It's the last chance for the chefs from Wales to impress, as now the one with the lowest total score from across the week will leave the competition.
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It's decision day on Great British Menu.
All week, three top chefs from Wales, tenacious Aled Williams,
disciplined Hywel Jones and determined Gareth Jones, have been cooking their hearts out
to win a place at the People's Banquet.
Yesterday saw returning champion Aled slip into last place.
-I need to do my sausages.
-What's the penalty for being late?
And Hywel jumped into the lead.
Today, it's desserts, and everything's on the line.
It all depends now on the last course. Everyone's hoping the last dish is perfect.
It's the last chance to impress renowned chef Angela Hartnett.
-I'm trying my best to make rice pudding fit for the banquet.
-You can do better than that.
It's the dessert course, it's still very neck-and-neck.
Today one of them will be going home, so they've got everything to play for.
The three dishes in contention today are traditional Welsh rice pudding,
rhubarb and strawberry trifle tart and Snowdon pudding baked Alaska.
So, can Hywel keep hold of his place at the top?
I'm desperate to represent Wales. I'm going to pull out all the stops.
This year's competition is all about creating spectacular platters to share.
The guests at this year's banquet will be volunteers and community leaders
whose dedication to cooking brings people together.
-I've got to say, it's worth waiting for.
The chefs have sought them out to learn from their experiences
and create perfect sharing menus, fabulous food which will get people talking.
All week, veteran Angela's been demanding excellence
and with only three points separating the chefs,
any one of them could be going home tonight.
With the desserts, they've really got to push themselves. This is their last chance to prove
they really want to represent Wales and put their food up in front of the judges.
First in is fiercely competitive Aled Williams.
In last place with 21 points, Aled knows he's in real danger of getting knocked out early
but he's determined to battle back and retain his crown.
Things can be really intense in the kitchen. You can cut the atmosphere with a knife.
There's only one point between myself and Gareth. Everything to win, everything to lose.
-Hi, Aled. How are you?
-Up for the fight. Not going to give my crown away too easily today.
-What have we got here?
-I'm going to be making a traditional Welsh rice pudding
which, after doing a lot of research, I've found contains bay leaf.
-So I'm going to poach some lovely cherries
in this really good Welsh liqueur made from aronia berry.
-And how do you feel this is going to look?
-I definitely think I'm up against it to give it visual effect.
At the end of the day, flavour's always first, but presentation is important.
-So hazelnuts, as well. What are they going to go for?
-I'm going to make a crumble topping with hazelnuts.
-They go really nicely with cherries.
-And do you think this dessert can bring you back up there?
There's very little points between you guys.
There's only one between myself and Gareth so I've got to concentrate, make sure all elements are spot-on
and if they are, I can claw some points back.
Aled is betting his nostalgic dessert
is the ultimate comforting pudding.
But will it be magnificent enough to wow guests at the People's Banquet?
Aled, last chance for him.
He's got to make this pudding work if he wants to jump ahead of Gareth or knock Hywel off the top spot.
This week's only Michelin-starred competitor, perfectionist Hywel Jones, has proved the chef to beat.
He's held onto the top spot since the starters but knows there are no guarantees.
I think Gareth and Aled are going to be going hell for leather to try and win this.
Two points is nothing. If I get one thing wrong, they can come racing back.
-What have you got in your box of tricks today?
-For my dessert, I'm making a trifle tart.
So all the ingredients from a trifle but I'm going to present it in a tart.
-So jelly, custard...
-Traditional custard, some Chantilly cream,
I'm going to make a strawberry jelly using fresh strawberries.
I'll do some candied almonds and crystallised pistachios
and then the other fruit in the dessert is going to be rhubarb.
-Is it going to be one big tart?
-One big tart.
And one little last quirk. We're going to finish it with a few little baby basil cress.
And you feel that's going to really represent Wales and have that spectacular feel we're looking for?
I think it'll have the wow factor. Trifle is something I remember from my childhood,
in the middle of the table, everyone dug in. I wanted to replicate that feeling but with my personality.
Hywel believes his contemporary play on the beloved trifle
will keep him in the lead.
But will it prove a cause for celebration at the end of his menu?
One tart on a board. Is it going to be too simple
and is it going to be fit for a banquet? We've got to wait and see.
Up and coming chef Garth Jones is holding onto second place
having made a strong showing throughout with refined party classics.
And he's not easing up on the pace near the finish line.
The competition between me and Aled for the dessert is really important to both of us.
He's only a point off. It's quite easy to get that point back.
-The dish today is called Snowdon pudding baked Alaska
with lemon verbena ice cream and rhubarb preserve. Basically, when I was researching Welsh puddings,
-I found this recipe for Snowdon pudding.
So the idea was to take that steamed Snowdon pudding and turn it into a baked Alaska.
-Oh! So it's going to be frozen?
The rhubarb compote is going to be served separately in a jar. It's quite a sweet dessert
-so I want to keep that tart just to cut that sweetness.
-How are you feeling? Excited?
It's very important, this dish, so I have to get it right. It's quite difficult doing a baked Alaska.
-There is this showmanship we're looking for, as well.
-I think it'll look really good,
-a nice, large baked Alaska.
-Served with a little pot of rhubarb compote.
It's the final day today. How you feeling, Aled?
Nervous, up against it, but I'm not going to give up, boys. I'm here to win,
-I'm here to represent Wales and I'll fight right to the end.
Gareth's going for broke with a risky but dramatic take
on a dinner party classic. But can he pull it off?
I think Gareth's pulling out all the stops. He knows he's got to impress.
But things do go wrong. Pastry is that one part of cooking
that it is scientific, it's got to be exact, it's got to be correct.
Three very different desserts from three very patriotic chefs,
all desperate to represent their country at the People's Banquet.
Especially reigning Welsh champion, Aled.
We're all here to win for Wales, we're all here to please people if we get to the banquet.
I'll put my hand up, I want to be there flying the flag for Wales.
-But if it's not me, boys, you better do it.
Only one pudding can crown the banquet table
and only two chefs can go through to Friday's judging panel.
It's still very neck-and-neck so they've got to make sure whatever they serve
is full of flavour and it really is a stunning dish to represent Wales.
Faced with serving his final course whilst in last place,
Aled is talking up his dish as the one that's really nailed the banquet brief.
I chose rice pudding because it is so close to my heart. It's probably my favourite dessert.
I could eat it every day. But hopefully my slight twist to it will start a conversation.
"I've never heard of bay leaf rice pudding before." What about you, Gareth?
I'm hoping mine's going to look like a mountain. That should get them talking.
Snowdon pudding is from my neck of the woods
-and I have heard it is a very heavy...
-It's very, very stodgy.
What I've done is, I've lightened it up.
After hearing Gareth's dessert, I definitely think I can gain a point on him and maybe jump over him.
Aled can't help reminding Gareth that he's got the competition experience
to leapfrog ahead of him at the finish line.
I'm only one point behind you today, so hopefully you'll do a mistake and I won't.
With the pressure piling up on all sides, does Gareth regret attempting such a technically complex dessert?
It's definitely worth it and that's the reason, cos I want this so much,
that's why I've put that element of risk in it.
Cos you don't want to have an easy time, you want to cook the best food you can.
However, even with so many elements to complete, Michelin-starred Hywel remains unflappable.
-OK, Hywel, lots to do.
-It's all coming together.
I'm just doing my crystallised pistachio nuts.
With so many parts to his dish,
Angela wants to make sure Hywel's got his eye on the clock.
-Are you going to be on target? There are lots of elements to your dish.
-Are you up first? No.
-No, thank goodness.
-OK. Thank goodness. Are you slightly worried?
-I'm going to be there.
-OK. Now we're quietly confident.
So we go from slightly worried to quietly confident.
Though Aled's pudding celebrates Welsh tradition, Angela is concerned his straightforward dish
will have a hard time competing with the technical accomplishment of Hywel and Gareth's desserts.
-Do you think you've gone too simple?
-Maybe I could've pushed on and done another 30 elements,
but I don't think the dish needs it. I'm trying my best to make rice pudding fit for the banquet.
-Yep, we'll wait and see.
-You can do better than that.
It's a stern warning on perfect execution.
Any mistake in such a simple pudding could see him sent home early.
And keeping his crown is not his only motivation.
I tried this rice pudding recipe out doing meals on wheels on Anglesey.
It's a company that's quite close to my heart, cos I'm doing rice pudding in memory of my grandparents.
They both needed meals on wheels from the company in Anglesey, so I know how much they relied on it.
To road test his dish, Aled headed home to the isle of Anglesey
to join some of the volunteers who made such a difference to his family.
I'm really looking forward to today, cos it'll be nice to give back to them a little bit.
The kitchen staff at Brwynog in Anglesey cook more than 250 meals each week
for both meals on wheel recipients and the elderly residents who live in the community home
and it's up to Barbara Kinsella to coordinate the hot food deliveries.
-Hi, Barbara. Great to meet you. I'm Aled.
I'm looking forward to today. I'm here to volunteer with you for a great cause.
-So what are we going to be doing?
-Today we're delivering meals.
We're a team of about eight people
who take part in taking the meals out.
With lunchtime fast approaching,
Barbara leaves Aled in the capable hands of kitchen manager Susan.
-I'm here to volunteer my services.
-We've got plenty for you to do.
-I'll get an apron and do some work.
Here in the Anglesey kitchen, the food is lovingly cooked from scratch.
The deliveries are vital in helping local residents live independently in their own homes
for as long as possible.
-Put the lids on like this.
-And then in the machine and down.
Adding to the day's menu, Aled wants to find out if his rice pudding,
his grandmother's speciality, can bring back some nostalgic memories from elder members of the community.
I'm going to put this crunchy hazelnut crumble on top.
Hopefully we won't have any problems with people's teeth. Thank you.
With the pudding packed up, Aled heads out with the volunteers.
And it's not just a meal that's on offer.
They'll be very surprised. There are many lonely people around
and it's quite possible that I'm the only person they see during the day.
It's nice to be able to have a chat with them when we take their meals.
A good talk and some feedback on his dessert is just what Aled is after
as he joins Barbara's regular route.
It'll be nice to see what you think about it.
-And quite a lovely mixture.
-Do you enjoy it?
-I've got to say, it's worth waiting for.
-Yes, it's very nice.
Before the war, it was one of the main sweets that we had.
-Good. Hopefully it can bring back happy memories.
-Has to have skin on it.
I'm really glad you both enjoyed it.
Deliveries complete, Aled heads back to the community centre with new confidence in his dish.
To get feedback from them, and it was all positive, it's been really good.
Touched by what he's seen, Aled has an invite for Susan and Barbara.
If I was lucky enough to get my dishes onto the banquet, I'd love you two to join me at the party.
-BOTH: Thank you!
Back in the kitchen, three chefs are battling for two places in front of the judges tomorrow.
Aled's playing it safe with his childhood favourite,
rice pudding with hazelnut crumble and poached cherries.
Hywel's battling down to the wire
with a cheffy rhubarb and strawberry trifle tart.
And Gareth's risking his all
on an ambitious Snowdon pudding baked Alaska with rhubarb preserve.
Scoring their dishes is Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett
who, at the end of the day, must decide which chef to send home.
I'm expecting these guys to rise to the challenge, to make sure they put their food in front of the judges.
They're not only representing themselves but the people in their communities.
They've got to give their all to represent Wales.
It's the home stretch, and with plating up fast approaching,
all three chefs are racing to complete their desserts on time.
Calm under pressure,
Hywel is sifting toasted almonds with powdered fondant to bake into a brittle cracking garnish.
While Gareth churns his lemon verbena herb custard into ice cream.
And with less work than his rivals, Aled is confidently coasting towards the finish line,
picking the best mint leaves to garnish his rice pudding.
-This is probably the least you've had to do in all your courses.
-Have you seen watching those two sink?
-I've been watching Gareth burn something.
-He's been sending smoke signals.
-What have you been burning?
-Nothing. You can't burn tinned rice pudding, though, can you?
-Tinned rice pudding. That's a bit harsh.
Hywel's elaborate trifle tart rests on a perfectly crisp tart base
and he's watching it like a hawk as it browns in the oven.
Hywel, I notice the tart case seems to be going in and out of the oven.
-You having some difficulties?
-No. Just making sure it's going to be perfect.
-Aled clearly hasn't got much to do. He's been watching me for the past ten minutes.
-Is that out of a tin?
-Ambrosia all the way, chef.
His tart base perfected, the real work begins with the presentation.
-Happy with everything?
-Yeah, it's come out as I wanted. Beautiful golden brown.
So it's assembly now. You love a bit of assembly, you. It's all like this, isn't it?
He's in the lead, he doesn't want to lose that position,
but Hywel's got more elements to do than anyone. He really wants to push himself.
Hywel's off the hook for now as it's Aled who'll be the first to finish his competition menu.
With such a simple offering, he's come up with some cheffy tricks to blow his rivals out of the water.
I've been stood here watching you two guys slave away and sweating,
so I thought I'd break a sweat right at the end
-and do some whisking over this hot stove.
-What's that for?
It's a little sabayon. I'm just going to fold it through this rice pudding at the end.
-Just to lighten it?
-Yeah, just to enrich it.
Aled's got a very simple dessert. He's making a rice pudding.
This is where so many chefs let them down. They think the simplest things are easy.
At the last minute, Aled decants his piping hot rice pudding into a cast iron serving dish
and decorates the top with poached cherries and hazelnut crumble topping,
filling up side dishes with extra for the guests to share among the table.
But is Aled's humble family favourite dramatic enough to steal a spot in tomorrow's judging?
-What have we got here?
-What we have here is a bay-leaf-infused rice pudding
with hazelnut crumble and poached cherries.
And what about the spectacular? Do you think it's looking good?
It was always going to be a challenge to make rice pudding be spectacularly visual.
For me, it's kind of simple but it works.
-OK. Are you ready?
-Thank you very much.
Will Angela find Aled's home-spun approach a fitting finale to the People's Banquet?
Is it as good as your grandmother's?
It's not possible to do a rice pudding as good as my grandmother's. She makes the world's best.
But hopefully I make the second best.
-To be fair, the rice pudding's stunning.
It's not too sweet.
So the hazelnut crumble, the texture, crunchiness, that's worked for you?
Definitely. I think it's pretty much done what I wanted it to do. Brings something different to the dish.
The crumble with the rice pudding... Rice pudding's very soft.
-And that's not too sweet, either.
-All works really well together.
-The bay leaf, that's enough flavour coming through for you?
-If you put too much bay leaf,
it'll become really bitter.
-That bay leaf...
-I can taste bay leaf but it's very, very mild.
-Should it be a little bit stronger?
-Possibly, if it's being described as a bay leaf rice pudding.
-Where does the sharing element come in?
-It's in the middle of the table.
If people would like more cherries, they can help themselves.
If they want more crumble, they can help themselves. It's up to the guests how much they want to eat.
I think he's just slightly missed the point. I think it's a bit too wintry.
I don't think it's glamorous enough for the banquet.
It's so simple but it's so easy to get wrong, as well.
Hopefully I'm going to bypass Gareth and get into second place
and it'll be myself and Hywel in the final tomorrow.
Hywel's trifle tart is up next and, true to form, he has everything under control.
I think it's about time another one of us boyos got all the way to the banquet.
If one of us don't get it, why don't we try and go dressed up as a clown or something?
Hywel knows it's his last chance to impress so is going for broke,
piping Chantilly cream atop his layered custard tart
and sprinkling sugared pistachios, cubes of strawberry jelly,
wild strawberries and basil cress to decorate.
And his final flourish, adding shards of almond crackling to the top.
So, Angela, that's my rhubarb and strawberry trifle tart.
-And you serve it like this? So there'd be one or two per table?
-The bigger it gets, you get even more wow factor.
-OK, let's go and try it. Thank you.
Time to find out if Hywel's trifle tart is spectacular enough to keep him in the lead.
-You think this is going to be a celebratory dish?
-The way it's served on the silver, it's decadent,
and I think it'll celebrate the great guests that'll be there.
-That's absolutely amazing.
-That's the word for that dish.
So you were looking at the pastry quite a bit. Has this worked out how you wanted it to?
Yeah, that's absolutely the effect I was looking for. I wanted it to retain its crispness.
Right balance of flavours, as well. Almost sweet and sour.
You've got the tartness of rhubarb and the sweet custard. Chantilly's not over sweet, as well.
-The strawberry jelly, the flavour's coming through for you?
-Yeah. They were fantastic quality strawberries.
It's the juice out of the strawberries sweetened with a little sugar and set with gelatine.
It's a busy top, isn't it? But for me, you've got different tastes, different textures.
I've just had a wild strawberry with basil and it works fantastically.
And it's got the colours of Wales, as well, red, white and green.
-Do you think you've done enough with this dessert to take you through to the judges tomorrow?
-I think I have.
-What do you reckon? It's down to you and me?
-It's me and you, boy.
-I think it is.
I think he's been in a league of his own this week.
So, game on.
With Angela, you never really know until she gives us our feedback later,
but from my point of view, there's no glaring massive errors.
Gareth's last to the pass, and having already assembled his mountain of a pudding,
all that's left is to get the meringue browned to perfection.
Gareth, has it turned out how you wanted it?
Yeah. Just need one more minute to get that little bit more warmth into the sponge.
It's a tricky final hazard baking the frozen ice cream cake in a hot oven.
It's a crucial moment for Gareth now. He's got to make sure that he gets the colour on the meringue
without melting his ice cream too much.
-Are you happy with that?
-I'll just be two seconds.
It's the moment of truth as he peels away the baking parchment.
And disastrously for Gareth, the meringue has torn off with the paper.
His blunder hasn't gone unnoticed by Angela.
He can only repair the damage as best he can
and offer up his dessert, together with jars of rhubarb compote, for inspection.
There we go. Snowdon pudding baked Alaska with a rhubarb compote.
-Are you pleased with how it looks before we slice into it?
It just caught a tiny little bit round the edges.
-So you'd expect a bit more brown round there?
-It should be all the way down but the paper stuck.
-And a feast for the eyes?
-I think so.
Were you nervous? In and out of the oven a bit.
I just wanted to make sure that the ice cream's solid in the middle, sponge is nice and warm
and meringue's crispy on the top, gooey in the middle.
Good. Well, proof's in the pudding. OK, off we go. Let's go.
Will Gareth's Snowdon pudding baked Alaska
prove to be the peak of his People's Banquet menu?
-You think that's a dish that works well together for this banquet?
-I think so.
First of all, it's got the presentation factor when it goes down, something a bit different.
It's a little bit samey in colour. It's all a bit brown, brown and brown.
-And the ice cream's the verbena flavour, yeah?
I wanted to be careful and balance the lemon verbena flavour
with the lemon and the sultanas in the sponge.
-It's lovely, yeah.
-It's actually quite fresh.
You're putting basically sugar with sugar. You don't think that's made it too sweet?
I don't think the ice cream is overly sweet and I think the tartness of the rhubarb
just cuts the sweetness a bit.
I think the rhubarb's definitely a good idea.
It definitely brings something to the dish. Colour, texture, flavour.
And the sponge? That's how you wanted it, a thicker layer like that?
Perhaps it could be a little bit thinner round the edges.
It is quite heavy. He did mention that he was trying to get a really nice, light sponge.
There's actually quite a lot of it, as well.
Do you think you've done enough with this dessert to warrant second place or first place?
I really don't know what's going to happen,
but obviously I don't want to go home today.
-How many points behind Gareth are you?
-So you've got to beat him by two
to go through. It might be a tough call.
I hope I've done enough to beat Aled. At this moment, I really don't know where I stand.
It's all down to Angela now. She's got all our fates in her hands.
With their final courses done and dusted, there's nothing more the chefs can do.
It's a mixture of nerves and optimism waiting for these scores.
I had a two-point cushion. I think I've done enough. Hopefully, I'll be cooking for the judges.
I'd be absolutely devastated if I'm sent home today.
To not have the opportunity to represent my country
in the final again would definitely break my heart.
It's time for Angela to deliver her final verdict.
Aled, you did the Welsh rice pudding.
I thought the bay leaf came through. I thought it was subtle.
Liked the crumble idea, I thought that was a nice touch to it.
Cherries. Were cherries the right thing?
We're talking a summer dessert. Where are the strawberries, the red currants?
Where was that summer banquet? That's what we're looking for.
And by the same token, rice pudding may be a touch too wintry.
Hywel, you did the rhubarb and strawberry trifle tart.
Looked stunning, very summery.
You can see those coming down on a banquet, the silver platters, all these waiters walking in with them.
We thought your pastry wasn't right but you were in and out of the oven, you got the crunch perfectly.
Looked lovely on the stand.
But was that enough?
Could you add more to it? Could it have more fireworks involved?
Gareth, you did the Snowdon pudding, the baked Alaska.
Fantastic concept. Rhubarb, nice idea in the little jars, delicious, really tart,
a good combination to combat the sweetness.
But you obviously have got a sweet tooth.
I thought the dessert overall was very sweet.
And I think the sponge, a little too heavy.
A little disappointing in that respect.
As you know, only two of you can go through to the next stage of the competition
and cook for the judges tomorrow.
So with a score of nine for their dessert,
making them the chef with the highest total score across the week...
..is Hywel. Congratulations.
You can be a bit more pleased. Ooh!
So well done. That leaves two of you.
You know how tight the scoring's been. There's a point between you.
I can tell you, Aled, I gave your rice pudding...
I gave your baked Alaska...
Which means Aled, with your total score,
you will be the second chef cooking for the Great British judges tomorrow. Well done.
Congratulations. And sadly, commiserations, Gareth.
We have to say goodbye. Well done all of you.
-I wasn't expecting that one.
So with the highest total scores,
Hywel and Aled will be cooking for the judges tomorrow.
Gareth must now leave the competition.
We were level pegging most of the way. A bit of bad luck today.
Aled pipped me at the post, but I wish the boys better luck tomorrow and hope they do Wales proud.
Tomorrow, Aled and Hywel will be going at it hammer and tongs to win a place in the national final.
-Are the nerves starting to set in?
-I'm bricking it.
Will it be enough to impress the judges?
-That is truly disgusting.
-Very, very badly executed.
-Do you mean that?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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It's the last chance for the chefs from Wales to impress veteran chef Angela Hartnett, as the one with the lowest total score from across the week will leave the competition.
Aled Williams, Gareth Jones and Hywel Jones deliver their desserts, but which dish will earn top marks - rice pudding with hazelnut crumble, cherries and raspberries, Snowdon pudding baked Alaska or rhubarb and strawberry trifle tart?