It's the finals and only eight chefs remain. The finalists cook their fish dishes, which will be tasted and scored by the Great British Menu judges.
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'The week everyone's been waiting for has arrived. It's finals weeks.
'24 of Britain's best chefs have been battling it out.
'Now just eight remain.
'The starter round saw highs...'
I want to see 100 people shaking that bag up and down Leadenhall Market.
Hywel, Lisa, Chris, congratulations.
-One of your dishes will be going through to the People's Banquet.
-I can't speak. I didn't expect that.
In eighth position, it's...Michael.
'Now they're fighting for the honour of cooking their fish dishes for the ultimate street party.'
The fish course has to build on the excitement generated by the first course.
Whoever creates the most drama is the person who's going to have the best chance today.
I just want us not to lose sight of the fact that what we are looking for is the best cooking we can find.
'Helping the judges unearth the perfect food to share
'is a different former champion every day,
'veterans of the competition who've already proved they're a force to be reckoned with.'
-This is a final warning.
-I've been making pasta since I was about five. No pressure.
'The tension's rising for the eight finalists coming to blows again today.'
I keep thinking one of those is going to come my way.
If you don't get on it today, then the pressure starts mounting again.
No-one's having a laugh. We're here to win. Everyone's a threat.
'The fight is on for the fish course.
'Northern Ireland's Chris Fearon,
'Lisa Allen from the North West and Paul Ainsworth from the South West
'are first to arrive in the Great British Menu kitchen.'
-Here we are, day two.
'They're closely followed by the North East's Andrew Pern and Scotland's Michael Smith.'
-Morning. How's it going?
-You all right?
'Finally, it's Welshman Hywel Jones,
'South East's Tom Kerridge and Aktar Islam from the Central region.'
-All ready for round two?
-Here we go again.
It was a tough one yesterday. I think it was a very tough one.
The heat is on.
'The starter round has broken the ice, and having had a chance to suss each other out,
'they now know just how tough it will be to get into the top three today.'
If you're not delivering, you are going to be punished, and that means eighth place.
I've only got three chances left now. I've got to really, really give it my all today.
'This year's challenge is to create amazing platters of food to share.
'Our chefs have sought inspiration for their menus from unsung heroes in their communities
'who already use food to bring people together.
'If they win a dish on the final menu, they'll get the chance to invite these local food heroes
-'to the banquet as their guests of honour.'
-They're sat at the table,
your platter's going through in this spectacular venue, doesn't get better than that.
'Success is now within their grasp, but first they have to impress the judges,
'Prue Leith, Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton,
'who have seriously high expectations.
'And there's nowhere to hide, as the fourth judge is one of their own,
'the most successful veteran in Great British Menu's history
'who cooked his starter at the Queen's 80th birthday
'and fish course at the British Embassy in Paris. It's Richard Corrigan.'
Welcome to the judges' chamber, Mr Corrigan.
Today's the fish course and we will definitely need your expertise in fish today, I think.
The pressure of this competition is legendary
and no matter how good you think you are,
can you perform on the day is what counts. And it can bring you down.
-It isn't easy.
-I think this is the hardest course
and I think there are many obstacles to success here, aren't there?
However, this is the test they've been set and it's up to them to come up to the mark.
'To ensure that the final menu is perfectly balanced,
'the judges will only decide on the winning dishes once they've tasted all the courses.
'With cooking about to start, the chefs make their way to the judging chamber
'to receive their orders.
'The competitors can make tweaks to their original dishes
'but can only completely change one from their four-course menu.'
-Welcome, chefs. How are you all feeling?
-ALL: Very well, thank you.
It was a mixed day yesterday, I feel.
I think, frankly, some of you let yourselves down.
But it is a clean start today.
And we're extremely lucky to have help with the judging. Mr Richard Corrigan.
As you know, I've been a winner on past occasions
and it's a very, very stressful competition to win.
I know a lot of you have tweaked your dishes
but have any of you radically changed a dish completely?
-Er, I've changed my fish course, Prue.
-What are you going to do now?
I'm going to do some west coast prawns. I think you like prawns.
-Hopefully it should make it a lot more interactive, a lot more fun and a lot more visual.
Today's the finals. There's no going back. It is the last chance.
-So all I can tell you is good luck and let's get cooking.
-ALL: Thank you.
'Day two underway and the pressure to get a top-three ranking is immense,
'especially for yesterday's loser, Michael.'
-How you feeling today? You all right?
-Yeah, I'm all right.
Not the best start but you've got to keep your chin up.
'He's taking a big risk with a brand new dish and knows it'll face tough scrutiny with Richard Corrigan.'
He doesn't mince his words. He's an Irishman. He's tells it like it is.
He takes no prisoners, so I'm just hoping if he doesn't like it, at least he's nice about it.
'The chefs will cook in three groups.
'Up first are returning banquet champion Lisa Allen
'and two new boys, Paul Ainsworth and Chris Fearon.
'Chris and Lisa both made the top three yesterday.'
-Thank you, thank you.
-'They're riding high, unlike Paul, who came in fourth.'
-You all right?
-Yeah, not so bad. You?
-Pumped after that.
-And you only just missed it.
'Paul's first to cook and determined to uphold
'the South West's reputation for seafood with his fisherman's lunch,
'a Cornish feast of sea bass, sardines and oysters.'
Chris went first yesterday and it was... You were like...
He set the tone for the day. And I think that maybe this course is a cracking course to be going first,
sort of put the cat amongst the pigeons.
'It put a smile on the judges' faces in the regional heats, so Paul isn't changing it.'
I have very happy memories of Paul Ainsworth's dish. He combined many of the things we're looking for.
It was fun but also there was a very high level of technical skill involved in all the parts.
There'd be something for everybody. For me, I love them all. They were great.
Some of the most delicious fishes that I know come from Cornwall.
Sardines, great mackerel, sea bass.
So put all of them together and I'd be very happy.
'Under close scrutiny, he's creating a Cornish beach scene
'complete with sardine can, sand and oyster shells.'
-Liking the presentation there, Paul. A bit similar to mine.
-Well, I don't have seaweed and stuff, but...
-Battle of the slates and the sardine cans.
'And Paul's clever presentation doesn't stop there.
-'He's baking sea bass in newsletters from the Fishermen's Mission...'
-You had them printed?
'..the community project that inspired his dish.'
-It's all the old adverts.
'And he's got clever fish cookery to match.'
This is someone whose restaurant is right by the sea,
who gets produce on his doorstep. He deals with fish all the time, so Paul's the one to watch.
'High expectations. Paul's taking it in his stride.'
It's all going well now. It's that mad rush at the end
that can catch you out, but so far, so good.
'He's even on schedule. Until Chris and Lisa come over for a closer look.'
-'And disaster strikes his breadcrumbed oysters.'
-'They'd been left to one side behind a certain Irishman.'
-Sorry, mate, I think that was me.
-That's all right.
'But time is running out and making them again is an added pressure he doesn't need.'
I feel like a douchebag doing that.
'Undeterred, he finally gets his oysters into the fryer and pops his sea bass parcels onto his slate.
'With his pickled sardines and crowning glory, his deep-fried oysters.
'It's been a race to the finish.'
If you could put it down so they're looking at it like we are, like that, yeah? Thanks very much.
-'All appears to be forgiven.'
'Will Paul be rewarded with a place in the top three.
-Wow. What about that? That looked good.
I'm feeling confident, but I'm a bit more reserved today.
I was confident yesterday with the duck and I didn't get a top-three. It could be the same today.
-What do you think, Richard?
-That looks amazing!
-I mean, don't you want to be beside the seaside?
-I think we are!
The sea bass in the paper.
Beautiful. That sea bass smells so good.
And I think that last time, if I remember rightly, in the tin it was mackerel
and this time it's actually sardines, so I think the season for sardines must have come in.
I love this newspaper. It's the monthly magazine
of the Royal National Mission to Deep-Sea Fishermen.
There's a chef who's actually thought through every detail of this, even the printing on the paper.
Matthew, I love the oyster.
The sardine... I think it lacks a little bit a seasoning if anything.
I actually like it more than I did the last time. I think the sea bass is great.
I think it's good to do for an occasion like this.
I think if this went down on a table, there's a lot to talk about here.
This sea bass is perfect. I mean, the cooking is just so beautiful.
It's flaking and soft and not over-cooked.
What a great start. This is right up my street.
It's a seafood slab right from Cornwall
and it does suit the occasion.
For a street party, absolutely cracking dish.
'That's a big thumbs-up from the judges.
'But what about Paul's fellow chefs?'
Look how beautiful that's cooked. Look at that.
It's a clever bit of cooking, that.
That oyster... Altogether it's really, really good.
-It's just brilliant.
-It's really, really good.
-It's a strong dish. Very strong.
I've got the fear now. That is a serious plate of food.
'Paul's fisherman's lunch scored seven in the heats. Has he raised the bar today?'
Paul Ainsworth's fisherman's lunch gets a massive eight from me cos it was delicious.
What a brilliant fisherman's picnic.
Delicious, looked great, it deserves an eight.
Well, I want to meet this fisherman because he's clearly a very sophisticated
and very good-humoured fellow. And if I met him, I would also give him an eight.
I can feel a fish fight coming up in Padstow, because I think there's a new sheriff in town.
I think Paul is finally giving some competition to Rick Stein. So it's a nine.
'An incredible start. Can Northern Ireland's Chris Fearon match it?
'His chicken in a bag landed him a top-three spot yesterday
'but his fish course of tinned, cured and poached salmon
'was ripped to shreds by Richard in the heats.'
He's a hard man to please. He's unpredictable.
He'll be your best mate one minute and then he'll come down on you like a ton of bricks.
-Did he like your fish dish?
-Not really, no.
-And are you changing it?
In the regional heat, I had a tin that I put the salmon into.
Richard Corrigan really hated that. He really went to town on me.
But I'll just stick to my guns and get a top-three finish.
'It's a big gamble, but Chris didn't get to the finals by playing it safe.'
I liked this dish. I think there's a bit of tweaking to do
but, all in all, it was the sort of thing you could see at an occasion like this.
I didn't enjoy this dish.
I thought it was not poorly executed, it was just poorly thought out.
-I'm surprised he hasn't changed it.
-He obviously pays more attention to us than to you.
'Richard isn't the only one giving Chris a hard time.'
Do you feel threatened that he served sardines in a sardine tin and you're serving salmon in a sardine tin?
-I think it'll be up against me.
-We'll have to wait and see.
I'm getting a hard time for not having sardines in my tin.
Who's to say it's a sardine tin? It's a tin.
It doesn't matter what's in it. It tastes nice. Please.
'He's made jars of poached salmon and Irish soda bread, too.
'Finger food he thinks is perfect for sharing.'
He's not changed anything, he's stuck with what he believes in and there's three other people
on that judging panel so you never know, but I think he's nervous.
'But there's no going back now and juggling three salmon dishes with his competitors watching
'is pushing this first-time finalist close to breaking point
'and forcing former champion Lisa to stay on her toes.'
I keep thinking one of those is going to come my way.
'Happily for Lisa, Chris has just one element left.
'His smoked salmon potato cakes.'
-Anything we can do to help?
-Not at the moment, I just
-at the last second.
-I'll put the sticks in, you build them.
'With Lisa's help, Chris gets them onto his board with is poached and tinned salmon and up to the pass.'
-OK, off you go.
I wasn't 100 percent happy with it.
I felt like that the last time and I got really good feedback from the judges, so you never know.
I... It looks like a canape party, frankly, of salmon.
I mean, I would serve this to my two-year-old's party.
It just doesn't do it for me. Salmon, salmon and salmon.
-As far as I'm concerned, it's far too much salmon.
-Richard, could we have less talk and pass it up?
There we go. OK, pass that down.
The presentation is a bit diminished from what I remember. A bit namby-pamby.
I think, as Richard said, it's canape time.
The horseradish is great, but I think the salmon is too salty.
I like the presentation.
I think there's things to endear one to it.
But it is, in my opinion, not in the running to be there at the final shout.
-It's not as good as the last time I tasted it.
-And you didn't like it then.
I'm happy with it. I don't see why we should reject it just because it looks like canapes.
OK. The problem is that it's actually three canapes that taste almost exactly the same.
I think that's right, Matthew. I think the dish is monochrome
but I also think the dish has slightly gone backwards.
There is actually less clarity between the different fishes than there was before.
It's not demonstrative enough, not fun enough, not delicious enough, not theatrical enough.
It doesn't make me happy enough.
'Not the response Chris was looking for.
'Will his fellow chefs be any kinder?'
-Some more tinned fish, guys.
-What do you think, lads?
-It's very similar to the presentation of Paul's, isn't it?
Nothing really jumps out at me.
It is a plate of salmon.
Nothing really gives that wow factor, you know what I mean?
Well, I'm afraid this was absolutely a case of "Honey, I shrunk the dish".
It was diminished in every way, so it's only a five from me.
I found myself disappointed in it.
It was fine but not good. It's a five.
If this is a celebration of salmon, then this is a celebration that I do not want to attend.
-It's a four.
I really didn't enjoy this dish. Chris Fearon's three-way salmon.
It has no place on my table, so therefore it's a four.
'So Chris should have taken Richard's advice.
'How will the North West's Lisa Allen measure up?
'After a cracking start yesterday, she wants another top-three spot
'for her risky tunnel-boned, salt-crusted sea trout.
'She won't know it's cooked properly until it's dished up.
'The risk paid off in the heat but left the judges wanting more.'
For some reason, I feel a big salt-crusted fish
would look amazing on a big, long table.
But Lisa sort of diminished the idea, she miniaturised it.
It needs to be bigger. And also I didn't see what the connection with the scallop was.
It was as if she had two great gastronomic dishes she wanted to show off with
and she just put them there side by side.
Tweaked it slightly. I think they wanted the dish to be more together.
So I've done away with the salt boxes, I've lifted up the fish,
I've got rid of the scallop shells. So it'll be interesting to see what they think.
'She stuffed the fish with cockles in the regional heats but today there's a problem.'
They're really gritty. I'm not a chef that will serve up something that's not right
and I'm definitely not going to serve gritty cockles to the judges. So I'm going to change it.
'She's used brown shrimp instead, a risky substitution.
'But nothing seems to faze last year's champion.'
How many times did you get onto the top three last year?
So you're going to top that this year, I hope.
'She's followed the judges' advice and tweaked her dish's presentation to give it more wow factor.'
-A bit of a beach.
'And she's got rid of her scallop shells, too, serving her potato salad on specially-designed plates
'under her now elevated salt-crusted sea trout.'
-Be careful, boys.
-Well done, Lisa.
-Yeah, really nice.
Really nice. Well done.
-Look at this one.
-That looks good.
-Is that Moby Dick going past? THEY LAUGH
I hope the dish is good enough to be in the top three.
But there is a lot of fantastic dishes out there, so you can never call it. But fingers crossed.
I think this deserves a fanfare.
-That is something.
-That is much improved.
-The scallops have gone for a start.
-That's what we wanted to see in the first place.
-That is an arrival.
-That's what we've been waiting for.
-That's an entrance.
-Shall I be mother?
-You try. I think you're going to have a fine old mess.
Boing, boing, boing! This is pure drama and excitement! Ooh, hang on a second.
The last time, this was rainbow trout, but this looks to me
very much like sea trout.
-Absolutely. And much nicer!
-Oh, much nicer.
And what's more... Hang on, hang on.
There's something very special going on underneath that.
There are no longer any cockles, there are shrimps.
-Brown sea shrimps.
-I love this dish, Matthew.
-Isn't it terrific?
-This is exactly what the Great British Menu is all about.
Thoughtful, great cooking,
lovely process and what magical presentation.
Do you know, this is just delicious. It tastes of the sea, it's fresh as a daisy.
I think it needs to be either on a plate, some other serving,
but in terms of quality, it's absolutely top draw Great British Menu.
Oliver darling, sometimes you just cannot resist your instinct to put the boot in.
Just admit for once that you've met the perfect dish. It's lovely!
-The cooking is perfect, the...
I am tasting everything I want to see in the Great British Menu, I'm tasting it right now.
Absolutely. And I think this is the mark of a really confident cook.
I mean, there are not many cooks who have the confidence to do something
which is as bold and as simple as this.
That's a dish you bring to presidents of the world and just give them.
And say, "British food at its best".
'That's high praise. Will her fellow chefs be as adoring?'
Look. How amazing is this? This is just brilliant.
-Mm. Tastes good.
-Incredible. I personally can't find fault in it.
I don't see why this isn't a contender for the top three from what we've seen so far.
I can't see that not scoring ten out of ten.
I cannot see it scoring one out of ten. THEY LAUGH
'But it's the judges' scores that count.'
Lisa Allen's sea trout was the most majestic,
delicious, gorgeous morsel of food that I have tasted
and therefore it gets a big nine for me.
She's hit that sport button on her cooking today
because this dish was just so beautiful, so perfect,
-I can really see it at the banquet, it's a nine.
What's the matter with you two miserable guys? That dish was fantastic!
It was a double-decker of absolute gastronomic delight!
It's a ten!
I think this dish had everything. It was fun,
it was a great show, it was a delight to eat.
It was a cracking good dish in every sense. Nine.
'Three down, five to go, and the chefs have an agonising wait ahead of them.'
I think the competition's really hotting up now
cos you've seen so many different dishes with people going... SHE GASPS
You two are up last again. You've got to watch all these amazing dishes go by.
-And feel the pain.
-And then get the same result as yesterday.
-Perfect. Double whammy.
'Michael's up next representing Scotland
'along with Andrew Pern from the North East, yesterday's bottom two.'
OK, here we go. Round two.
I'd love to get a top-three place today. It's what we're all aiming for.
I don't want to be in the bottom position again today.
I've got to get better results and pull out all the stops.
'Newcomer Andrew Pern came seventh yesterday and is desperate to impress the judges today.'
Look at this beauty.
'He's banking on his posh soup and sandwiches with lobster and scallops
'to pull in the points.'
It's a sense of occasion, that's what it's all about. It's something to celebrate people in the community.
I think the soup and the warm seafood will fit the bill.
'But the judges didn't think it was a party dish.'
In the words of the Gibb brothers, tragedy!
I think, you know, it's a restaurant dish,
it's a classic restaurant dish, it's like he just hasn't bothered.
We have in the past seen dishes which have been tweaked, as the chefs would claim.
Changing it at the last moment has always helped me on the way through.
Let us hope that Andrew Pern has done the same.
'Andrew served kipper sandwiches in the regional heats
'and is upping his game today with a new lobster version.'
-Why did you change from the kipper to the lobster?
-The kipper was quite strong.
-I like kipper, though.
-I love kipper, as well, but the judges didn't seem to.
'But he's keeping his soup the same
'and returning champion Tom seems more impressed with the pot he's serving it in.'
-Now then, Tommy!
-Whoo! That's almost as showy as mine.
-What are you serving in it?
-I'm doing a fish soup
and I've got these little lobster club sandwiches and some wild-garlic mayonnaise in there.
Wild-garlic mayonnaise, sandwiches and soup?
'It sounds simple but there's a lot going on
'and his rivals aren't convinced it'll hit the mark.'
Is it the street party? Is it the brief that I've read? I don't know.
No doubt he'll plate it up well but is it heading too much down the restaurant line?
-So are you nearly ready to serve, chef?
-I'm actually ahead for once.
-Famous last words.
-Don't speak too soon.
-Yeah. Plenty of time to mess it all up.
'With Tom's words of warning ringing in his ears,
'he ladles out his soup, portions up his lobster, scallops and samphire
'and gets it to the pass with his lobster sandwiches.'
Go, here we go. Good luck.
-Don't drop it, please.
I don't know where I'll come, middle of the road, top three would be lovely. We'll see what they think.
What was all the criticism about?
I mean, I haven't tasted anything yet, but...
-Beautiful sandwich, some soup, some seafood.
Right. As you would get in any posh restaurant up and down the country or throughout Europe.
-You know what? This smells smoky and it's overpowering the freshness of everything.
-It's the bacon.
-The kipper's gone. It's lobster.
-Thank goodness for that.
And that makes much more sense.
-And very delicious lobster, too.
-It's a very good sandwich.
Mm. The sandwich is the highlight.
-Soup's a tragedy.
-I must say, the soup is not as good as it should be.
For me, the broth itself doesn't have that sort of singing clarity of flavour and sweetness
-that you really need from a shellfish broth.
-It looks great.
It looks great but it's more haughty restaurant than it would be street party.
This just doesn't feel like a dish that you want to share with people.
It doesn't have any love, it doesn't have any inspiration.
As it stands, I don't think that this dish is even an also-ran.
-Compared to the salmon, the potted salmon three ways...
-Well, that's a non-starter.
God, you're getting... Matthew! There was always a sense of fair play about you!
We've all recognised that the club sandwich has shown a tremendous improvement.
-Let's hear it for the club sandwich.
We love the club sandwich. It's the rest of the dish which is the problem.
'Not the response Andrew would like to hear. Will his peers agree?'
It's high-end. It's restauranty.
-You're dying to get into that club sandwich, aren't you? Go on, Chris.
-You cut it up into three.
-Mm-hm. It's just garlic, garlic, garlic, you know what I mean?
-Great dish, great flavours.
-But I don't think it fits the criteria on the brief.
-Yeah, I agree. Yeah, definitely.
I think, in the final analysis, Andrew's dish was, for me, all at sea
and probably should've been allowed to stay there. Six.
Great sandwich. Very disappointing soup. It's a five.
Andrew is a man who just does not feel the love.
I'm giving him a very generous three.
I liked the lobster club sandwich.
I just didn't get the soup. In that case, it's a five.
'Andrew's tweaks haven't done him any favours.
'Will first-time finalist Michael Smith do any better?
'He made kedgeree in the heats but is risking everything with a new dish today.
'A do-it-yourself prawn cocktail
'inspired by Tony Singh, the chef Michael beat,
'who wowed the judges with a tower of langoustine.'
My style's pretty simple, it's not as technical as some of the other chefs here,
but it's got a lot of fun, a lot of visual impact, so hopefully that will win the judges over.
Changing kedgeree was probably the right thing to do.
His restaurant is on the Isle of Skye
which is surrounded by prime prawn and langoustine waters, some of the finest in the country,
so if he doesn't use those fantastic ingredients that are on his doorstep, I think he needs his head examined.
Isle of Skye, langoustine or prawns, you can't go wrong, can you?
'Changing his dish is a brave decision. Will it be worth it for Michael?'
You take that risk, don't you? Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't.
Yeah. Mind you, saying that, it backfired a bit for me yesterday.
Hopefully it's not the case for you. Well, hopefully it is.
Mark was coming in with a new dish.
He's got a lot of pressure on his shoulders and if it was me, I'd be bricking it.
'He's making buttermilk scones to accompany his prawns.
'But Aktar's not sure it's cheffy enough.'
Is there anything else going on with that?
-What do you mean?
-You've got the cocktail, the scones. Anything else?
Sometimes you can do too much and if you don't get it right, it takes away.
Michael, once again, very simple. Some may argue too simple.
He went very simple yesterday. That didn't do him too many favours.
'But Michael has a trick up his sleeve.'
-What have you been catching?
-Prawns. Do you want this closed?
'His playful presentation is causing quite a stir in the kitchen.'
-That looks amazing.
-It really, really does.
-Just a bit of theatre.
-Oh, you've got that.
-Hopefully it's got the initial wow factor.
-That does look great.
-It's brilliant, isn't it?
-How many do they get each?
-It's portioned for six each.
-Never let it be said a Scotsman's tight.
'Langoustine in place,
'Michael hides avocado salsa, cocktail sauce and lettuce leaves inside and delivers it to the pass.'
All right, mate?
-That looks mega, man.
The visual aspect definitely has been elevated.
It looks amazing. It should stop a banquet hall in its tracks when it arrives if it got to the banquet.
That is just fantastic!
You said, Prue, you wanted something carried into the hall that would bring the place to a standstill
and I think this might be it. I think I'd better open it up.
I assume this is how it works. I've never opened a lobster pot before.
-There we go.
-This is what you asked for, isn't it?
-If you're going to do it, this is what you should be doing.
-Pass those down.
And I'm picking off the biggest ones.
This is exactly what I think a summer party is all about,
-getting your hands into it.
-You're in heaven, aren't you?
This is just culinary heaven.
-I do think... Once again, here is a chef who's actually
taken a great primary ingredient and not mucked it around.
The thing I love most about this dish is actually the fact that it has a perfect sense of place.
-It's ideal for an occasion like this.
-I think it's great.
I can see this sitting on those tables in Leadenhall Market all day long.
It's a thing of great beauty and simplicity. And it's a much improved dish.
The prawns are so fresh and so delicious.
But it's interesting, because I think we all feel this is gastronomy. Why do you think that?
The complete understanding of what is great and what is enjoyable.
Most people have no idea. They think chef's food, chef's ego on the plate
is the idea of gastronomy. No, you're wrong.
-This is gastronomy.
-I quite agree with you.
A little while ago, I could safely say that Lisa Allen was going to romp home,
but now she has some serious competition.
It's exactly what this competition is about. It's probably the pinnacle of what this competition's about.
'Michael's simple prawns have gone down a storm with the judges. What will his rivals make of them?'
We have to try one of these.
-They are beauties, aren't they?
-They're big boys.
-Is everyone going to be happy, do you think, peeling prawns?
-I think so.
Yeah, I think it's involved, getting your hands in there.
-He's definitely got the essence of sharing.
-We're all tucking in, getting involved.
To change an entire dish and come off with that, fair play.
'So will Michael come top or bottom of the class today?'
Before this competition, I did not know much about Michael Smith.
That's going to change, for him and the Isle of Skye.
It's a big eight for that dish.
For me, Michael rode the boat ashore. This is conviction cooking.
I would love to see that being paraded down Leadenhall Market. Nine.
What a transformation from last time round.
-It deserves everything it gets. It's a ten.
This was a dish of simple brilliance and brilliant simplicity.
So it's eight.
'Five down, three to go. The chefs can't help but wonder who would be in their top three.'
If it was purely on visual spectacle,
it's definitely, definitely Michael that would win the fish course, without a doubt.
'And the standard of cooking is second to none.'
Phenomenally good dishes there. You've got to be right on the top of the board to beat them.
'The final chefs to take their place in the kitchen are the South East's Tom Kerridge,
'Welshman Hywel Jones and the Central region's Aktar Islam.'
-We've had to stand around and watch the other five do their dishes.
Now it's our turn. So let's crack on, lads.
'Michelin-starred Hywel Jones is up first
'and using the same ingredient as rival Tom.
'He's hoping his posh lobster cocktail with claw-meat fritters
'and asparagus will secure him another top-three.'
His cooking is of such a superlative level.
I mean, it is just blinding.
The challenge we have all the time in dealing with him is,
is this suitable for the occasion?
It's all about street food, it's all about a party.
It's pointless bringing restaurant dishes to this brief.
And if he did, he could really fall down very easily.
I think it's a feast for the eyes. What I need to do is go out,
not worry about the others, believe in my dish and hopefully I'll be top three.
'Hywel starts by prepping his lobster,
'an ingredient he thinks is fitting for an auspicious occasion.
What are you actually doing with the lobster?
The lobster is been poached and then the claws are made into little fritters,
fill the shell with some frisee lettuce, in between the lobster,
a few little tomato confit petals to give sweetness.
Wow. It's really, really refined. Is this something they liked first time round?
-Yeah, I did have good feedback.
-OK. You've not changed it at all?
'It's a traditional dish Hywel believes in,
'but his rivals have doubts about.'
Hywel's got a very refined style.
I mean, it's definitely Michelin through and through.
Has he done what it needs to make it to the top three again? I don't know.
'He's serving his lobster cocktail on a bed of pebbles,
'and has attracted quite a crowd,
'eager to get a glimpse of their Michelin-starred competition.
'Undeterred, he pops his lobster-meat fritters on top
'with some green leaves for garnish, and delivers it to the pass.'
Here goes. Just put it on. Let them get in there,
get their hands in it.
Today my dish went brilliantly, came out exactly as I intended.
But these dishes I've seen today and yesterday are incredible,
and it's just too close to call.
It looks really simple. It looks great.
But does it eat as good as it looks there?
-Well, I think pass it down.
I liked this dish the last time, but again, for me,
it's about his technique. Do I think this is suitable for the banquet?
No. I think it's a perfectly good piece of cooking.
I don't think it's in any way spectacular.
I think in the right environment this is a delicious dish.
I just don't get the street-party element.
It's beautifully done, isn't it?
Look at the way he's put the little bits of asparagus stalk
and lettuce. It's like a great lobster cocktail, isn't it?
That's what it is.
-I think the main point of lobster...
-Is the flavour.
It's completely all to the flavour, and it's just not there.
It seems to me that he said, "Yes, I will do The Great British Menu,"
and just hopped on the train without thinking what he was going to cook.
I think it's a really generic, universal dish,
and not particular for this place, this occasion, these people,
and, um, these judges, dare I say.
Mmm! The lobster mayo really brings out the flavour
of the shellfish, doesn't it?
It's a fantastic lobster. The fritters are amazing.
This sauce is good. I don't know if it meets the brief.
I don't know if it's party food, food for sharing.
I don't think it's street-party food.
It's a really nice restaurant dish upscaled onto a platter.
It's not food to share.
'Well, Chris has made his feelings clear.
'Will Hywel's dish fare any better than his rivals'?'
This was a case of clinically correct cooking,
but it just simply lacked the bounce for the banquet,
-so it's only a six from me.
-I agree. It was pretty,
it was delicious, but it wasn't very exciting.
So I've given it a six.
This is a bit of a Stepford Wives dish for me.
It's middle of the road. It looked very pretty.
It's lobster. It's sort of ticking all the right boxes.
But at the end of the day, it's very mediocre. It's five.
I always associated the Welsh with passion, singing,
tingling on the back of my neck.
This dish just didn't associate itself with that,
and therefore it's a six.
'Not a Hallelujah Chorus for Hywel.
'What will former champion Tom Kerridge bring to the party?
'He came sixth yesterday - a disappointing start
'for a chef who's used to winning, not losing.'
-What's with the picture?
-That's my good-luck charm.
"Good luck from everybody at home, especially from Sponge the dog."
All right. Cool.
I think Tom's going to come back fighting today.
I was even shocked at the score from yesterday.
So he's going to be hot on everyone's heels.
'Tom's looking to raise a smile with lobster burgers,
'a dish he can't taste due to a shellfish allergy.'
Tom, did Sponge like your dish?
She's a big fan of lobster burgers.
I could do with her today in that tasting room with the judges.
Man's best friend, eh? Chef's best friend.
-What - judges or dogs?
Well, today, certainly not the judges.
That burger suffered the thing that most burgers suffer.
You have very strong flavours, but they're basically dull.
I think this is one of the dishes where he would be expecting to do very well,
and he needs to do an awful lot of work to pull this round.
If he got this dish so wrong first time around,
I'd be very surprised if he didn't tweak it and change it.
'And John has listened to the judges' criticism.
'He's reduced the burgers' size and changed the bun.
'But it's still just a burger, and up against some tough competition.'
So, big man, these are your lobster burgers?
-Yes. Very, very simple.
-So how have you made these, then?
Bit of lobster, little bit of mackerel,
served with a coleslaw with no mayonnaise.
So this will be a proper gourmet burger?
-I hope so.
-They wanted gourmet cuisine.
Yes, so they're getting gourmet burger.
-Come on, Tom. What are they?
I was going to put the Cross of St George,
-but I thought I might upset you.
-I'll have my Welsh flag.
'Ignoring Hywel's slight,
'Tom battles on with his controversial lobster burgers,
'putting them in their new buns
'under close scrutiny from friend and foe, Lisa.'
You want to be careful. McDonald's will be wanting to hire you next.
I want to be careful. I might be ending up at McDonald's next.
'But Tom's determined to elevate his humble burgers
'to Michelin-starred heights.'
If that don't put a smile on your face, what does?
'He piles on his lobster claws,
'and gets his very British burgers onto his specially designed board
'and up to the pass.'
They're coming to port.
One burger. Form an orderly queue. Squeeze it. Off we go.
Have to salute as it goes into the distance.
I've listened to them. I've paid attention.
I've tweaked it, and I'd love to get a top three today.
Rule Britannia! I think he's sticking his tongue out at us.
Let me. I've no idea what's in here, by the way.
You are terrible, Prue!
Well, there is one major problem about this,
and that's eating it at all,
because the top keeps on sliding away from the bottom.
The great thing about burgers is, you squash them tightly,
and then you munch.
It's a bit juvenile.
I think it's sloppy again.
You know, I don't... I think it's certainly better than before,
but I still don't think it's good enough.
But the spirit of the occasion I think he's got right.
-I absolutely agree.
-It's almost impossible to eat.
You cannot get it into your mouth without it falling apart.
This might cause hilarity and entertainment and laughter,
but it actually gets in the way of enjoying this,
I think, as a piece of food.
But I do like the thought process of Tom on this dish,
because it's party food, really. It's street food, really.
It's just a pity, taste-wise just didn't carry it off.
There's a genuine will for us to like this dish, you know?
I think you're right. I think the fact that it is street food,
is party food, he got lots of the elements of it correct, but it just doesn't deliver.
'It's a thumbs-down from the judges.
'Will Tom's fellow competitors agree?'
-They look good, mate!
Look at that!
He's seasoned that to perfection. It's beautifully executed.
It ticks all the boxes on the colours, you know?
I think this is the best fish dish I've seen today.
-I'll second you on that one.
-Yeah. It's flying the flag, isn't it?
'But it's the judges' opinion that counts.'
Visually it was absolutely stunning.
Taste-wise, it just didn't do it for me.
Therefore it's a six.
I'm a bit worried he's getting complacent,
that success has gone to his head at the last competition,
because this is not good enough. It's a five.
We have seen this burger twice now.
First time, too much flavour, everything too strong.
Second time, not enough flavour. Very disappointing.
It's a five.
I think this was a bit of a lobster mobster, to be truthful.
I feel as if my taste bud's been mugged, so it's a six from me.
'Last but not least, it's self-taught maverick Aktar Islam.
'He came fourth yesterday, and wants a place in the top three
'for his curried sea bass with soft-shelled crab,
'but the judges thought it was a mess in the heats.'
In order for him to get anywhere in the competition,
he'll have to massively improve this dish.
It'll be really interesting to see whether he's taken on board
what we had to say. It doesn't seem so far
-that he's much of a listener.
-One feels he didn't rehearse this.
He does what he does best, which is, you know, spice things right,
get the flavours right and cook it, and it needed more work.
'Comments that Aktar's taken on board.'
I really think I've hit the nail on the head with it now,
and I think it will be very impressive. I'm impressed with it.
I'm sure the chefs will be impressed, and most importantly,
I think the judges will be impressed.
'He's boned and filleted his sea bass this time,
'and covered it in marinade ready for steaming.
'Will these tweaks get him to the banquet?'
Aktar, there's been a winning fish dish from Birmingham before.
There has. I want to keep the tradition going.
-It'd be good. It'd be good.
It was curried monkfish, wasn't it?
Yeah, so I'm going in with curried sea bass.
'It's a lot to live up to,
'but Tom knows Aktar is serious competition,
'despite his lack of formal training.'
If he nails everything right and it tastes fantastic,
there's no way he can't be in contention for winning the course,
because the food is phenomenal.
'Aktar's serving his sea bass with soft-shelled crab
'and a spicy coconut sauce,
'and has sought out some props for added wow-factor.'
-Is that driftwood?
Is there much driftwood in Birmingham?
It's amazing what you can get in the canals.
'Fired up, he collects his sea bass from the oven
'where it's been gently steaming, and gets it onto a banana leaf
-'under the watchful eyes of his rival chefs.'
-That looks very authentic.
'With the judges' verdict around the corner,
'they're the quietest they've been all day.'
There you go. So, yeah. Thank you very much.
-Yes. Yes, Aktar!
-Last but not least.
Today I think I've done my fish course proud.
I think it was executed perfectly,
and I'm looking forward to a positive result.
Top three. Why not?
-This looks absolutely amazing.
-And it's a real leap forward,
because it's as neat as a pin. I can see that he's boned it.
Fantastic. Look at that! Now, that is how to do it.
-Doesn't that look good?
-And look at the soft-shelled crab.
-It's crisp as anything.
-It is crisp. And it's warm.
-You're doing an expert job down there.
-Thank you, Matthew.
Mmm! This fish is delicious.
Look at that fish. It's perfectly cooked, isn't it?
I mean, I really think that he's listened.
It's wonderful to see, because that presentation is now beautiful.
I had complained very loudly that it was messy,
too difficult to manage the bones,
and now it's... I mean, look at that perfectly cooked fish!
It's just exquisite.
There's a real delicacy about it,
and a precision about each flavour,
so that they work together in a way that traditionally in English food
you don't actually find very often.
I'm still privileged to sit here as a cook
and taste other chefs' food, but when you taste this food,
-you know the cook enjoys cooking.
-I think it's a triumph,
-a real triumph.
-This is one of the most transformed dishes
we've ever had. I've got to be honest with you -
it's got so much love in it, so much passion in it.
It's got so much taste in it. It's a thing of great beauty.
'High praise indeed! What do his peers think?'
-Look at that!
-It's a lovely bit of bass.
You see all the moisture in it? Real big flakes of fish.
Beautifully cooked. Fit for the banquet?
-Yeah, I would say so.
-Yeah. Another bangin' dish.
-There's a lot of great dishes today.
-I think they're going to struggle.
They're going to really struggle.
I loved that dish!
That really should be on the street party.
Therefore it's a big nine.
I think that Aktar's dish has really spiced up our day
in every single way, and I've got to give it a nine.
And when you think of the transformation
from that wet, unattractive failure of a dish
that he did first time round, it's just a miracle.
And miracles deserve a ten!
Prue, Prue, Prue, I agree with you.
I cannot believe that he's managed to transform this dish so much.
He's been touched by someone. It's an epiphany.
It's... It's amazing. It's a ten!
'Cooking over, all the chefs can do now
'is anxiously await the judges' verdict.'
Waiting for these scores is a horrible experience.
It feels as though time stops, the seconds don't pass.
You just want to get into that judging chamber
and be put out of your misery, really.
'On Thursday, the judges will pick the four dishes
'that make up their dream banquet menu.'
All you can do now is sit, wait and cross your fingers,
because those judges have got a hard decision on their hands.
'To be in the running, the chefs need a top-three finish.'
The food that has gone out of here today has been phenomenal.
This is very close to call. There's at least six out of eight dishes
that could be in the top three.
I've got to get a top three. Praying for a top three today!
'The stakes are incredibly high.
'But for the chefs, the wait is finally over.'
'Whose fish courses are still in contention
'for the People's Banquet?'
-How are you?
The competition is very, very tight.
The quality is amazing at the top,
and it's now time to announce the rankings.
..in eighth place...
-From hero to zero, Chris.
-Yeah. I knew it was bad from the start.
Chris, this is the second outing you've given this dish,
and if anything it has got worse. You should've listened to me.
There was a bin beside you. That was where it belonged.
Next, in seventh place...
Lobster soup. We thought it was a restaurant dish.
We didn't feel it was in the spirit of the competition.
-The sandwich was fantastic.
-Better than the kipper one?
Moving on - in sixth place...
-What do you think?
I tried to tweak it and bring those flavours out a little bit better,
but the competition today was super-tough.
The delight of the delivery didn't quite match the delight of the idea.
That means in fifth place...
..Hywel. What do you think?
Disappointed, but as Tom said, the competition today was incredible.
I was gobsmacked by some of the dishes I saw coming out.
It wasn't for sharing. It didn't have that sort of fun factor.
There was nothing wrong with the dish. Nothing.
All right. Well, this is it.
In fourth place...
That means congratulations, Lisa, Michael and Aktar.
Your fish courses are in the top-three dishes.
-Michael, how are you feeling?
I took Prue's advice.
It's simple, high quality cooking, beautifully delivered.
-It was a real triumph. Well done.
-Thanks very much.
Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, top three again today!
Yeah! I'm overwhelmed. Thank you very much.
Lisa, I think that is one of the most accomplished dishes
I have seen on the Great British Menu. Beautiful. Well done.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
-Aktar, first time here.
-Feels absolutely amazing.
It absolutely lit up this room
like a bolt of pure, blazing Indian sunshine and spice.
It merited every one of the very high marks it got today,
-Thank you very much.
Paul, just missing that top spot.
I'm going to tell you something. I am coming to Padstow
to try that dish, because it was absolutely delicious.
There is now competition in Padstow. Really well done.
-You're just too good, you guys. That's the problem.
Two down, two to go.
If the food tomorrow is anything like today,
it is going to be amazing. There's still lots of opportunities to get into the top three.
Good luck. We'll see you tomorrow.
-Thank you very much.
'So, a great result for Lisa, Michael and Aktar.'
Wow, in the top three again!
'Speechless. To get a comment back from Richard
'was just unbelievable.'
Top three... Not really sunk in. That's a major surprise.
I'm chuffed to bits. Dead proud.
I'm so pleased. In the top three now,
and this is where I intend to stay.
'But disappointment again for some of the chefs.'
So close but yet so far, really.
Richard ripped the shreds out of me,
and the judges didn't have too much to say about it,
so, yeah, it was pretty poor. Pretty poor.
I picked lobster, and I did a dish that I can't taste.
I'm an idiot.
'Tomorrow's main course is a chance to fight back,
'and last year's champion Tom will be battling to retain his crown.'
It's about time you let somebody else get into the top three.
'As the temperature soars in the kitchen...'
Everything's getting covered in ash, guys. I'm about to plate up.
-'..there's no room for error.'
-I've got the fear.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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It's the finals for the fish course for the Great British Menu. Twenty four of the country's top chefs have been competing for a place to cook at the People's Banquet - a magnificent street party to be held at the historic Leadenhall Market. Now only eight chefs remain and they are all fighting to get one of their courses on the menu. In this episode, they cook their fish dishes for the Great British Menu judges and a fourth member who will help them decide who will go through.