One chef left the competition last time and only two remain, as they cook their entire menus for judges Prue Leith, Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton.
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It's judgement day on Great British Menu.
The fight for London and the South East has been a clash of the titans
with three Michelin-star holders vying to cook at the People's Banquet.
So far there's been defeat.
I'm gutted for you, mate.
Now brace yourselves
for one of the biggest ever Great British Menu battles.
-Gave you a run for your money.
-I've been trained by the master.
-Scored 9 for my dessert yesterday, Chef Aikens.
-It's lucky I'm a calm man, yeah?
-I recognise that copper pan.
-I used it last year on a winning dish.
-I'm going to win this year.
Today Tom Aikens and Tom Kerridge cook for the judges,
who are also on fighting form.
I think it's absolutely dreadful.
Only one can go through to next week's final.
I'm not here for the banter.
I want to win, and I want to remain London and South East champion.
-I'm definitely going to whup his
-on this one.
Bring it on!
-Good morning, chef.
The formidable Tom Aikens and returning champion Tom Kerridge
have been fierce rivals all week.
Good luck, chef. You're going to need it.
Oh, really? So are you.
Although they have quite different styles,
the two Toms are evenly matched.
We're both very good cooks, both very determined.
He won last year. I want to be this year's winner.
But Tom Kerridge has every intention of holding onto his title
and getting to the banquet again.
He's constantly striving to be the best to try and take my crown.
But I'm going to try my best not to let him.
Our judges, Oliver Peyton, Prue Leith and Matthew Fort,
won't know who's cooked what or which dishes make up each menu
until after they've scrutinised every course.
And they have high expectations.
This competition between the two
is undoubtedly the most competitive of the competition so far.
I think of Tom Aikens as the most competitive chef.
I think he has a more nakedly competitive streak.
Tom Kerridge manages, I think, to hide his natural competitiveness.
You've hit the nail on the head,
because you can't be that good and not be competitive.
As we come to the end of the heats,
what I remember from other competitions is
there's always stand-out dishes, always memories.
What I want from these guys today is memories.
Tom Aikens has sprung a series of surprises during the week
in a bid to gain an advantage.
Tom Kerridge, who stuck to his original game plan,
wants to know if there will be any more today.
-There may be something up my sleeve.
-Oh, a couple of tricks up your sleeve.
Is that what you need to win? A couple of tricks? HE CACKLES
One dish Tom Aikens hasn't changed
is his sophisticated consomme,
which will be the first dish the judges taste today.
Tom Kerridge is also serving a soup.
His much more rustic lamb broth
is designed for sharing,
a part of the brief he thinks his rival neglected at first.
Have you had fun thinking of these dishes, chef?
I did, yes. And, as you've seen, I've tweaked a few during the week.
Think you got the idea of the challenge wrong and had to rethink?
-I wouldn't say wrong, but I just...
-Just a little off mark.
Mr Aikens isn't rising to that one.
I did really like your soup, Tom.
-Whether it was better than mine, we'll have to see.
The scores have been very close, so really
it's going to be down to who makes the mistakes,
and I don't intend on making any.
Tom Aikens is a seasoned competitor.
When Tom Kerridge joined the exclusive Michelin-star club five years ago,
his rival, Tom Aikens, had already been a member for ten years.
But that won't influence the judges.
Tom Aikens starts to plate up with a medley of vegetables.
He now adds a quail drumstick, two poached eggs and a breast.
The consomme will be added at the table.
And Tom's done.
OK. Away we go.
The judges will be definitely impressed with my first course.
I'm happy with the way things are going.
Will Tom's refined consomme meet the approval of the gourmet judges?
Gosh, look at the clarity of that stock. Isn't that amazing?
-The smell is delicious.
-Is it quail?
-I would think so, yes.
-All exquisitely made.
-Yeah. The broth is sensational.
-God, that's good.
The little meatball is herbal and light.
I think that's one of the better quail dishes I've ever had.
A really beautiful, delicate, finely balanced piece of cooking.
But there is a brief. It is a party.
I don't think the dish will work.
If I sat down in a restaurant to have this, I'd be extremely happy.
If I were, on the other hand, stretched out at a table of 100 people at a street party,
I'd think maybe I'd come to the wrong place.
Are we really going to deny 100 people having this dish?
-This is such a treat!
-And we get to eat it and they don't. Tough!
This is a wonderful dish for me but not for the People's Banquet.
So the judges liked it but don't think it's right for the occasion.
This could be Tom Kerridge's chance to seize an early lead
with his starter, which is spring lamb broth.
It's designed with an element of surprise
but didn't work perfectly earlier in the week.
What's going on here, Tom?
I am putting a puff pastry lid on top of my lamb broth.
-Question for you.
-It's going to rise this time, is it?
If it does, it'll get 10 out of 10 rather than 9.
-Do you think you can make those points up today?
-No two ways about it, chef.
-I'm a fighter.
-I'll just have to start scoring all 10s.
Gave you a run for your money, yeah?
The competition is cranking up already,
and they're only on the starter!
Although Tom's broth sounds simple,
he needs to carefully balance the flavours and seasoning.
Are you happy with the amount of chilli?
I seem to have been able to get the balance right
and hopefully the judges will like it.
OK. Coming through.
But disaster's struck again. The pastry's flat.
Will it let him down in the eyes of the judges?
-This does look like a feast.
This is the sort of thing which I did envisage.
Down we go through the crust.
-Soggy crust, but we all love a bit of soggy crust.
Looking at that, it's actually lamb.
-Lamb! There we go.
Thank you. Oh, my goodness! That is a lot.
-I just love the slight spiciness to it.
-A bit of a tonsil-tickler, frankly, the chilli.
-The chilli, yeah.
Lots of little nuggets of vegetable and meat and sweetbread and skin.
Although I think it really works as a taste,
I think it's really tipping it into quite a heavy dish.
You are actually made to go and share this dish out.
You have to cut through the top. There's a bit of drama, excitement.
"What's inside?" Like unwrapping a parcel. Then you have to share it out.
Could you eat another three courses?
I'm not asking you, Matthew. I know you will say yes.
But most people would find it a struggle.
So a lot of positives there, but reservations, too.
That means there's no clear leader going into the fish course,
which they drew earlier in the week.
Tom Aikens is adapting his presentation
to make it more suitable for a street party.
He's serving his monkfish on a wood-and-marble stand
so it can be carved at the table.
And Tom Kerridge has noticed that it's not the only change he's made.
-I can see a lovely little copper pan over there, chef.
-I recognise that copper pan.
-You do, do you?
I used it last year on a winning dish.
Really? I'm going to win this year. It'll stay with the winning person.
-Your copper pan this year.
Tom Aikens is looking confident.
Is there anything his rival can do to unsettle him?
-Apparently, the judges don't like being kept waiting, chef.
I know you're trying to pressurise me, Tom.
Chef, I'm only pointing out
that judges don't like being kept waiting, and I'm sure...
you don't want to keep them waiting.
But Tom's ready.
The asparagus tips and strips are served with a morel mushroom sauce
and the monkfish poached and rolled in morel powder.
-That looks phenomenal, chef.
-But it would do in the winning copper pans.
-Yes, it would, Mr Kerridge.
TOM K CHUCKLES
Will Tom Aikens' carve-at-the-table monkfish impress the judges?
You're joking, right?
-You're going to do this for 100 people?
-I don't know.
I just think it's a complete and utter waste of time.
It's a restaurant dish that's masquerading
-as some sort of pretence at...
I must say I think you're being peculiarly joyless here.
I think this is a lot of fun and people will enjoy doing it.
It's easier to carve a bit of monkfish
than a bit of chicken, for example.
You're too quick off the mark.
This is a sort of classic, meaty spring dish.
We're got spring morels, spring asparagus,
-That sauce is delicious.
-It is, isn't it?
I can hear Oliver's mind whirring up into a frenzy of denunciation.
I just don't get it. I don't get it.
-It's... it's posh restaurant food.
-What don't you get?
Cooking monkfish on the bone, taking it to a table,
cutting it in front of people is just ridiculous.
-More so than carving a chicken?
-It's completely different.
-Answer the question.
-Let me tell you why.
Fish, in individual portions like that, get colder a lot quicker.
Chicken you can leave sitting for ten minutes and not worry.
This is just a restaurant dish that has been slightly deconstructed.
It's very nice cooking. I'm not against the cooking.
-Oh! You found something to say in its favour!
-I know, but it's just wrong.
I think Oliver has a point.
-I don't think it's wonderful.
I'm a simple bloke. I want to know if it tastes good and feels good. And actually, it does.
Some doubts, then, about the practicality for the banquet.
But they're loving his food.
Back in the kitchen, Tom Kerridge is trying to concentrate on HIS fish course,
but his adversary can't resist trying to wind him up.
-What's it like cooking at a banquet?
-I just want some pointers from you because I'm going to be on there.
-TOM K LAUGHS
Tom's laid a base of onion, kohlrabi and caraway seed on brioche buns
and now adds his specially made cheese slices
to his lobster and mackerel burgers.
-You look very busy over there, yeah?
-You look like you're
-busting a gut over there, man.
I've learnt from last year. That's why I've made my dishes a little simpler.
As you can see, you're the one running round, while my burgers are ready to go.
Cool, calm, collected Kerridge.
It doesn't look like a gourmet dish,
but Tom thinks that delivering lobster thermidor in a burger bun
is the kind of fun idea the judges may be looking for.
A final patriotic touch, and Tom's done.
Good luck. Don't drop them.
Would I be worried about that against my dish? I don't think so.
Will the judges think that this humble-looking dish is on the money?
-Well, that's... a declaration of nationality.
-It's a lobster burger!
-I love it.
-Shall I help myself to one?
I'm not sure I want the cheese.
-Do we want the cheese in there?
It's far sweeter than I expected.
I think this is proper party food.
It's not the most amazing, quality thing I've ever eaten but it's fun.
I agree with you on the fun part.
I think it needs a lot of work doing on it.
That yeasty sweetness doesn't go well with lobster, in my mind.
I don't think this really works.
I love the idea, and I got really excited when I saw it coming in,
but I think it's too heavy,
the sauce is too strong, it's quite dull to eat.
Visually, fantastically exciting. Gastronomically...
We're all agreed! Can you believe that?
After the last course, I was beginning to have my doubts.
But I'm glad to see he's seen the light on this occasion.
So no top marks for Tom with that one.
The chefs don't know how their dishes are going down.
All they can do is cook well and believe in their food.
I'd definitely back my main course. I think it's the winner.
Always back winners.
He'll do everything in his power to beat me.
I cannot rest on my laurels.
At the halfway stage,
both chefs are hoping the main course will go their way.
Tom Kerridge is plating up first
with his roast pork, salt crust potatoes and apple sauce.
He's already cooked the belly and now wants to crisp it up.
But his rival is making it hard to concentrate.
-Banging around, Mr Aikens?
-Yeah, you know me, man.
Oh, hello. What have we got going on in there, chef?
Oh...! HE CACKLES
-Where'd you get that idea from?
-Thought I'd pull another little surprise out of the bag.
It's got to go some to beat MY trotter, though, chef.
Well, I've been trained by the master.
Many years ago, Tom Aikens worked
under three Michelin-starred Pierre Koffmann,
renowned for his trotter recipes.
This is definitely raising his game.
Tom Kerridge is also going for broke,
especially with his presentation.
-I'm putting the bales of hay in the judges' chamber.
-Did you get another delivery?
-No, I had it with me all along.
So you thought you were going to be through today?
Uh-huh. Well, very good indeed.
Tom Kerridge has baked his potatoes in salted pastry.
As well as the belly, this generous pig feast features pig's head fritters
and, on top of that, the trotter.
Are you happy with that trotter, Tom?
I am happy with that trotter, chef.
-Think it's going to be better than mine, do you?
-I'm hoping, chef.
With his pork belly well rested, Tom Kerridge is done,
apart from a reminder of his teenage years in Gloucestershire.
Final flourish of the West Country.
Cider in a paper cup.
Tom's quirkily presented dish won him top marks earlier this week.
If this is good today, they'll give it 10 out of 10.
But how will the judges find it?
We're going to have a hoedown.
-This is very exciting, don't you think?
I quite like this idea, standing up and having to hack through it.
-I feel rather overdressed for this.
-You ARE a hack, aren't you?
Oh, very droll!
-Beautifully. Look at that.
-That's very good.
-Give it some welly.
-I'm trying to give it welly.
There we are!
-Big deal. It's a potato.
-Oh, is it?
-This is cyder.
-I'm going to vote for this dish automatically.
And this is apple sauce, really green.
That is good crackling.
It's got that slightly sort of toffee-ish chewy bit in it as well.
This is someone who is cooking to try and really get people involved
in the whole experience of what we're trying to achieve here.
My only complaint is that I think the potatoes are disappointing.
You need... After all the hard work of breaking into that, there needs to be some reason at the end of it.
The idea is absolutely wonderful.
It's theatre, it's fun.
You've got to have several people involved to put this dish together.
The overall balance of the dish, for me, succeeds
because it allows the elements of the pork to be the master of the dish.
Absolutely right, Oliver.
He's taken three of the humblest cuts
and, by sheer cooking brilliance,
has elevated them to the level of absolutely beautiful food.
High praise for that pork platter, then.
Can Tom Aikens match it?
He's using the more expensive suckling pig.
But he's having trouble crisping up his pork loins.
-It really don't like me, that pork.
-It does not like you today, chef.
Earlier in the week, this dish, presented on a big wooden board,
very nearly matched his rival's record 10-out-of-10 score.
And that was before he added the French-style trotters.
The peas, broad beans and black pudding side dish are swiftly finished
and Tom Aikens' platter is ready for the pass.
-Well done, chef. Looks amazing.
Them trotters... HE LAUGHS
With no straw bales or bunting,
will the judges find this second pork platter disappointing?
It's a full mountain range of meat.
That just looks absolutely fantastic.
I think it must be suckling pig, don't you?
Oh, yeah. They're tiny little trotters. Tiny little everything.
-I think the trotters are absolutely wonderful.
I really do. I think it's a beautiful, sweet...
I agree with you. Perfectly spiced. It's not over-spiced.
It's just sweet enough.
The trotter is fantastic.
The black pudding is permeating the flavour into the vegetables.
I would prefer the vegetables to just have a separate flavour.
Do you know what this needs? Apple sauce.
It needs acidity to actually refresh and balance everything out.
All it doesn't have is that.
I think that's the one trick the chef has missed out.
You can see the chef wants to please the people coming to the banquet.
But I would have reservations at this as the meat main course.
With both chefs flying high,
now there's even more resting on the desserts.
Tom Kerridge is going first,
with his Pick Your Own strawberry dessert bowl.
It includes poached strawberries, wine vinegar jelly, honeycomb,
liquorice meringue, strawberry sorbet
and a panna cotta, or set cream,
which veteran judge Jason Atherton criticised yesterday.
I'm hoping the judges might have a little bit of a sweeter tooth than Jason
and it hits the mark for them.
With the addition of some Atsina cress, which tastes like aniseed,
Tom's ready to plant his pots and deliver.
One end each.
Heavy and lots of fun? Reminds me of a chef.
So, what will the judges make of it?
-Pick Your Own!
-Pick Your Own. Hm.
A pot for you.
-I like the...
-I like the pots, too.
-We've got beetroot or something in here. What's this?
-It is jelly.
-And strawberry ice cream.
I do think this is a wonderful play on textures.
And it's all jolly nice.
I don't get it, myself.
The promised land of strawberries and cream when that box comes through the door
is all terribly exciting.
But where's the strawberry and cream element? It's panna cotta.
-There's not enough fruit.
-I think it's all delicious. I love the slight aniseedy flavour.
You've got a little cute-looking pot, and little else.
If you were to put this... This is, again, a restaurant dish
with a bit of zuzzing, a bit of window dressing to it.
Well, this is certainly a spectacle.
I mean, it will be fun coming in and opening the little pots
and everybody getting their own.
It's all quite fun.
-It's not a sharing thing because essentially it's just a restaurant dish in a pot.
-Yeah, one each.
That was not the reaction Tom Kerridge was hoping for.
Can Tom Aikens steal the show?
One great dish now and he could have it in the bag.
Yesterday he really went to town on the presentation of his parfait.
A sophisticated take on a baked Alaska with rhubarb and rose.
But his rival isn't going to make it easy.
Scored 9 for my dessert yesterday, Chef Aikens.
-I'm not listening. In fact, you're starting to
Is there anything I can do for you, chef?
Can I get a coffee? Because I'm just waiting, you know...
It's lucky I'm a calm man, yeah?
I'd be jumping over that stove.
Is the other Tom getting under his skin?
-So are you changing anything on this dish, chef?
-Not changing anything?
Was this the lowest score you got all week?
-And you're not changing...?
-I'm just not going to go there.
I really wouldn't, yeah?
As well as the frozen parfait and meringue,
there are individual bowls of rhubarb tapioca, jelly, marshmallow, pistachio and almonds,
and the baked Alaska is decorated with crystallised rose petals.
One bowl per person.
This is the rhubarb juice, which goes on last.
The finishing touch has to be applied at the last moment.
-Prue, for you.
-Ooh, Oliver, you're so romantic!
-I haven't forgotten about you. There.
-I didn't know you cared!
-Let's try that.
That's very ingenious, actually. It's been well thought through.
Yummy yummy yummy.
This is my kind of pudding, actually, with a surprise inside.
It is actually baked Alaska, isn't it? There's cake underneath.
Rhubarb baked Alaska, cake and ice cream.
-Crystallised rose petals.
I love the crystallised rose petals. Wonderful texture.
And actually a very pronounced flavour of rose. Isn't that good?
Do you know what? I don't like it. MATTHEW LAUGHS
All that effort and I don't think it works.
You are being extremely kind.
I think it's absolutely dreadful.
Here's a chef who started off with a simple idea...
And went on adding to it.
Adding another level and another level.
There's a collision of flavours which don't work together.
-It is a disgrace.
-It really is a disgrace.
-I don't think it's a disgrace.
-Oh, it is!
I think someone's tried very hard, and the problem is they've tried far too hard.
With all four courses done,
all the chefs can do is wait to hear the verdict.
I want to go home tonight as the champion of the South East and London region.
But Tom wants to turn up here and he wants to take that crown away.
I really want to beat Tom.
But it's going to be close. It's going to be very close.
Tom's a very talented cook and we've both cooked our socks off.
May the best chef win.
We've had a festival of gastronomy today, haven't we?
I think we've had a protein powerhouse. That's absolutely true.
And chefs who love meat.
But when it came to the pudding...
-A bitter disappointment.
I think it would be interesting to see how these menus stack up.
Tom Aikens wants to reward the guests at the banquet
with a series of luxurious dishes.
While Tom Kerridge has gone for hearty food and the fun factor
to get people talking.
But the judges will only know whose name goes with the winning menu
once they've chosen between them.
Prue, have you made up your mind?
Erm... Yes, I have.
With some difficulty, I have.
OK. Well, so have I.
So let's summon the chefs.
At long last, the wait for the two Toms is over.
One of these chefs is about to savour victory
and the other despair.
-BOTH: Thank you.
We all felt that this was going to be the big competition of the heats
and so it's fitting that it's the last one.
Sadly, this is a competition and we have to judge who is going through to the finals.
So, Matthew, have you made up your mind?
Yes. I've gone for menu A.
-I've gone for menu B.
And I've also gone for menu B.
We don't know who cooked menu B and you don't know who cooked menu B,
so let's find out.
The chef going forward to represent London and the South East
in the finals of the Great British Menu...
Tom Kerridge. Well done.
-Thank you, chef.
Today we were expecting a real slugfest in terms of chefs,
and we definitely got it.
We had some amazing high points
and we had some shocking low points.
Tom Kerridge, for me the highlight was absolutely your pork.
I thought the pork was really beautifully timed.
I can see it perfectly at a banquet.
Tom Aikens, my only problem with your menu was the pudding,
-which I did think was a disaster, really.
I thought the quail was amazing.
-It was absolutely just...
-That was the outstanding cooking.
I would say for neither of you is your heart in the pudding.
Neither is exactly a pudding master.
Tom Kerridge, really well done.
We look forward to seeing you in the finals.
Tom Aikens, commiserations, but I'm sure we'll see you again.
-Well done. Thank you.
-BOTH: Thank you.
'Of course I'm gutted I'm not in the finals.
'Anyone that doesn't go through would be disappointed.'
I just have to try and get it next year.
Beating a man with the technical abilities of Tom Aikens,
with a reputation - a fearsome reputation - that everybody knows,
it's a great achievement for myself. I feel very proud.
The heats are complete,
but it's not the end of the story.
Next week the eight finalists face the fight of their lives.
The judges will be joined by four of our toughest-talking veteran chefs.
There was a bin beside you. That's where it belonged.
I can't think of anything good to say about this dish. The tasteless...
I'm being really generous in giving it a 3.
It's simply not good enough for the People's Banquet.
Who will survive the week to cook at the ultimate street party?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
One chef left the competition yesterday and only two remain, as they cook their entire menus for the Great British Menu judges Prue Leith, Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton. The judges aren't easily pleased and only first-class cooking will do. Only one chef can make it through to the national finals to represent London and the south east, and get the chance to cook at this year's People's Banquet.
If they win, one of their dishes could be paraded down the ancient cobbled streets of Leadenhall market and served at a magnificent street party.