The chefs from Wales, Aled Williams, Gareth Jones and Hywel Jones, battle it out with their main courses. Which dish will take pole position?
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It's day three on Great British Menu.
So far, the battle for the Welsh title
has pushed three of the country's most patriotic chefs to the limit.
Newcomer Gareth Jones, reigning champion Aled Williams,
and Michelin-starred Hywel Jones
have each set their sights on cooking at the People's Banquet.
Yesterday's fight for the fish course saw Aled score an impressive nine points
for his dramatic whole turbot.
It was awesome to get a nine from Angela, but I know how good that feels now
so I really want to lift my game to get another nine.
Gareth and Hywel both scored eight,
leaving all three chefs even on 15.
Level points with only two courses to go, the competitive side is going to come out.
Today it's the main course, and the chefs are starting to crack under the pressure.
-Oh, I need to do the sausages.
What's the penalty for being late?
It's important you don't drop points now.
If the boys are scoring high, I've got to score equally as high or it's game over.
This year's competition is all about producing the most magnificent food
that brings people together.
-Better than my dad's cooking.
Contenders must look to inspiring characters who use cooking to make a difference.
Winning chefs can invite those they've met along the way to the People's Banquet.
I'd love it if I get through, if you'd join me at my table.
Formidable Great British Menu veteran Angela Hartnett
knows the main course is the big one, and expects nothing but the best.
Today, level-pegging on points, now they've really got to impress.
Someone's got to produce something amazing today to take them through.
First in is returning national finalist Aled Williams,
whose recovery yesterday after a shaky start earlier in the week
has boosted his confidence to new heights.
There's a lot of pressure on me this year,
being the returning champion for Wales,
so hopefully I proved to the boys what they're up against, pulling a nine out of the bag.
Day three, big challenge.
Talk us through what you've got today.
It is Welsh black sirloin steak.
-With a mushroom, bone marrow and horseradish burger,
Glamorgan sausage, and some little hot coleslaw.
I thought it would be good for a street party
to bring people together with a barbecue.
Just deconstructing it and making it a bit quirky.
Do you think it'll push you through, the main course?
That's the idea. It's onwards now.
I started off with a six, then nine. I know how good the nine feels, so I'd love to stay at the top.
Aled's hoping to hit the bull's eye once again
with his steak barbecue.
But Angela has reservations about how much he's trying to do.
He's made a lot of work for himself.
There's lots of little risk factors.
He's got to make sure every element is spot-on, or it'll make no sense.
Next up is newcomer Hywel Jones,
a veteran of some of Britain's finest kitchens,
and the only chef this week with a prestigious Michelin star.
Hywel upped his game yesterday,
scoring an eight on a luxurious lobster dish,
and is hoping to smash through his opponents today
with world-class skill.
One of us now really needs to stamp our authority on this competition.
I'm going in there to put this competition to bed.
I want to be leading, come the final day.
For my main course, I'm going to take the great dish Wellington, with a Welsh twist to it,
so with beautiful venison from Brecon Beacons,
wrapping it in a mushroom duxelle, obviously crepes.
And then rough puff pastry, which I'm making with Welsh butter.
I'm going to do a nice warm salad
To go with it, I'm making a venison sauce.
And what was the inspiration behind it?
Well, I was thinking of great dishes,
and you'll go to so many places and have a Wellington for two,
it can be scaled up, it should have that wow factor on the table.
So is it going to get you a nine?
It's a great dish. Yeah, it could be up there.
So Hywel's planning a summery twist on a classic showstopper.
But will he struggle to deliver the perfect Wellington
in the pressure cooker of the competition kitchen?
He has to get his timings perfect
because there'll be nothing worse
than when we slice through the pastry, open up that case,
and see an overcooked piece of venison.
Our third and final chef is dark horse Gareth Jones,
who's holding his own against his rivals with his take on party favourites.
With scoring all even halfway through the menus,
Gareth knows how important it is to keep his head above water.
Everyone's got something to prove and everyone wants a high score,
so it's going to be quite competitive and not too friendly.
Right, today we're going to do my take on cawl.
Oh, another cawl.
Using Rhug Estate organic lamb, we're going to make a nice crown.
I'm going to braise the necks down and make little tortellini.
We're going to just serve it with some nice little vegetables.
When you look at traditional Welsh dishes over history, really,
one that always came up when I was doing my research, was cawl.
You know, bringing people together, traditional Welsh sharing dish.
So the neck, you said you're going to make tortellinis with.
I realise it's a bit of a dangerous one, putting pasta on a traditional Welsh dish, but...
Lots of Italians in Wales.
That's it. So I thought I'd give it a go. Something a bit different.
Gareth's hoping his twist on the festive Welsh savoury broth cawl
will be perfect to share.
But will his be magnificent enough to escape the shadow of his rivals?
Gareth's got elements of complication there,
and he's up against Hywel, who produced this amazing cawl in his first course.
So now let's see if Gareth can match that flavour-wise
and just boost it on the presentation.
With level scores all round, and someone leaving the competition tomorrow,
the chefs are aware it's vital they perform in this course.
I think with all the dishes we've done so far, we've all had completely different takes.
Yeah, we've all done different takes on everything, but we're still level pegging on points so it is hard.
Having twice been in their shoes,
Angela knows full well the standard the chefs must achieve to represent Wales.
They just need to watch every single element. It's got to taste amazing.
It's got to be cooked accurately, let's see some really amazing presentations.
It's up to them to really dig deep and see what they can produce.
Nervous Great British Menu newcomer Gareth
has found his footing this week,
cooking party favourites with a twist.
For his updated cawl, he begins by trimming his crown of Welsh lamb.
Definitely a challenge, and I think everybody needs to be wary of each other's dishes.
While self-assured Aled kicks off his take on a summer barbecue
by slow-cooking his sirloin with smoked butter in a water bath.
Aled and Gareth are both keeping a close eye on Michelin-starred threat Hywel.
If he gets it just right, his venison Wellington could be a knock-out,
and his rivals know it.
I actually considered Wellington myself.
Wellington was definitely up there on my list of great sharing dishes.
I'm definitely concerned about Hywel.
It's one of those dishes, if you get it bang on, it's great,
but a lot can go wrong with a Wellington, so it's high-risk,
but the rewards would be quite high.
While Hywel is relying on perfect execution,
Aled is hoping his originality will earn him extra kudos.
I'm hoping I've got the edge cos I'm thinking outside the box.
My barbecue idea is different, I've got the boys talking in the kitchen.
What's your hot coleslaw?
It's basically a summer cabbage,
the elements of coleslaw, cabbage, carrots and onions, cooked together.
-Hot as in temperature or as in spice?
-Hot as in temperature.
There's no mayonnaise in it.
I'm really intrigued by the hot coleslaw,
cos coleslaw's normally fresh, crunchy.
It'll be interesting to see how he keeps that if he's serving it hot.
Also defying convention is Gareth.
By adding tortellini to his cawl,
he's putting himself square in the sights of veteran Angela Hartnett,
proprietor of one of Britain's most acclaimed Italian restaurants.
Your choice to do tortellini, is that to impress Angela?
-Not at all.
I knew it was a risk doing something that isn't classically Welsh.
If anybody knows what a tortellini should be, it's Angela.
Well, I've got to get them right.
OK, Gareth, do you make a lot of pasta?
Yeah, yeah, I always enjoy making pasta.
-Always try on the menu.
You know I've been making pasta since I was about five. No pressure.
It's got to be al dente, nicely seasoned.
Everyone imagines it's all about the filling, but it's not.
You have to finish the whole dish and cook the pasta well.
It's not just his tortellini that's drawing fire.
-So, Gareth, is that the crown for the winning chef?
-I hope so.
Looks pretty funky.
His crown rack might look stunning,
but has Aled seen a chink in his armour?
So how will you cook that, Gareth?
Straight in the oven, roast it in a nice, hot oven for about eight minutes.
And the heat will be able to penetrate in the middle
to render down the fat and all that?
Cos you really need to render down the natural fat lamb's got.
Whether he can keep it nicely pink and even pink,
we'll wait and see.
On the back of his top marks yesterday,
Aled is convinced his menu is perfect for a spectacular street party,
but his rivals are not so sure.
My experience of barbecues, Aled, someone always burns the sausages.
Any burnt sausages?
You're obviously going to the wrong people's houses, aren't you?
Come to my house for a barbecue, chef. I'll give you a treat.
With no barbecue in sight,
Angela's curious about where the smokey flavour will come from.
I've slow cooked the sirloin with some smoked butter.
I've got some smoked Anglesey sea salt as well,
So again, char-grilling some asparagus,
I'm trying to get barbecue flavour without being anywhere near one.
We want to see that smokiness,
that char-grilled flavour you expect from a barbecue.
I hope he's thought that through right to the end.
With so much riding on the main course, Hywel's Wellington carries a lot of risk,
since he'll have to cook the venison blind,
and Aled's questioning his rival's judgment.
In my experience of cooking venison,
you don't know if it's cooked perfectly until you carve. Are you concerned?
It's tried and tested.
Different ovens, but I've got a temperature probe
so hopefully, I should get it bang on.
Nice, crisp pastry, lovely pink meat, not easy.
Yeah, I know.
Undeterred, Hywel encloses his venison loin in a pancake,
adds a mushroom and chicken mousse,
then covers with puff pastry.
Angela's keeping a watchful eye on how he's executing this demanding dish.
How long in the oven?
But I'll keep checking because I haven't used this.
Hard when you don't know the oven.
I've got my safety probe, you see.
-I know it's a bit risky doing it, but...
This year, the chefs have faced a daunting challenge.
To create stunning sharing platters
which celebrate the way great food can bring people together.
In search of inspiration, Hywel headed to Newport
to catch his son's rugby game with the community club.
He's carried on the passion I've got for rugby.
The club he plays for, a fantastic club,
brings together all age groups, people from all backgrounds, both the kids and their families,
and it's a real local community there.
After every match, they all come together around the lunch table.
-Morning, Hywel, how are you?
Sharon coordinates the volunteers at the club,
and provides a hearty meal for parents and players each week.
Today how many kids are coming?
Often it's about 120,
and all the away teams, their mums, dads will call in here as well
and collect a bacon sandwich, coffee, tea.
So food's quite a big part of the day then?
Yeah, definitely, it is, yeah.
Today, Hywel has added his name to the cooking rota
to feed the kids and their families after his son's game,
and he's hoping his menu will please.
I thought I'll try venison sausages on a wide range of kids
to see if it appeals to everyone.
I'm a little bit nervous because if anyone's going to give me the truth, it's them.
Right, we've got special sausages for you today, yeah?
Right, I want you all to taste them and tell me what you think.
Do you like them?
-Are they the best sausages you've ever tried?
Who can guess what the sausages are made from?
It's like a reindeer, innit?
-Not a gazelle.
-Is it a venice?
He said it, venison.
So do you think this sort of food would be good at a party?
His venison sausages scored high marks with the team.
Now he faces his next trial run with the adults.
But this time, with his Wellington.
So what I'd like you all to do is taste it and give me your verdict.
It's really, really nice.
It's lovely. It's fantastic, isn't it? Succulent.
So, guys, you've seen my take on perfect food
but what do you think would go down well?
I think this is pretty good. I'd go for this again.
This is something you could serve as a family and I think the children would eat this and enjoy it.
-Well done, Hywel.
With top marks all round, Hywel has a surprise People's Banquet invite
for the woman who keeps these future Welsh rugby stars well fed.
If I'm lucky enough to get to the final four,
I get to invite a special guest to the final banquet.
-I'd very much like to invite you.
Oh, lovely. That would be wonderful. I really hope you get through, then.
Three of Wales's first-class chefs are cooking at full tilt
for the chance to represent their nation at the People's Banquet.
Will it be returning Welsh champion Aled Williams
who hopes to retain his crown
with a deconstructed barbecue and hot coleslaw?
Underdog Gareth Jones with an unconventional Welsh cawl
and braised neck tortellini broth?
Or highly-accomplished Hywel Jones
with his technically-adept venison Wellington.
Veteran chef Angela Hartnett will determine the marks, and she's demanding the best.
I'm really expecting something amazing.
The chef who really wants to represent Wales at that banquet
is going to be the one that produces some spectacular food today.
The chefs are chasing each other and the clock to finish on time.
Hywel's making a rich venison jus
by sauteing venison trimmings with shallots, juniper and flavoured brandy,
while Aled shapes a Caerphilly cheese and leek mixture
into vegetarian sausages,
and rolls them in breadcrumbs to deep fry.
In the starter course, Hywel set the bar high with his refined Welsh cawl,
based on his grandmother's recipe.
Now with a very different cawl broth gently simmering,
Gareth knows he's got a lot to live up to.
There might be a few raised eyebrows with the tortellini on cawl,
especially from Hywel.
And what about the fact that Hywel did cawl as a starter?
Well, that's going to be quite interesting with the two different styles.
Yeah, cos his broth, you must have tasted. It tasted fantastic.
Yeah, it was amazing. Literally, that's quite Madeira-rich.
-Have you tasted his cawl?
-I haven't tried Gareth's cawl, no.
It's interesting you both chose that dish. Why didn't you do it?
You're deconstructing a barbecue. Where's your cawl?
It's slightly richer than your one, isn't it?
But then yours was a starter, his is a main course.
And with cawl, everyone has their own variations.
Gareth's got to make that broth work. It is what cawl is.
He's done his twist on it with the tortellini and the lamb rack.
It's got to elevate and all work together.
With Angela's judgment looming and all three locked in a dead heat,
there's no margin for error, something weighing heavily on Hywel,
as he decides exactly when to place his venison Wellington in the oven.
-Just about to go in, Hywel?
Nice little decoration on the top, little leaves. Pleased with it?
Hywel's worked in some great kitchens, he's a methodical chef,
so he'll have covered every angle.
But it's a competition, pressure can get to these guys, so you can't take anything forgranted.
Hywel's safe for now, as it's Gareth who'll be serving up first.
He dresses a bowl for each guest with baby vegetables
and lamb neck tortellini,
fills a pouring jug with lamb broth,
and places his whole crown rack of lamb on the serving board
for his guests to carve.
The idea is that we carve off two bones per portion,
sit them neatly alongside the tortellini,
and a little bit of broth over the top.
-And everything went how you wanted?
-Yeah, up to now.
-Would you like it more soup-like?
-Just enough to eat the tortellini with.
OK, sunshine, let's go.
Gareth's serving a dramatic but unorthodox Welsh cawl.
Is it worthy of the People's Banquet?
This is your version of cawl.
Yeah, it's a play on cawl.
-Happy with the broth?
-The flavour of the Madeira gives nice sweetness.
That's what you're aiming for with the broth? You wanted it like that?
What do you reckon?
That's not cawl.
-Did he put Madeira in it?
I mean, he's taken ingredients of cawl, and tried to serve it differently.
-So this was your lamb neck tortellini?
Pleased with how that's come out?
I think so. I think the pasta's cooked nicely. It's not hard in any way.
The important thing is the pasta's just thick enough so it holds its shape.
-For me, it doesn't really work.
-It's a nice enough tortellini.
But in a tortellini of lamb neck, the first prominent flavour you want is lamb neck.
And piece de resistance, the lamb.
Flavour-wise and cooking-wise?
Really good flavour. Perhaps it's a tiny bit underdone.
The lamb, for me, is definitely slightly undercooked in some places.
And the fat has just not been rendered at all.
Crispy lamb skin is absolutely wonderful to eat, but soggy lamb skin, not for me.
Maybe the nerves got the better of him.
-Anything you'd change?
-Definitely need to work a bit harder on timings of lamb.
Maybe undercooking the lamb might cost me a point,
but Aled was worried about the cooking of his turbot, and got a nine.
So we'll see what happens.
Next up, Aled's hoping to outshine his countrymen with his technical faux barbecue platter,
composed of five chef-y components.
-Need a hand, Aled?
-I'm all right, mate, thanks.
With time against him, Aled tops mini bone marrow burgers with large button mushrooms as buns,
and garnishes confit jacket potatoes with tomato and wild garlic relish.
Aled knows he has to deliver today if he's to stand a chance of cooking for the judges,
and the cracks are beginning to show.
-Oh, no. I need to do my Glamorgan sausages. One minute.
Blunders like this cost valuable time.
-OK there, Aled?
-I've forgotten to put my Glamorgan sausages in the fryer so I'll be two minutes.
Hopefully it won't affect your dish.
What's the penalty for being late?
In no mood for joking, Hywel knows any delays will affect his precise timings.
The risk with the Wellington,
it's one of those dishes, if it's either slightly under or over, it's awful.
And Angela doesn't like to be kept waiting either.
It's intense, this, isn't it?
Right, then, better late than never.
Right, then. So this is the elements of the barbecue.
OK, well, let's see the taste, then.
And this is the burger with the mushroom as the bun?
The mushroom is the bun. It just makes it easier to pick up.
-OK, let's go and taste.
Aled thinks his riff on a barbecue is perfect for an outdoor street party.
But is it a worthy centrepiece for the People's Banquet?
So it's deconstructed barbecue.
I was just trying to think of the process of barbecue bringing a load of people together,
and I wanted to do a different style of each element.
We've got our hot coleslaw here.
I didn't want to just write "coleslaw", I wanted to write "hot" on the title.
For me, that's kind of missed the point.
Yeah. It's a nice veg garnish, but to call it coleslaw...
While this is a nice veg, it's not really coleslaw.
I think the cooking of the meat is nice. I think I need to look at rendering the fat.
The smoky element is not as strong as I really would have liked.
For me, that doesn't taste like a barbecued steak, it tastes like roast beef.
No, I don't really get the smoke through at all, to be honest.
Do you think this is a celebratory dish for this banquet?
I think so. It's really colourful,
you've got elements of spring, summer,
really nice to eat individually, and even better to eat as a whole.
If I looked at this as a whole, I don't know I'd think "barbecue".
-They're nice elements.
-But does it scream "barbecue"?
Probably not to me.
Overall, I was really happy with the execution of the dish.
I'm just hoping I did enough to please Angela and get a great score today.
The moment of truth for Hywel's venison Wellington is fast approaching.
His timings delayed, Hywel's relying on gadgets to judge whether it's ready.
Have you had a knock-on effect after my slight glitch with the two-minute wait on the Glamorgan sausages?
Yeah, if I don't win now, it's your fault.
Hywel places the venison on a serving board and turns his attention to the pea salad accompaniment.
He scatters chives, pea shoots and lettuce
over pea puree and sauteed spring onions and girolle mushrooms,
then fills a jug with a venison jus reduction.
Time to find out if Hywel's venison Wellington is cooked to perfection.
I will be when you've cut it.
Like a drum roll?
Is it all from Wales?
Yeah, they're Welsh.
Right, let's go, Hywel.
Hywel believes his venison Wellington will appeal to all.
But is it impressive enough for the People's Banquet?
You think people are going to feel it's celebratory enough?
I think so. It looks grand when it arrives.
Cooking of the meat as you wanted?
Immaculate. The pastry's what I wanted. A beautiful colour on it.
He's got the pastry nice and crisp, the venison nicely cooked.
He's got the mousse cooked nicely, seasoned nicely.
I'm starting to hate him.
He's cooking way to well.
-And then the garnish.
-Very simple. I wanted to keep it light. Spring, early summer.
It all really screams spring, summer, you know.
-The colours, the flavours.
In the sauce, blackberry and apple liqueur. Are you happy with that richness?
I wanted a bit of spiciness. There's a few juniper berries.
A bit of sweetness to counteract the richness of the game.
I'm getting the very nice gamey sort of sauce.
I'm not majorly getting a liqueur through.
Yeah, I'd actually forgotten he'd put the liqueur in there.
All in all, I'm definitely worried about the dish.
Stunning dish, and yeah, quite worried.
It's crucial for me to get a good score for the main course.
If I can put myself in commanding position, it'll put me in good stead to go on and cook for the judges.
Three dishes tasted, all the chefs can do is nervously await Angela's verdict.
The main course score is really important to me now,
cos this, I think, really is make or break.
I'll be very surprised if I haven't got a point on top of Gareth.
Gareth, I thought your tortellini was very good.
I thought the pasta was cooked nicely and seasoned well.
I loved the idea of the carving on the board, thought that worked.
You wanted the broth Madeira, but I thought it could have been meatier.
And your lamb, great flavour, but slightly undercooked.
Aled, you nearly forgot them, but the Glamorgan sausages were good.
But although the sirloin was cooked well, you missed a trick.
If you'd had the huge piece of sirloin on a board, big carving knife, sliced that,
you'd have got more interaction.
For me, personally, I didn't think the coleslaw worked.
What we had was warm vegetables.
One negative with the mushroom burger,
with the eye, it's all too brown, maybe.
Hywel, your Brecon venison Wellington. Executed well, looked stunning.
Specially with your carving on top.
And the gravy was good, it had that little bit of spice, the juniper came through.
Veg looked great but bearing in mind it's for 100 people,
ten platters, how cold's it going to be by the time that comes to the dining room?
Maybe you could have added another sharing element to your dish.
With all three neck and neck, every point counts.
So, Gareth, for your cawl,...
seven out of ten.
Aled, for your deconstructed barbecue,...
I'm going to give you six out of ten.
And for Hywel, for your venison Wellington,...
I'm going to give you...
nine out of ten.
Game on, chief.
We're having a go.
With three courses down, Hywel breaks into the lead with an overall score of 24,
leaving Gareth trailing behind with 22,
and Aled in last place with 21.
To be two points ahead, fantastic.
If I have a mare with my dessert, they could catch me up.
With the dessert course, Aled's the man to beat now, for me.
So close, with a point in it. He's the man to go for.
I need to concentrate on what I'm doing, hope that Gareth does a small mistake.
If he pulls out a cracking dish, then I'm going home.
Tomorrow's dessert course is the last chance saloon for Gareth and Aled.
I'm not giving up, boys. I'm here to win. I'll fight right to the end.
And they won't be pulling their punches.
-I saw Gareth burning something.
-I haven't burnt anything.
-You can't burn tinned rice pudding.
-That's a bit harsh.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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The chefs from Wales battle it out with their main courses.
Aled Williams, Gareth Jones and Hywel Jones are determined to win but which dish will take pole position? Will it be Welsh black sirloin steak with mushroom, horseradish and bone marrow burger, Glamorgan sausage and hot coleslaw or Brecon venison Wellington, peas and Carmarthen ham?