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It's judgment time on Great British Menu and a place in our national finals is up for grabs.
Three of the North East's top chefs have been desperately battling to out-cook each other
to get a dish on the menu at the People's Banquet.
It's been a week of tension and high drama.
They have got a bit of colour on them.
Former champion Nigel Haworth demanded the best of the best
and Tim Bilton left the competition early when his homely food failed to hit the mark.
I'm gutted, but two worthy contenders to take the North East forward.
Today, Stephanie Moon and Andrew Pern will cook their entire menus again for the judges.
It's a fight to the finish.
To get this far is incredible. To cook for those judges... I want to win now.
I'm going to go for it today, so you better watch out, Stephanie!
Both chefs are desperate to win today.
The prize in their sights is a place in the Great British Menu final
where the regional champions will battle it out for the honour of cooking at the People's Banquet.
Stephanie Moon came into the competition as the underdog,
but to the surprise of her rivals, her highly original menu triumphed.
It's all to play for. Andrew is after my blood. He really is. I've got to keep sharp and on my game.
She's up against the very experienced Andrew Pern
who has held a Michelin star for his fusion of fine dining and robust British classics.
I've been behind Stephanie all week. Today is my last chance to leap ahead of her,
make it my day and book my place in the Great British Menu final.
Our exacting judges Prue Leith, Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton
are looking for magnificent platters of food to share, dishes that will create a spectacle
and be a real talking point at the ultimate street party - the People's Banquet.
Anything less will get short shrift.
What we're really trying to do is a really fantastic street party.
Not street food, but gastronomy as always. We are talking about the best chefs in the country.
I think the food has got to be able to be a conversation piece.
If it's a sort of classic restaurant fare, it's not going to do that.
It has to have a sense of, "Wow, have a bit of this, try that!"
Fantastic, huge, great, elaborate pieces of food laid out,
just inviting you to get stuck in!
-Good morning, Steph.
-Here we go then.
-The big one.
Both chefs will cook all four courses from their menus,
but the judges won't learn who's cooked each dish
or which menu it belongs to until they've tasted everything.
-Are you feeling confident?
-To stay in the competition, both chefs will have to make sure
this is the service of a lifetime.
Steph's kicking off her menu
with sticky pigeon with ingredients foraged from the hedgerow.
-We won't have much leeway today with three judges. One was bad enough.
-They're going to be Rottweilers.
But the first dish to go before the judges today
is Andrew's salmagundi of north country produce
which didn't score well on Monday.
This is a cooking competition and you're starting off with a dish that hasn't got a lot of cooking in it.
The thing that surprised me was how easy it seemed for you to do.
That's the idea. The easier, the better. Cos the other three aren't.
Despite Stephanie's taunts, Andrew believes his platter
of cured meats, vegetables, egg mayonnaise and cheese would be a hit at the People's Banquet.
But will the judges agree?
-"Minging" is the first thing that comes to mind. Minging and a mess.
-I love it.
I can't work out whether it's a herbaceous border or a deconstructed salmagundi.
-It's a mess.
-Does it taste nice?
-Delicious. Eat one.
-It's Humpty Dumpty.
-It's mustard and cress, isn't it?
Do you think people will respond to this? Can you see it in the People's Banquet?
I'm not getting a sense of purpose out of this.
It feels like a food decoration course on a platter here.
What is disappointing is that I feel, aside from assembling ingredients here,
I don't feel there's very much skill in terms of cooking.
A mish-mash of colour does not make it suitable for a banquet. If you do something like this,
there has to be warmth and love to it. I am not feeling the love from this dish.
I like it. It is colourful. I think it's 90% delicious.
-I just have a feeling we're going to see something better.
-I very much hope we are.
Andrew's starter hasn't exactly impressed the judges. Can Stephanie take the advantage?
She scored highly on Monday with her sticky pigeon with forager's relish and hedgerow crisps
made from beetroot and burdock.
-The judges aren't far away now. They're circling.
Steph's taking a risk with her unusual ingredients, as Andrew is keen to point out.
-Do you think the judges are going to enjoy those?
-I believe in foraging. I've done it for a long time.
-I'm hoping they like it.
-I hope they don't.
-Steph's got her heart set on going through today,
so it's a blow to discover her burdock root is not top quality.
Oh, dear. What's happening there?
It's quite good, thinking, "That's all right. It might put her out of her stride a bit and trip her up."
The more that happens, the better for me.
As Stephanie puts the sticky glaze on her pigeon, then adds the finishing touches to her platter,
she's pulled it out of the bag, despite her nerves.
Now she can only hope for mercy from the judges.
You are in the firing line to be shot down.
A much greater sense of allure to this dish.
I'm sort of already intrigued to see what's inside the apple.
That makes me smile just to look at it, the ingenuity. How do you serve this?
-Does this lend itself to a street party?
-I'll help you.
-It looks good, it's a feast for the eyes.
I can see this going down on a big, long table and everyone going, "Hmm, what's that?" "Pigeon."
There's a problem for a start. Little bleeding chunks of pigeon's breast, people will not eat.
-Have you gone soft in your old age?
-It's not bleeding. It's rare.
-And it is delicious. I think this is incredibly patronising.
-It's completely patronising.
-If you squish a piece of stew, it does that.
-If you want to get people talking at a large table like this,
-there's lots to talk about here.
-This is lovely food to share.
I love the apple job. The stuff inside is too sweet. This is amusing.
Not many people will have seen three colours of beetroot dried.
I don't see this as food for the community. I have misgivings about how much people will enjoy it.
And also to me, it's just... I don't know. It's just a bit too polite.
So mixed reviews for Stephanie.
Could Matthew's concerns about her challenging choice of meat count against her?
There are three more courses to go before the judges' verdict.
Both chefs are hard at work on their fish dish.
Stephanie will be first up
with her hot oak-smoked trout with pea puree and scraps.
On Tuesday, veteran chef Nigel Haworth marked her down for her over-smoked trout.
On his advice, she is packing her fish in salt and brown sugar.
The reason I'm doing all this is to get some of the moisture out,
so I don't get so much smoke into the fish.
Steph's complex dish is putting her under pressure and Andrew can't resist adding to it.
-The fish has been sitting out there a while, Steph.
-I'm just keeping it warm, chef.
She's already feeling the heat and now Steph is struggling with the smoker.
No. More, more, more.
The smoke is crucial to the success of her dish and her rival has spotted she's having trouble.
-I've done this so many times and it's always worked.
She needs to get her beer-battered scraps into chip shop bags
and pipe the tea cream on to her pea puree. In the nick of time,
she manages to get her dish to the pass.
That was a bit of a nightmare.
But the experience has unnerved her.
-No, not really. Not really. Not really.
I made a mistake and, you know, it could cost me dearly. Let's hope not.
I've got to get this off while there's still smoke inside.
Look, pea shoots, our old friends.
It doesn't really feel like sharing to me.
-It's matron doling it out.
-Less of the "matron", thank you!
Do you know what those are? Those are bits of fat you scoop off the top of the fat-fryer.
No, I don't feel it's sharing food. I think it's just food presented separately.
There's some kind of flavour like tea or something. It is tea, isn't it?
I think the pea puree is of very poor standard. It doesn't have enough flavour.
The peas are not very good. I don't like the cream on top.
What's the gold leaf doing on there? I think it's a disaster.
-Oliver, you always look on the bright side of life(!)
-I'm trying to be polite.
You should hear what I really think.
The presentation is a mistake. It's too smoky.
The mushy peas aren't good enough.
I don't think it's generous and sharing.
It doesn't seem to me like a banquet for anyone, never mind a banquet for the people.
It's pretty, poncified, but it's not party food.
It's a good thing Steph can't hear the judges' comments.
Not only has her dish had a panning, but she's failed to convince them her concept is great for sharing.
Could this be an opportunity for Andrew to steal the lead?
Going all out to win, Andrew is tweaking the sandwich filling.
I've added a bit of cream cheese to make it lighter, more delicate.
The fish course was Andrew's strongest dish and the only one to beat any of Stephanie's dishes.
And he's confident of success again today.
Now's my chance to maybe get ahead. Steph's had a problem with the fish course,
so maybe I can win this fish course, then the next one, then the next one.
He brings his bubbling tureen of fish soup to the pass to be ladled
over the lobster, samphire and scallops in the judging chamber.
Make sure they can have seconds if they want to.
-I think it's a real sharing dish.
-Pass the soup round.
-A real sharing dish.
-That's the main aim.
I'm not going to taste this dish. What's this got to do with feasting? It's just a restaurant dish.
I think you've got fantastic self-will because I think it smells so delicious that...
-I know it's a restaurant dish, but I'm dribbling.
-This is the People's Banquet. It's about generosity.
-You've got to eat three more courses.
-I'm not having any. It's a classic French dish.
-You ought to try it for flavour.
-I want to know about the sarnie.
-What will it add?
-I don't know, but it smells quite good.
-I'm feeling bad.
If you're not careful, he'll throw his rattle out of the pram again.
-I think this was added to make it more "sharey".
-It's completely irrelevant.
Some of the seafood is overcooked. The bisque itself has been blitzed to within an inch of its life.
-There's too much tomato in the sauce.
-It's a bit heavy.
-But this dish isn't an irremediable disaster.
It just needs to be presented in a different way.
It's not a little tweak. He needs to get rid of that,
make the sauce better, cook the fish better and put it all in one pot.
Andrew's fish course has also fallen short of the judges' high standards.
With two courses down and two courses to go, the rivals have no idea who's going to win.
I think we're about neck and neck. We're probably about level.
The competition is hotting up now. It really is. We both want to win so much.
So on to the main course. Andrew is serving
his ambitious platter of roast pork loin, pork pies,
black pudding Scotch eggs, cider fondants and sticky ribs.
-This is the one you really want, the main course?
-It's a good one. It's piggy in the middle.
Andrew knows each component of his dish must be perfect, so he's made some changes.
-So are these the new, improved Scotch eggs, chef?
-They are indeed.
-I've added a bit of mixed spice to it.
-I've tried a different black pudding. It's got more oomph.
Andrew's making a few tweaks. He's pushing harder.
He's precision-working. That makes me want to do better than him. Hopefully, I will.
He puts the finishing touches to his suckling pig platter and appears to be completely unflustered.
-I think so.
But privately, he has his concerns.
All the different components came through very well. Maybe the potato is slightly underdone.
That might hand the competition over to Stephanie if it comes down to that.
Wow! This is more like it.
-That'll do for me. I don't know what the rest of you are going to eat.
At last, a bit of drama, a bit of theatre.
I do think this is a proper People's Banquet dish.
It's got that... Excuse me. Will you help us, please, Prue?
-I want a bit of sticky riblets.
-I want a bit of everything.
-No part of this pig has gone to waste.
This is a little pork pie. Lovely flavours.
-This is fantastic. This is black pudding.
I love the little detailing here. I think this little candied apple on top of the pork pie,
the black pudding stuffing around the Scotch egg, light and crunchy on the outside...
Just beautiful. I have not met one false note.
This is the perfect sharing dish. It just makes you smile.
If this piggy gets through, which I really... Right now I hope he does.
I just imagine ten of them or twelve of them or whatever, all coming in in a line
with a roll of drums and flaming torches. It is just such a spectacle.
Unquestionably, this little piggy could go to Leadenhall Market.
So full marks to Andrew. His dish has proved a hit with the judges.
Has he raised the bar for Stephanie's main course?
She's serving twice-baked Nidderdale lamb in a salt and hay crust,
Bluemin white potatoes and gravy.
In the previous round, this dish got a strong score from veteran chef Nigel Haworth.
But he still felt there was room for improvement.
I needed to get a bit more flavour into the lamb.
He felt that the salt hay crust extracts some of the lamb flavour.
So what I'm going to do is make like a sticky jus to coat the lamb in,
then put it in the salt hay crust.
Will the improved flavour of the lamb be enough to equal or better Andrew's main course?
Steph won't find out until the judges have tasted all the dishes.
-Very rustic, isn't it?
Shall we see what's on the inside?
-This is lamb.
-Oh, my goodness! Doesn't it smell good?
-Why don't we swap these down? You pass that on to Oliver.
This is how I imagine the feast working. You do a bit of this. Oliver then does a bit of pouring.
-Thank you very much indeed.
-A very fine piece of lamb.
-It's one of the most honest dishes we've had because it's not messed around with.
That does slightly beg a question.
Are the guests attending this going to sit down and think this is just a bit too ordinary?
No, I don't think so because first of all, none of us can do potatoes like that.
I love the simplicity and I like the presentation. Once it's scaled up, it'll be amazing.
This chef cooks like I wish I could cook.
With Stephanie's main course also getting the judges' thumbs-up,
it's impossible to say who is in the lead.
Now it's the chefs' final chance to prove to the judges
they've got what it takes to cook for the People's Banquet.
-The competitive juices are getting going.
-We're on the home run.
Both of us are really going for it.
Andrew is hoping to sweeten them up with another traditional dish -
a celebration of Yorkshire rhubarb, including some liquid refreshment.
-You've got a lot of schnapps there. Are you trying to get the judges drunk?
Ply them with drink, exactly.
His dessert consists of four elements, all of which have to be perfect.
But he had trouble with one of them on Thursday's programme and Steph won't let him forget it.
-Where's your rice pudding?
-It's here, ticking over.
-Has it gone right this time?
-Looking a lot healthier. I'm getting the hang of this cooking lark now!
-You got enough practice.
-I had to do it one or two times.
-Three times a charm.
-It was worth the effort.
He arranges his rhubarb jelly and custard, rhubarb schnapps,
elderflower rice pudding and pistachio and rhubarb-filled Yorkshire puddings on a cake stand.
Chef, you're running late.
-Are you feeling the pressure?
-I'm not feeling the pressure.
I just had a little organisation problem. It's just the levels.
-It's a bit wonky, that one.
-It is a bit wonky.
This is Andrew's last dish to go to the judges.
Now there's nothing more he can do.
-OK, there you have it.
Deep down, I feel a bit apprehensive.
After putting so much effort into it and so many people willing you on, it's quite emotional, if you like.
It's that relief. You don't know whether to laugh or cry.
-It's tea time.
-It's afternoon tea.
-It's a party.
-Wow, that looks really good!
If this tastes as good as it looks, I think we're in for a real treat.
-It's a rhubarb fest.
-Shall I have one of those?
-Even those Yorkshire puddings are made of rhubarb.
They've got pistachio inside them.
This is a little... Hmm! This is a trifle.
Gosh, this is the way to round off a meal!
-Oh, it's rice pudding.
-Oh, my goodness! This is alcohol.
-Rhubarb liqueur or something.
-Is licking your fingers part of the fun?
-This is the winner.
-You've had two of those already!
Guys, do you see what we've done? We have absolutely hoovered up four little puddings each.
So I guess we liked it.
-It's not just for us. Do you think the other people would?
-Everybody would love this. Everybody.
I'm slightly reluctant to let this go beyond this room. The temptation to grab it for yourself!
So a clean sweep for Andrew's dessert,
but the judges have absolutely no idea of what is about to hit them.
It's Steph's Yorkshire mess.
Like Andrew, she has also put rhubarb at the heart of her dish,
but in a very different way.
-One more push. Come on, Steph.
While Steph sweats over rhubarb jellies, rhubarb curd, Parkin crumbs
and a magnificent rhubarb meringue,
all Andrew has to do is relax and enjoy the spectacle.
Steph will send her sous-chef out to present the dish to maintain the secrecy
of which chef has cooked which dish, but she's suffering a crisis of confidence.
She knows her unique dessert will either fill the judges with delight or despair.
I've got that feeling that I had just before I presented you all...
-Sort of pit of your stomach... "Oh, my God, I can't believe I'm doing this!"
-Do you want a hand?
The judges are in for a surprise.
They're about to see a final course presented in a radically new way.
-Certainly is different.
I hope the dessert is the judges' favourite.
-I felt it was the apt finale for a banquet of this grandeur.
-We did it. We got there.
-We got there.
I suspect a certain amount of interactive pudding-making here.
Gosh! It's a surprise.
-This is good fun.
-This is good.
-It is building up into something really wonderful.
I love a bit of jelly.
-Rhubarb crumble, rhubarb jelly.
I can honestly tell you I have never had anything vaguely close to this ever!
-It's a wonderful idea.
-Spoons at the ready?
-A great idea for parties.
-Oh, look at that.
-Everybody dig in. It'll all topple over sideways.
It won't matter because people will be laughing so heartily...
-I was just going to have that bit.
-I got there first.
-Lovely poached rhubarb. Good meringue?
-Very good meringue.
-What is there not to like about this?
-You can see everybody having a real laugh with this.
But what impresses me most is that for all the fun and the theatre, it's also wonderful cooking.
That's a very good meringue, excellent jelly, perfectly poached rhubarb.
I'm only unhappy because I thought the other one was perfect too. Now what do I do?
It's certainly put a smile on the faces of the judges
and Stephanie has got top marks for audacity, as well as for flavour.
The cooking is over and all the chefs can think about is whether they've done enough
to get through to the next round.
It's been a heck of a week.
Getting to the next stage would be... Wow! Great!
The challenge has been very tough. It's a big relief to get finished.
All you need now is the judges to finish off the week and hopefully, vote me for the North East.
-Let's do it.
-In the chamber, the judges finally get to see which dishes make up the two menus.
Two quite distinctive approaches to the competition.
I think it's very hard. I really do.
Both chefs have followed the brief.
Andrew designed his menu to be perfect for sharing
and stun the guests with the visual appeal of his platters.
Steph created innovative dishes
to break down barriers and get people talking.
One of them is much more visual.
I think the pigeon is the best of the two starters.
Yeah, but it's about menus. We've got to choose the menu and that's the real problem.
OK, I know which menu I'm going for.
And you, Oliver? Have you made up your mind?
-Yes, I think I have too.
It will be really tough, but let's call in the chefs.
With all four courses tried and tested, it's time for the chefs to learn their fate.
So, hello, chefs.
We have judged a lot of these competitions now
and they are always incredibly tough.
But today has been extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary,
so I gather it was tough for you too.
It was a real roller-coaster of ups and downs.
We thought you got off to a bit of a slow start,
but the last two courses from both of you were absolutely fabulous.
-And I don't think we've ever had two such cracking puddings.
Right, so it's time to find out which of you has won.
-It's going to be Menu A for me.
-Prue, for me, it's Menu B.
That means I have to do the deciding vote, but I have made up my mind
and it is...Menu A,
which won't mean a lot to you because you don't know who has cooked Menu A and nor do we.
So we will find out.
the chef going forward to represent the North East in the Great British Menu competition is...
-..Andrew Pern. Andrew, congratulations.
-Thank you very much.
Well done, Andrew. Well done.
Stephanie, I am so sorry.
I'm so sorry. You really were very, very close.
But Andrew, I think what certainly influenced me most
was that your menu seemed to be the most partyish, the most celebratory,
the most visually exciting.
I think Andrew's menu had an extra dimension of theatricality.
I do think neither menu was exactly perfect.
Andrew, you'll have to do some work on the fish course and probably on the salmagundi.
Stephanie, I loved the pigeon. The lamb was very interesting.
I loved the pudding because I'd never seen anything like it before.
That was a very brave thing to do and that tilted it for me towards you.
Congratulations, both of you, particularly Andrew. We look forward to seeing you in the final.
-Well done, chef.
All week, I've been underdog. Stephanie's the dark horse, winning all the rounds.
It's just never-ending. When is it going to come good?
Amazingly, it did today, the important day. I said I'd make it.
And I did. It's brilliant. I feel quite emotional actually.
-Do it for the North East.
-Exactly. Cheers, everybody. Thank you.
I worked my heart out this week. I've given it my heart and soul. Andrew came through on the day.
It would be a lie to say I didn't want to get through to the next stage. I really did desperately.
But that's made me more determined than ever to try and get back next year.
Next week on Great British Menu, the battle continues
with the chefs from Northern Ireland and sparks are going to fly.
People make mistakes, things boiling over. There's smoke, there's fire.
The pressure's on. You have to get it done.
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd 2011
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