, schum, 100 of those? If you get through?
-It'll take a lot of bottles!
-I know! It's a lot of people. I hate doing that.
Angela needs to be certain Gareth could recreate his dish for the banquet.
But she also has a more immediate concern.
If you don't get enough flavour in there, you're tasting air.
That is the most frustrating thing every time.
You have a great dish, there's this lovely foam, and it tastes of nothing.
He has to get that right.
So have either of you tried this dish out on other people?
I went to a youth club in Rhyl.
I basically did my dish as a sort of canape portion.
The kids had a bit of fun. I had an 11-year-old lad tell me the crab needed more flavour!
I bet that hurt having a kid telling you to practise! Sounds great!
To see food bringing people together in action,
Gareth headed to a community-run cafe in Rhyl, North Wales,
that uses home cooking to get local teens socialising and off the streets.
When I was younger I went to a lot of youth clubs, but there was no involvement in food.
Gareth's meeting Rhyl youth cafe founder Wyn Randalls.
The cafe idea was two-fold. A, we could feed them healthy food,
and B, it's something we hope will help rebuild and make West Rhyl a better community, to be honest.
-We're going to try one of my dishes that's on the menu.
-I'll show you the kitchen.
I'll grab my stuff.
the volunteer kitchen crew cook up to 40 meals made with ingredients donated by supermarkets.
Gareth will be serving up his dish alongside the night's special, spag bol.
I've got a top job for you.
You're going to pick some peas.
Bring the legs up and snap them off like that.
As well as good food and conversation,
the club offers informal training in skills like IT and team work
and runs a befriending scheme for young people new to the area.
Is it a good place to make friends?
I try to get out so I don't have to tidy up at home!
But you come here and cook, though!
There's a few people I wouldn't have met if I hadn't have come here.
-What would you be doing if you weren't here?
-Walking the streets, causing trouble.
That's what I used to do before I came here.
So this is the dish we've been working on today.
-That looks beautiful!
-If everyone would like to try one and let me know what you think.
It's the moment of truth for Gareth, and he knows they won't hold back!
Beautiful! In one word, beautiful.
That was my first time trying crab.
They're well nice!
Really nice. I'd have it again.
It looked nice and it tasted nice!
It was actually lovely. Better than my dad's cooking!
High praise indeed. But there's room for improvement.
-A bit more flavour.
-A bit more flavour?
-For the crab.
All that remains is for Gareth to extend his invitation to The People's Banquet
to Wyn and the volunteers.
I'd love it if I get through to the banquet if you could join me at the table.
I think I can speak for everyone - we'd be honoured, really honoured, mate, yeah!
You'll have to win now!
Thank you very much for your time.
Thank you, Gareth, sir.
-Good luck, sir.
Everything I've seen today has been amazing.
That makes me want to push on even harder and give everyone the opportunity to be there
and reward them for all the hard work they've done that we've seen today.
Back in the kitchen, three chefs are busy preparing their fish courses,
desperate to realise their dream of representing their country at The People's Banquet.
Returning Welsh champion Aled Williams is serving a cunningly simple steamed whole turbot.
Newcomer Gareth Jones has opted for a build-it-yourself cured trout crostini.
And Michelin star-holder Hywel Jones
is out to impress with an indulgent and technically complicated dressed lobster with asparagus.
All three are striving to win the approval of exacting veteran Angela Hartnett.
I really want them to really push the boat out. Really go all out.
With few points between them, and Angela's second judgement looming, there's a lot riding on this course.
Hywel separates the lobster meat from the shells
while Gareth trims his cured trout and seasons to taste.
And in his serving kettle, Aled sweats down leeks, fennel and shallots
and tops with his whole turbot to steam.
But he still has time to wind up the competition.
Myself, last year, I was so close to getting two of my dishes to the banquet.
My fish course and my main course. So I know how it feels to get that close and not get there.
-I was gutted.
-Do you think your fish dish will come out on top?
I'd love it to. That's where it deserves to be, in my eyes.
Aled is talking the talk, but to regain his Welsh title,
he first has to see off his competitors.
And Hywel is proving to be a fearsome rival,
racing through his intricate prep.
He's got a lot of technical ability. Whether he can pull it off, wait and see.
Hywel, talk to me about the oil in the kilner jar.
It's a process I've never seen before. What's happening?
It's basically roasted lobster shells, a bit of lemon zest, strands of saffron, coriander seeds.
Just simmer it for half an hour, chill it,
then I use that oil to make the mayonnaise, to build the layers of flavour.
With Hywel, I can't read him. I don't know whether he's just relaxed and confident
or whether there's real nervous energy inside him.
He's got to pull out all the stops and impress with this dish if he's to move forward.
Luckily for Gareth and Hywel, who still have a lot on their plates,
Aled's whole fish is out first.
With a dish so seemingly simple, his timing has to be exactly right.
-What are you waiting for?
-The turbot's still slightly underdone.
-I want to make sure the fish is cooked nicely.
-Is it meant to go that colour?
Somebody might have something to say about that.
-How much did you say it cost?
-Only a couple of quid.
It'll be on eBay after today!
The risk factor on my dish is just the cooking of the turbot. I've got nowhere to hide!
There's no going back now.
It's time to serve up.
It's a very impressive looking pot,
but will Angela find the turbot as spectacular?
My one-pot wonder!
Happy with everything?
Presentation-wise, it's exactly how I wanted it.
-So you cut the fish up and left the bone on.
-I've cooked it on the bone.
I've called it whole, but I thought it would be easier to serve if I cut it up
and it'll be less messy for the guests.
-Shall we go and eat? Off we go, Aled.
-Thank you very much.
Has Aled's steamed whole turbot got what it takes
to lift him out of last place?
I think you have that factor.
It's sharing, it's about community, everyone eating together.
I think this dish would be really good for the wow factor because the kettle is beautiful craftsmanship
and when you open it, you've got lovely products in there.
-It's a big risk cooking in that.
-In a kettle.
-Especially on the bone.
It'll be fun having ten of them going!
Any elements that you're nervous about?
Obviously it's the cooking of the fish. There's nowhere to hide.
Sorry, it needs a bit more than that. A tiny bit undercooked, there.
These are Conway mussels.
Really juicy. Cooked very nice.
-Not dry at all.
-He's done well, hasn't he?
-He has done well.
The cockles and mussels, are they as you wanted them?
Even though I cooked them separately, they're still nice and tender. Not overcooked.
I can't really see any flaws in this one.
The dish we've had was excellent. I'd struggle to find anything wrong.
He's upped his ante. It's up to us to follow suit.
His rivals are impressed,
but perfectionist Aled isn't satisfied with the cooking of his fish.
I'm kicking myself. I can't afford to lose points as I'm one point behind.
A couple more minutes, if not one minute, 30 seconds, maybe.
That's the difference between perfection and me being disappointed.
Up next, and also aiming for excellence,
is newcomer Gareth Jones. He's showing his confidence with his trout crostini
but Aled can't resist keeping him in check.
-Gareth, tell me about your crostini. Are you adding any flavours?
-I'm keeping it nice and simple.
Gareth has the most technical of all three dishes.
He has to get his mousse correct,
not rubbery, his confit and his fish has to be cooked.
Then he's got the espuma going on with the crab.
When I taste that crab foam, I want to make sure it's full of flavour of crab, not just air!
With time against him, Gareth spoons fresh peas and fresh crab meat
onto quenelles of pea mousse
which he then tops off with his airy brown crab espuma, asparagus tips
and pea shoots.
Together with his toasted crostini for each guest,
the dish is ready for the pass
and Angela's ruthless examination.
-There we go.
-Happy with how everything's turned out?
The idea is you push a bit of trout off with a fish knife and fish fork.
And take a bit of pea with the brown crab, asparagus and pea shoot
and build your own crostini on the croutes.
OK. Let's go.
Has Gareth pulled off his ambitious fish dish?
Or has he over-reached himself?
Do you feel that cured trout is the right fish course for a banquet?
To show off the nation's fish, technique-wise?
It's a nice summer fish. It's cooked a bit differently but people will be surprised how light it is
and doesn't taste like raw fish. With the other flavours, it works really well.
What are your first impressions of the dish?
The colours are nice, vibrant. It smacks of spring, early summer.
There's a few queries I'd have, like the espuma.
-I don't know if that's a good idea for that amount of covers.
So the consistency for the pea mousse and crab espuma,
are you happy with both of those?
Consistency, happy with both. Maybe a bit more kick of crab in the brown crab espuma.
I'm going to try the espuma.
I'm going to see if the 11-year-old who said it wasn't strong enough was right!
-I'd probably agree with him!
-If you closed your eyes, you wouldn't know!
If you presented it, basically it's got to be a dish for 100 people.
You could do a whole side to serve ten people.
I could get massive slates.
Problem is, once you've started attacking it,
within minutes, unfortunately, it looks untidy.
I'm not too sure quite how she took that, to be honest.
I was confident, but I'm back to square one now. I don't want to fall behind and drop points.
Time for Hywel Jones to swing into action.
To show off his complex dressed lobster,
he's going all out with a painstaking seabed presentation
of samphire and stones on custom-made glass.
Against the clock, he arranges his lobster tail-meat in the shell
along with confit tomato and salad.
Then adds his trio of asparagus textures
and as a finishing touch crowns each shell with claw meat fritters.
Here we've got dressed lobster with asparagus salad and confit tomatoes
and served with a lobster mayonnaise.
-The mayonnaise, the idea is to take some lobster and dip it in?
-How would you like it served?
-It goes in the middle of the table and everybody takes half a lobster each.
Then they can all dip in, take a couple of spoons of mayonnaise.
Then dip the fritters or the tail into the mayonnaise.
OK. I'll take this one.
I'm so nervous about this plate! I'll have to serve it on this one.
OK. Some mayonnaise on the side.
OK, Hywel, off we go. Bon appetit, chaps!
Hywel's betting that his accomplished finesse
gives his dressed lobster the edge.
But is it in keeping with The People's Banquet?
-Presentation, happy with how it came out?
-Yes, it came out exactly as intended.
What I like is that even though it goes down as a whole, when everybody takes theirs,
it doesn't make what's left on the platter a complete mess. It's neat.
-Everything I expected from Hywel.
It is very clever cooking and very elegant.
Are you pleased with the consistency of the lobster?
The only issue I had was the temperature of the kitchen with the gelatine.
-I don't quite get the jelly.
-Yes, I'm not sure the jelly is bringing anything.
-The lobster's cooked nice, though.
-The lobster's not tough at all.
And you made the mayonnaise.
Yes, I made a lobster oil first. So I roasted the bones.
The mayonnaise has got more lobster flavour than the lobster!
-A lobster dish fit for a banquet?
-I think so.
It's a decadent ingredient, worthy of the guests that will be there.
I think he's going to be a happy boy. He'll get a good high score for that.
I'll definitely get the recipe for the mayonnaise!
Angela gives nothing away.
Currently I'm in the lead, but only by one point, with Gareth.
But that can all change.
All three dishes tasted,
Angela must now carefully consider her verdict.
Just waiting to find out.
The panic and doubt and chills start then. What are they going to think? What's going to happen?
I really can't afford to lose more points against Hywel and Gareth.
Time to find out which chef has reeled in top marks today.
We'll start with you, Aled. Presentation stunning.
When you lifted the lid, you got all those flavours of the sea
and you achieved what you wanted.
It was very smart the way you'd portioned it all up
and people lift it out with garnish and sauce.
But your turbot could have done with 30 seconds to a minute more cooking.
Gareth, crostinis lovely. Nice, crunchy.
But you know yourself it was the brown crab that let you down.
Definitely got to have much more flavour in that espuma.
-Got to lift that.
Presentation, I was curious how you'd do that, serve the whole fillet or flake it for us.
But it was smart the way you served the fillet.
It became that sharing platter and everyone could get involved.
I thought the lobster presentation was phenomenal.
Fish cakes, delicious. Lobster cooked well.
And the mayo was really clever. I loved that making the oil base there and making a mayonnaise.
But I think your jelly needs much more flavour and it's got to stand out as part of the dish.
So, the scores on the doors.
Aled, for your steamed whole turbot with mussels, cockles, leeks and samphire...
..I'm going to give you nine out of ten.
Gareth, for your cured trout crostini,
sweet pea mousse and whipped brown crab...
..I'm going to give you eight out of ten.
And Hywel, for your dressed lobster with asparagus,
I'm going to give you...
..eight out of ten as well.
You'll do the maths. I don't need to tell you it's even score.
Main course tomorrow, so quite tough. Thanks, guys.
-Well done, mate.
So, after incredibly strong marks all round,
Aled Williams has rejoined his rivals.
With two courses to go, each chef has an overall score of 15.
It's going to take something spectacular from one of us
to push that little bit further to break us apart.
I hope it's me on the main course.
Downside is Aled's pulled one out of the bag with nine.
Much as I hate to say it, I have to congratulate him.
I'm over the moon with my score. Nine out of ten, I couldn't have asked for much more.
Level pegging. It's game on now!
Tomorrow, the contest steps up a gear with the main course.
I've been making pasta since I was five. No pressure!
With the unusual situation of a dead heat,
none of the chefs can afford the slightest mistake.
I forgot the sausages!
-Hopefully it won't affect your dish.
-If I don't win now, it's your fault!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
The chefs from Wales - Aled Williams, Gareth Jones and Hywel Jones - pull out all the stops with their fish dishes, hoping to impress veteran chef Angela Hartnett.
Will she choose: steamed whole turbot with mussels, cockles, leeks and samphire, cured sea trout crostini or dressed lobster with asparagus?