Chefs Tom Kerridge, Phil Thompson and Tom Aikens, from London and the south east, are determined to win, but which dish will take pole position?
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It's Day 3 on Great British Menu.
All week, three world-class chefs from London and the South East,
Tom Kerridge, Tom Aikens and Phil Thompson,
have been striving for the chance to see their dishes at the ultimate street party.
It's been an epic battle between three Michelin-starred chefs.
And today promises to be even more extraordinary.
Is this yours, chef? A secret delivery come in?
Jason Atherton is assessing their efforts this week and following three superb starters,
they made him struggle yesterday, trying to pick a winner out of three great fish courses.
It's just been a living nightmare for me to judge this round.
Now it's the main course which Tom Kerridge took all the way to the banquet last year
as champion of London and the South East.
If somebody wants to take that off me, they've got to wrestle me for it because I want to hold on to that.
I definitely want to take that crown from him.
I know what they can do. I know what they're all about. I'm here to show everyone what I can do.
Only two of them can face the judges on Friday and it couldn't be much closer.
That one star dish or one simple slip-up is the difference between going to the final or going home.
All the chefs this year are facing one of the toughest challenges yet.
They've been out meeting amazing characters who bring people together through food.
It's something that we hope will help rebuild and make their community.
Inspired by what they come across, they must create irresistible platters to get everyone talking
as they arrive at the table.
This week's veteran chef Jason knows just what it takes to get a main course to the banquet
because he's done it himself in the past.
I really expect these guys to come out with a big winning dish.
I think one of them can bring out the number ten.
Tom Kerridge should be feeling confident.
He won this course last year and has scored 17 out of a possible 20 so far this week.
But he only leads the formidable Tom Aikens by one point and rising star Phil by two.
It's bonkers. It is so tight. It's so close. We know in an instant this can all change.
After the main courses, Phil could be in the lead and I could be at the bottom.
-How are you today, Tom?
-Not bad, not bad, not bad.
-So what is this dish?
And when you roast a hog, you do the whole animal,
-so I'll try and use as much as possible.
-I'll do some baked potatoes, Bramley apple sauce.
-We've got some nice trotters.
I'm going to stuff them with some shoulder, liver and bacon. I'll make some salad cream.
-What is it about this dish that gives it the wow factor?
When you're actually eating it, it should transport you back to English summer afternoons,
eating a hog roast, drinking cider, having a great time.
In his usual rustic style,
Tom has gone for a classic British combination - pork with apple,
with the modern twist of salt-baked potatoes,
but is it good enough for the People's Banquet?
He's got to be extremely careful. There's a lot of meat to get cooked to perfection -
the head, the trotter, the belly, the stuffing. A lot can go wrong.
Next up is Tom Aikens, one of London's top chefs and the bad boy of the culinary world.
He's currently in second place, but plans to change that today.
To take the number one spot from Mr Kerridge, all I have to do is focus, not make any mistakes
and there'll be the wow factor because it's a big platter.
-So what have we got here?
-We're doing a suckling pig. I'm using a baby pig.
I'm going to deconstruct it, so we've got a bit of leg, a bit of loin and a bit of rib.
That's going to be served with a potato mash with a little smoked bacon in it - crispy, crispy,
and a bit of lemon zest as well.
What is it about this dish when you came up with it that you said, "This is the dish for my community,
-"this will make them go..."
The dish is going to be one big platter.
It's going to be plonked on the table in front of them and they all dig in.
Tom is staying upmarket with this most expensive cut of pork,
but Jason is concerned about how feasible it is for the banquet.
Suckling pig, it takes a very high skill level to cook it.
It dries out in an instant. He's got to be extremely careful.
The final chef is Dagenham's Phil Thompson.
He felt the stress in the starter, losing points with silly mistakes,
but matched his rivals with his fish course.
I'm two points behind, but I'm only one point behind second.
Second is good enough to get through to the judges.
I've got two more courses to claw my way back.
-Good morning, chef.
-What dish are you cooking?
-East End staple diet of pie, mash and liquor.
-What does that involve?
-I've got some "chippies' choice" potatoes - great for mash, nice and fluffy.
I'll use a nice, cheap cut of meat called the feather blade. I'll caramelise the shallots off.
I'm going to make a nice red wine and port sauce, give it a bit of luxury
because I've got a lot of cheap ingredients here, so nice red wine and port sauce.
It wouldn't be a pie, mash and liquor without my liquor,
so chopped flat parsley, a tiny bit of tarragon and, of course, a bit of vinegar.
-It's very simple. What's the wow factor?
-The presentation is key. Who doesn't like pie, mash and liquor?
So Phil from Essex is bringing his Michelin star skills
to a humble regional favourite.
Part of his strategy is to keep everyone guessing.
Is it a deconstructed pie or a classical pie?
He's not giving too much away.
I'm looking forward to seeing how he pulls that dish off and makes it a feast for the eyes.
The London and South East region has won the main course at the banquet twice. Jason did it first,
then he saw Tom Kerridge capture it last year and thinks the treble could be on this time.
So, guys, we've never had three Michelin stars together in the same kitchen,
-competing for London and the South East.
-There's always been one guy who's not had it.
The pressure's on. It's not just a battle of the Great British Menu.
It's also a battle of the Michelin stars.
With only two points separating first and last place, they all need a high score to stay in the race.
The brief demands faultless cooking, an emphasis on sharing and stunning presentation.
After Jason docked him points for producing restaurant style dishes,
the fiercely competitive Tom Aikens has come up with a new game plan and has received a surprise delivery.
-Is this yours, chef? Have you had a secret delivery come in?
What's all this then, chef?
Tom's not telling them what he's up to.
Up the ante. No other reason. I want to win and beat these guys.
-Have you got a delivery coming in, Phil?
-That would be telling, but no tricks up my sleeve!
That's a bit sly, that, chef. Has he got you worried, Tom?
-No, I've got a delivery of my own coming in later.
-I feel left out.
I might get on the blower to Argos this afternoon, see what I can pick up, just to try and join the gang.
Just a little secret. I've got secrets up my sleeve, you know?
This is for the dessert.
It's just to stand them on something, little mini Baked Alaskas.
-And then all this?
-This is for the pork. You'll have all the different bits of pork down there.
-Was this something, after being here, you thought, "I need to..."?
-A little bit.
Seeing as how Mr Kerridge did his lobster dish, I wanted something a bit more substantial.
-I think you might have scared him, Tom.
-I think you might have rocked Mr Cucumber.
-Do you think?
The guy's a... He's a proven winner.
He's run across the Sahara in bare feet, naked or something, so he's looking at definitely winning this.
While Tom Kerridge gets on with the apple sauce for his roast hog,
he's keeping his own delivery very quiet.
Across the worktop, his rival Tom Aikens is making yet more changes to his dish.
He's upgraded his leg of suckling pig to the whole beast
and Phil, who is quietly working on the pastry for his pies, is surprised.
It's risky changing things at the last minute, but if you've got the gonads to do it, then by all means.
Phil wants his pie, mash and liquor dish to be true to its roots
and he's been doing his research to get it spot-on.
Traditional pie and mash shops can still be found in London's East End, including Cooke's
which has been run by the same family for more than a century.
-Hello, Phil. How are you, mate?
-Good, good, good.
-That smell makes me hungry as well.
-You like that?
-It brings a smile to my face.
I need a few tips. I've got a few ideas, but all I can remember is the taste.
Bobby Cooke took over from his father 20 years ago.
He now serves over 1,000 pies a week, all hand-made.
-This is our bakehouse.
-This is where all the magic happens.
-That's the dough over there.
This rolling machine is about 80 years old.
Yeah, try them, Phil.
But what Phil is really interested in is Bobby's liquor recipe.
Some people thicken their parsley sauce with potato water, but Bobby uses a different technique.
That's the liquor. We thicken it with a batter. Have a taste.
Pie, mash and liquor is food that's brought East Enders together since the 19th century.
To learn the secret of a great pie, Phil is meeting members of a Pie And Mash Club founded by Nick Evans.
It's about going to these pie shops in London,
just seeing, you know, the way pie and mash is.
It sounds like a simple thing, but every shop does it in a minutely different way
and I find that really interesting. It's gone from being me and a group of workmates
to just people who like pie and mash and have come down and taken part, so I've made good friends out of it.
Phil's been experimenting with his liquor recipe.
What will the connoisseurs make of his effort?
Right, there you go, boys.
-It's a green stodge of some description.
-I quite like it though.
It's not bland, but it's just...
-No. I'm not being rude, mate. That just ain't liquor to me.
I would like to see the bits of parsley in the liquor because that's what makes a great liquor -
being able to see those little flecks of green.
He's got to appeal to a load of food snobs. You won't impress them with pie and mash.
I can see the dilemma that he's in. But what can you do with it to ponce it up? Not a lot.
-I think I'll need it.
Luckily, founder member Nick has some words of encouragement.
-I did enjoy it.
-I didn't think it was that bad.
-But it wasn't liquor as we know it.
I'd love you to be there if I got through to the final with my pie, mash and liquor.
I'd be honoured to be invited and I'll certainly help eat the food.
In the kitchen, Phil knows he's got his work cut out if he wants to trounce his rivals.
He thinks that pie, mash and liquor is perfect for the People's Banquet.
Tom Aikens has raised the stakes
by going for roast suckling pig on the big platter he had sent in.
And Tom Kerridge aims to keep his crown
with roast hog, salt-baked potatoes and apple sauce.
Two pork dishes. They'll have a bit of a head-to-head there.
Phil's take on a deconstructed pie, I'm really excited about that.
The heat is on and this is getting really exciting.
The sense of competition is reaching new heights.
Tom Aikens has upped his game
by going for more variety on a bigger platter, but his nearest rival isn't impressed.
Has it got the fun factor? It might look nice. It's still got to taste nice.
He has given himself a lot of unrehearsed extra cooking to do,
so is he in danger of making a fatal error?
The pressure will get to some people because it's intense in there, it's not easy.
It's the one that can deal with it. I can deal with pressure and stress.
So how is the defending champion coping with it all?
Those guys are going to try their hardest to beat me. They want to get their dishes on to the banquet.
-Jason's constant scrutiny doesn't make it any easier. He doesn't miss a thing.
-What's going on here?
-What's that for?
-My salt-baked potatoes.
I'm going to bake them in a salt crust that's like a sack.
-This is very, very creative.
-A sack of spuds, chef.
And you're all on schedule?
I'll go with "might be".
Tom's mystery delivery still hasn't arrived.
Across the kitchen, Phil's applying his Michelin star skill to the aged beef feather blade for his pies.
What is it about this dish that's going to make pie and liquor so special?
It's going to bring pie and liquor to the thousands.
I've got a nice, cheap cut of meat. It's so flavoursome, a feather blade.
Are you going to surprise me with the liquor?
-Are you taking it avant-garde or are you keeping it traditional?
No, I tried taking it that way and I upset a few people,
so we're keeping it traditional.
-Have you got some fancy contraption to serve it on?
-Chef, that's not me. That's not me at all.
Tom Aikens will be plating up first
and with characteristic precision, he slices up his crackling...
..then portions the leg which was originally the main part of the dish...
..and calmly assembles all his pork delicacies on his wooden board.
So, Tom, talk me through your dish.
You have the suckling pig,
so you've got the little ribs, the cutlet, the loin, ears, the leg, belly and that's the crispy skin.
-Do you want to grab the mash?
-I'll grab the plate.
Tom is gambling for high stakes with a much more complicated platter than he had planned.
Will it win him the day or ruin his chances?
Tom, this is a bit out of your comfort zone.
-You don't normally do spiced food like this.
-Are you happy with the glaze on that?
-Yeah. Everyone thinks I do quite classic flavours,
so I just thought I'd throw that in to throw them a bit as well.
-Is that a honey glaze?
-Honey and tomato ketchup.
You don't associate tomato ketchup with Tom Aikens, but he's used it well here.
-Lovely barbecue flavour.
-There's a bit of heat in there.
-A bit of zing.
-Are you happy with the seasoning on this dish?
In terms of all the cooking elements side of it, it came out really well.
The black pudding is beautiful.
-The black pudding, the peas and the broad beans - is that the right accompaniment?
The suckling pig is sweet anyway and the peas and the broad beans add to the sweetness.
Considering it was kind of a last-minute plan, it's come together.
The only negative thing I could say about this,
if that got to the banquet,
-will it all stay hot and could you do it?
-If he can pull it off, I'll take my hat off to him.
I had put myself under a lot more pressure as I was going to just do the roast leg.
This morning, I just thought, "You know what, I'll go for it!"
It's reigning champ Tom Kerridge he's gunning for and he won't give up his title without a fight.
But he's behind schedule and there's still no sign of his secret delivery
as he rolls out the salt-crust pastry for his potatoes.
He's got his work cut out with what he's doing.
He won it last year, so the pressure is on him to produce a better dish than he did last year.
So, yeah, hopefully, he's feeling it a little bit.
Could Phil be the dark horse here and outflank the two Toms?
He's putting mushrooms in his meat pie filling, along with a wine sauce,
not something you'd find in the East End. He's plating up next, so this is the crucial stage.
-Everything going well, Phil?
-Yeah, everything's going to plan, chef.
I'm just trying to make my mash... ain't like my mum's - no lumps.
Don't make it like MY mum's!
Is this the sort of food you'd eat at home, what you were brought up on?
Yeah, it's food I've been brought up on, food that I like to eat.
We cook with luxury ingredients every day. You don't want that at home. It's comfort food.
He's downplaying his dish, but the boy from Dagenham only needs one point
to catch London's superchef, Tom Aikens.
Phil is quietly confident he's got the winning formula, but Jason is not so sure.
This dish, which is just a pie, has to be super, super special.
In a bid to make his cheap cut tender, Phil has cooked it slowly before browning it off.
-All good, chef.
-Any last-minute changes like Mr Aikens?
-Any tricks in...?
-No, no tricks this time.
-Straight, honest cooking, me.
I'm an honest man. LAUGHTER
Can Phil steal past him into the lead?
His main is so different from the two pork dishes,
it's impossible to predict how Jason will compare it.
-Pie, mash and liquor, chef.
-Shall we go taste it?
Supposedly simple dishes have stormed through to the banquet before.
Will this one lift Phil into the lead?
-What do you think, chef?
-It looks really nice.
-It looks amazing.
It looks proper tasty.
Are you happy with the consistency of that? You don't find it too chewy?
Maybe it's a bit rare for a piece of feather blade, but it's a cheap cut that I'm trying to do justice
and I know it's got some flavour in there and it packs a punch.
-It's a little chewy for me.
I think that's more to do with the cut than the actual cooking.
-On to the mash...
-Traditionally, you put all the sauce over the top?
-It all gets mixed in. It isn't a pretty dish to eat.
-Good mash, yeah?
-It's great mash.
-It's nice with the chilli vinegar.
-It cuts it through.
-Yeah, I've never seen that before.
-It's very nice.
-Are you happy with the liquor? Is that the way you want it?
It's different to the way they do it at the pie and mash shop,
but the smell and the taste is what I'm trying to get across.
-Do you think this would stand up to the East End of London?
-I had heard they didn't like the sauce.
But he's obviously listened to what they told him.
-I would question whether it's a spring, summer banquet dish.
I'm pleased with how today's gone. I had to produce something out of the bag. I was happy the way it went.
Last to the pass is Tom Kerridge.
No chef has ever won the prized banquet main course two years running,
so he is determined to be the first.
Ever the perfectionist, he is making his own salad cream to go with the hog roast and salt-baked potatoes,
but is he being over-ambitious?
I'm a bit concerned that Tom's left himself a lot to do to pull this off to the level I expect him to.
-How are we going, Tom?
-All right, chef.
-Back on track time-wise?
-I think so.
I've got a couple of jobs to attend to, but I'm OK.
Part of Tom's sharing idea is that the guests will have to break into the salt-infused pastry sacks
to find the potatoes that he's baked inside, but first, he plans to knock out his rivals
with the special delivery he promised and it's a big surprise.
-There's only two for you, chef.
-I got a little delivery for you.
-And what's this for?
-It's to sit on, chef.
-To sit on?!
Well, if you have a hog roast, you're going to drink cider, sit on a bale of hay
and watch pretty girls in checked shirts dance in a barn.
-If you get through, will you ask the judges to sit on these?
I'll go in there, remove their chairs and I'll put bales of hay in.
Tom's taking his rural theme to the extreme to try and nail this course.
He's even decanting cider into stoneware flasks.
He puts his rolled pork belly on to a board,
together with pig's head fritters and a stuffed boned trotter.
Tom's finished platter comes complete with carving tools, gravy on the side and apple sauce.
Guys, give us a hand. Phil, you bring the cider up. Tom, you bring the sack of potatoes. I'll bring the pork.
Here we go, chef.
-What do you call it?
-OK, it is roast hog with salt-baked potatoes and apple sauce.
So, chef, how do we go about serving it?
We need to cut open the sack of potatoes and pull a spud out,
a bit of salad, bit of gravy, bit of apple sauce, plenty of cider.
-Get our fingers in there.
-Yeah, that's the whole point. There we go.
-Take one potato. Shall we go taste?
-Let's go. Shall I bring your cider, chef?
Has Tom pulled off a winning theatrical coup or is it a case of style over substance?
We're stood here, leaning against a bale of hay.
Bale of hay, crispy pork, baked potato and cider.
What more could you want?
I'd better not drink too much in case it impairs my judging skills.
-What do you think?
-It looks amazing.
Yeah, it looks really...
-Home-made salad cream. I've never had home-made salad cream before.
-Are you happy with the flavour of that?
-Yeah, I've been eating it all morning.
-Shall we try a bit of salad?
-Yeah, five-a-day. The home-made salad cream, wasn't it?
-It lightens up the whole dish, doesn't it?
-Nice and fresh.
There's a lot of elements going on there. Is that going to be OK for 100 people?
Yeah, it should be an easy one for a banquet. The work's in the prep.
If I've got the prep work right, it's doable.
-Have you got any negatives?
-Not enough cider?
-Not enough cider.
-Have I been tight?
I was very happy with everything. If Jason's happy, that's another thing.
I hope it gets a ten, so I can see Matthew Fort sat on a bale of hay.
All the chefs can do now is wait for Jason's verdict.
It's still a three-dog race. I don't think there's one outright winner,
so we're all going to be a little bit nervous.
I'm happy with what I've done, but you don't know what Jason's looking for, so we'll see.
This is so tight. I'm so nervous. I think it'll go down to the dessert
and it will be all three of us fighting for those two places.
The chefs are about to hear what Jason thinks of their dishes.
Tom Aikens, your roast suckling pig with broad beans, peas and black pudding...
If you'd put it on a white plate, it would have lost it for me.
When it came up on that board, it did everything it was supposed to.
The one thing that let it down was the mash. It was a little bit dry.
But when I tasted the pork...
..it was just great.
Phil, your pie, mash and liquor...
What can I say about that? It's a typical East End dish.
It's one of the dishes London and the South East is known for.
The feather blade on top was just a little bit chewy.
You need to work on that water bath a little bit more, but having said that, it was a pretty top-class pie.
Tom... Tom Kerridge, your roast hog, salt-baked potatoes and apple sauce...
I was worried about the amount of protein there. All I could see was pork and not too much vegetables.
But I've got to say, the amount of creativity and the fun element, I think for the challenge,
you've hit it absolutely on the money.
So we'll go down to the scoring.
Just two points separate you.
Tom Aikens, for your roast suckling pig,
I'm giving you...
..a nine out of ten. Well done. It was a great dish.
Phil, for your pie, mash and liquor,
I'm giving you...
..also a nine out of ten.
for your roast hog,
..I've got to give you...
..my first ever ten out of ten. Well done, buddy.
That was a great dish. It's a big day tomorrow.
It's all to play for and someone's going home.
-See you tomorrow.
-Thank you, chef.
-Well done, chaps.
-That was an awesome dish.
So with three dishes down now,
Tom Kerridge is still in the lead with 27.
Tom Aikens is two points adrift, but holds on to second place with 25...
..while Phil is still right there in the mix with 24.
I've got a ten, thoroughly chuffed, but the other guys both got nines.
Maybe the pressure is on Tom Aikens to try and step away from me. He's got to match me now.
Am I going to let Phil take that point off me? No.
Tomorrow's dessert is Phil's last chance to wow Jason.
He'll need every trick in the book.
With all three chefs cooking first-class dishes, it's going to be close.
Everything is riding on this course.
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd 2011
Email [email protected]
Chefs Tom Kerridge, Phil Thompson and Tom Aikens, from London and the south east, are determined to win, but which dish will take pole position? They serve up roast hog with salt baked potatoes and apple sauce; pie, mash and liquor; and roast suckling pig leg with broad beans, peas and black pudding.