Northern Ireland chefs Brian McCann, Chris Bell and Chris Fearon prepare main courses including roast crown of lamb, 'my fancy dressed piggy' and suckling pig.
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Things are heating up on Great British Menu.
Three of Northern Ireland's finest chefs Chris Fearon, Chris Bell, and Brian McCann are battling
for the chance to cook dishes that will bring people together at the ultimate street party.
Yesterday was a fight for the fish course and saw risk-taker Chris Fearon fall from grace.
Serving it in a sardine tin, maybe that was a bit of humour too far.
While his former boss Brian clawed back vital points.
I am neck-and-neck with Chris Fearon, there's all to play for.
Former champion Richard Corrigan is scoring them all week, and so far it's too close to call.
There is one point separating Chris Bell from the rest of the chefs, it's absolutely nail-biting stuff.
It's the main course and the three dishes vying for a place at the People's Banquet
are rolled suckling pig, crown of lamb, and suckling pig platter.
I'm definitely gunning for it, the other two guys better get a wiggle on.
This year's challenge is a tough one, each chef has been seeking out the
real heart of their local community, meeting amazing individuals who unite their neighbourhoods through food.
How important was the food?
The food gathered people round the table and started conversations.
Inspired by what they find, they then had to come up with irresistible platters
that could be passed around guests at the People's Banquet and would get them talking.
The brief being what it is this year, sharing food and all,
it was a tough one and it's a lot different than what I'm used to doing in the restaurant.
They must impress a man who knows just how much getting to the final
means to them, former champion Richard Corrigan.
The halfway stage in the Great British Menu, it's nervous.
They all want to win this competition, to win this course.
In first place by just one point is a determined Chris Bell, the only one of today's chefs
to have won a Michelin star, he's desperate to triumph in this course and get to the judging chamber.
I came here to get to the judges, to get a dish on this banquet,
and to go out at the first hurdle would just be,
it would be unthinkable.
-How are we doing?
-Very well thank you.
-What are you cooking?
-Pork and apples.
Suckling pig, boned and rolled, I'm going to simply roast it
and finish it with honey and mustard.
I'm going to make hash browns and stuff them with some Clonakilty black pudding and a bit of stage.
I'll stew the apples, make a puree and do a savoury crumble on top.
Is there a spectacle in this dish, I mean suckling pig to me is whole pig on a tray. Where's the head?
It's not everybody's cup of tea, if you're going to cook this
for 100 people, may be 20 or 30 of those people will be turned off by the head.
I'm going to serve it on a big block with a fork, large knife,
and a little basket of hash browns to pass round the table.
So somebody is going to have to get up and carve this.
So Chris Bell is planning a chefy twist on a traditional roast
but is his rolled suckling pig, black pudding, hash browns,
and savoury apple crumble a tad too safe to impress Richard?
Meat cooked on the bone always tastes fantastic,
this one is off-the-bone rolled, is it going to taste like Sunday lunch?
I really hope it doesn't for his sake.
Next up in joint second place is Brian McCann, a classically trained chef
who believes in honest food cooked simply.
He lost out last year and is back with a vengeance,
and after a bad start turned things around with an impressive 8 for his fish dish.
I'm excited about another chance.
I pulled it back on the fish, and this is a great opportunity
to really get into this because I want to get the judges table.
Brian, come on, talk to me about your dish. What have we here?
Lamb, I'm going to tie it, bring it into a crown so it's really retro but it's got the visual effect.
Some watercress coming out,
crispy potato, bit of gravy, and a nice stew of vegetables.
Simple, big flavours, delicious.
Do you think this is a big occasion dish, a people's dish?
A crown? It used to be served to royalty, carved at the table.
I think it's fitting but it's not pompous, it's enjoyable,
it's got a bit of theatre and the big flavours.
I would love to see this in the banquet,
So Brian thinks his classic crown of lamb with potatoes, asparagus,
peas, and morels is fit for a king.
Will Richard think it's right for the People's Banquet?
Has it that real wow factor? Has he got the brief completely wrong?
I hope he hasn't.
Finally, sharing second place with 12 points it's underdog Chris Fearon,
a brasserie-style chef of taking a gamble with a humorous menu.
He went from hero to zero with his fish course yesterday
and hopes Richard will see the funny side today.
It's ideal for sharing, this dish, it's fun,
there's lots of interaction involved, eating with your hands.
I've got high hopes for this course if I cook it properly, you know. I don't want any more 4s,
-Chris Fearon, good morning. You had a tough end of day yesterday.
I loved the humour in your first dish, but not the second one.
Are you going to pull it out of the bag today or out of the box, yeah?
Well, I hope so. I'm going to call it my fancy dress piggy.
-Your fancy dress piggy?
-Big banquet, get your best gear on you.
So I just wanted to do a nice fancy dress piggy on a big board.
That's my suckling pig rack and we've skin here for crackling.
Got some nice ribs here, got some nice belly here.
I'm going to braise that down, shred it down,
layer it up with some nice black pudding from the North.
-There's a wee tart there for some celeriac, a bit of apple.
-And a sauce?
No sauce. There's moisture in the celeriac puree with the tart.
So you've thought about this dish very carefully?
We tried it with gravy and didn't think it needed it so I left it out.
Chris Fearon is taking another risk with his suckling pig platter,
but has he taken his gimmicky theme too far?
Is it all just too much meat
and not enough garnish, where's the sauce, where's the contrast?
With one point separating them and the lowest scoring chef
leaving the competition tomorrow, the pressure's on, especially for Chris Fearon.
-So, lads, how do you feel today? Nervous?
I really messed up that fish course and I feel bad about it, you know.
He's chancing his luck again and can only hope it pays off today,
unlike award-winning rival Chris Bell who's oozing confidence.
I think pork and apple is hard to whack.
He thinks he's got this course nailed but Richard will be judging
their dishes on more than just taste and execution.
It's about sharing, feast for the eyes, spectacle.
Which of these chefs is going to pull it out of the bag?
Both Chris have opted for suckling pig - Chris Bell off-the-bone, and Chris Fearon on-the-bone,
giving Richard plenty of room for comparison.
-But confident Chris Bell isn't fazed by his competition.
-It doesn't scare me.
I've said it all along, concentrate on what I'm doing and hope everything falls into place.
He thinks Chris Fearon may have bitten off more than he can chew
and can't resist a dig at his rival.
You done the salmon, you said yourself you were disappointed with the way it turned out.
-Screwed it up.
-There was a load of elements on there,
-there's double the elements on this, does it concern you?
-Um... It does a bit, yes.
And he's just as quick to rubbish Brian's simple lamb dish.
Crown of lamb, Brian? Very 1976.
There's not enough fat on it really, is there, and you can't seal it off.
No, it is dangerous.
It has to be bang on or there will be consequences.
Brian's competed on Great British Menu before,
he knows any slip-up could cost him dearly and is concentrating his efforts
on getting his classic roast bang on.
First-timer Chris Fearon is preparing black pudding fritters,
just one of five meaty elements in his bold-but-potentially-risky take on suckling pig.
This is a lot of meat, a lot of spectacle, but very little garnish and no sauce.
I love my gravy and I honestly think, I didn't think it needed it.
That may be my downfall later on. I let you be the judge of that.
He's a brave man not to heed those words of warning
as Richard has the power to throw him out of the competition.
Asking Chris Fearon about his sauce, he got very defensive. "My meat doesn't need sauce".
I'd like to disagree with him, I love my gravy.
Chris Bell is playing it safe serving gravy
and three vegetable dishes with his suckling pig.
While this could work in his favour, his decision to cook his pork
rolled and off-the-bone is a risky one.
It's pretty lean, the suckling pig, not very old,
not enough fat in it to allow a bit of overcooking, so it has to be precise, bang on.
I hope for Chris Bell's sake that he just doesn't overcook that suckling pig.
There's always a great danger of it being dry, insipid, and boring.
Having botched his ham start earlier in the week, Brian's all too aware
he can't afford any schoolboy errors with his meat today.
You weren't tempted to take off some more of that sinew?
-I took all the fat off but not the sinew.
-Why not some of the sinew?
I didn't think I needed to take it off.
-It won't make it tough at all?
-You've done this before?
Yes, a few times.
One great worry with Brian, he overcooked his ham.
This is basic fundamental cooking,
I really hope that he's found his confidence to pull this off.
This year for the first time ever, our chefs have been challenged to cook for a People's Banquet.
The feast will celebrate Britain's unsung heroes
who worked tirelessly bringing their communities together through food.
Brian paid a visit to his old neighbourhood in Belfast
to meet a woman who organised a street party of her own.
He wanted to find out the secret of her success.
-Hi, pleased to meet you.
-Hiya, you too.
I hear you're the hostess with the mostest!
I wouldn't say that but we had a street party.
Jeanette was delighted when nearly every household on the street turned out on the day.
-Here we all are.
-Look at all those people.
-How important was the food?
-The food gathered people round the table and started conversations.
Look at those beautiful buns, did you eat those?
Yes, but not all of them.
Not all of them.
And it's food that is bringing the residents of Shaw Street back together tonight.
They struck up friendships at the street party that have grown stronger ever since.
I knew the people at this end of the street but not the ones at the other end,
so it was a good opportunity to get to know everyone.
It's good to have good neighbours.
Brian road-tests his lamb and potato bake.
-Did you enjoy that?
-The potatoes are delicious and the lamb is lovely and tender.
-It's gorgeous, very tasty.
-Nine out of ten.
And Brian has an extra incentive to aim for a high score from Richard too.
If he goes through, he'll be taking Jeanette with him as his guest of honour.
I'm really impressed with what you've done with the community.
Hopefully we can get a winning dish on the banquet and we can bring you.
-We can have a bit of craic.
-Brilliant, yes, I'm looking forward to it.
-No pressure! See you later.
-Thanks, Brian, take care, bye.
I've just met an amazing bunch of people there
and one person started it, and there's a great sense of community. It's great to see this in Belfast.
Three chefs are engaged in a battle over the main course.
Chris Bell is wiping out his competition with a twist on a roast -
rolled suckling pig with all the trimmings.
Brian McCann is hedging his bets with a crown of lamb,
a less-is-more strategy that paid off in yesterday's programme.
Chris Fearon is hoping today's wild card,
his extremely meaty elaborate pork-themed platter,
will go down a storm with Richard Corrigan.
The main course is important, all the chefs want to win it,
but I could not pick a winner in there at this moment in time.
Brian was brutally knocked out of the competition by Richard last year.
Second time round, he thinks he knows what he's looking for.
It's going to be the simplest, quirkiest thing will win this
and everybody's going to say after, "Why didn't I think that".
He's hoping his old school crown of lamb will be his redemption.
Across the kitchen, confident Chris Bell is counting on his award-winning technical skills.
Are you a bit nervous, Chris?
The dish is good enough. It's, "Can I cook it well enough?" You know?
Chris is making black pudding hash browns to go with his suckling pig,
a simple twist on a classic which he thinks is better suited to the People's Banquet
than Chris Fearon's quirky piggy platter.
Were you tempted to do something else with the pork?
-Did I think just make apple sauce and serve it in a saucepot?
You know this is a celebration, apple sauce is not good enough.
A little crumble, another bit of texture, not too gimmicky.
I hate gimmicks, I hate stuff there for no reason
whether it looks good or not.
If the dish doesn't need it, don't put it on it. I'm cooking dishes that everybody can enjoy.
If they're safe, sorry, but I think they are very relevant.
Underdog Chris Fearon is making celeriac and black pudding tarts
to accompany his extravagant suckling pig platter.
He's looking to outwit his more experienced rivals with a fun,
attention-seeking menu, a risky strategy that could make or break him today.
Chris, what's happening with your pies?
The fan was on too strong so it created like a whirlwind and six of my tarts went flying.
A wee whirlwind.
That's you, McCann, you're a wee whirlwind.
Chris Fearon once worked for rival Brian and knowing what he's capable of, Brian is keeping an eye on him.
Chris Fearon, wild card. First course brilliant,
second course over-complicated, third course has he got too much going on?
I'm not too sure but I'll be watching.
The cracks are beginning to show.
Chris Fearon's crackling, he pressed it on the parchment paper and it stuck to the crackling.
He's trying to rescue some of it but a real big error, a real massive mistake.
Blunders cost valuable time, not to mention potential points.
Luckily for Chris Fearon, Brian's first to plate up today and has everything ready to go.
Potatoes cooked, he sautees his asparagus, pea, and morel stew,
decants his gravy, and pops his crown of lamb in pride of place
with a final flourish of peppery green watercress.
So what will Richard make of Brian's classic carve-it-yourself main course?
Is this something that people could do at the banquet, carve their own?
I thought it was theatre watching you carve it.
The proof is in the eating, Brian.
Brian thinks it's the perfect food to share, but has this old-fashioned dish
got the wow factor for a celebratory street party?
I think it looks really nice.
I like the idea of somebody has to get up and be the head of the table
and carve the roast, It's a nice touch.
Richard won't be revealing what he thinks until he's tried all three dishes,
but he is keen to interrogate Brian about the sinew he's left on the lamb.
Are you happy with your butchery skills on the lamb?
The cooking of the lamb is much more important than the trimming of the sinew.
It's certainly nice and pink, but it is suitable for the People's Banquet?
-It is tasty.
-The only problem for me is the temperature of the cooking, you can't please table of ten
medium rare, you know, it's almost arrogant to expect 100 people to eat medium rare.
And the garnish of the peas and asparagus.
It's just great flavour, everyone will associate with it.
It's a Sunday lunch dressed differently.
-This is good enough?
-Yes, this is good enough.
-Are you sure?
-This is good enough for anybody, Richard,
It's a great plate of food for this banquet, for sharing.
People's Banquet, I mean, is that appropriate?
I don't think it's appropriate.
But a confident Brian begs to differ.
That lamb dish is a high score, it's a 7 and possibly even an 8.
The two Chrises suckling pigs are up next. Chris Bell's cooked his
in a water bath and now needs to crisp it up in the oven, it requires precision timing.
But Chris Fearon's suckling pig platter is first to the pass and he's running late.
Chris, how far off are you in completing it? That pork of mine is in now.
Yes, I'll be finished in less than two minutes.
I need to pull that pork out of it's much longer.
With the clock ticking, he glazes his baby back ribs, gets his pork belly fritters in to fry,
and puts the finishing touches to his black pudding tarts, before turning his attention
to their novel presentation, something he's getting a bit of a reputation for.
We all know he's the "gimmick kid", the chicken in a bag,
the fish in the tin, what is he going to do with the pork?
Chris Fearon's hoping today's butchers block will appeal to Richard's sense of humour.
-It certainly got a laugh from rival Brian.
-It's Desperate Dan meat.
-You don't like them, no?
-No, I... It's quirky, I like it.
All his last-minute tweaking is eating into Chris Bell's cooking time, and Richard's waiting.
Finally with no time to spare, he carves his pork loin
and gets it onto the board with shards of the rescued crackling.
But has he got all that parchment paper off?
You are 15 minutes late to the pass, Chris. Have you a plate to serve it on?
I do. You just pull that forward,
pull it right out, set it there,
and then you've this wee knife here and that's your fork.
As usual, Chris Fearon's thought long and hard about presentation but is it the perfect food to share?
the rib, any veg here?
I don't think it needed veg but you know... Looking at it again?
I'd be quite happy to get that as a main course, that's my opinion.
Let's taste it.
Chris may want a meat feast for his main course but what about the 100 guests at the People's Banquet?
I love the theatre of it, there's a serious amount of meat here.
I like this, right, but I've only had half a one and it's very fatty,
they're fatty, that's fatty, that's fat.
You know black pudding is heavy and fatty, just apple sauce and he'd have a better dish.
Your ribs, happy with them?
Happy with the mix on there? A bit powdery maybe.
Yes, I think that is a bit grainy,
maybe I should have passed the sauce before I basted.
So this is the veg for the vegetarian, is it?
Bowl of veg but there's black pudding on it.
Delicious, I could eat that all day long, that's the best bit of that.
Black pudding has a punch to it, the sweetness of the apple.
I want to have a nice bit of creamy celeriac come down with it.
Crackling, if it tastes as good as it sounds it's going to be...
He's got greaseproof all over this one.
Do you think this dish is spectacle? Do you think it has wow factor?
I'm not going to stand here and say it's perfect at this stage,
but it's a wee bit rustic and it comes down on a big board.
I love the idea of having these come out.
It's quirky, does it appeal to everybody?
This doesn't do it, I don't think.
It's what Richard thinks that counts,
and he's put Chris Fearon in first and last place so far this week.
I was happy with the taste, I was happy with the presentation.
I'll be gutted if it didn't score
somewhere middle table.
If I had another four I'd be gutted.
As Chris Bell swings into action he's hoping his many accompaniments
will give his suckling pig the edge over Chris Fearon's.
What's that, your apple?
Apple crumble, Cox's apple, wee bit of cider, cider vinegar.
But time isn't on his side, he needs to make sure he doesn't overcook his meat.
Will the pork be under, will it be over, if there's not enough fat on it he's got to be careful.
-The last thing he needs is his rivals getting in his way.
-Do you want me to bring the veg up for you?
-Do you want that pan?
-No. Are you trying to stitch me asking me all these questions?
With the clock ticking, he gets his roast suckling pig on to its serving board
with some sage and onion gravy, crackling shards, and deep-fried sage leaves,
black pudding hash browns, and savoury apple crumble.
Time to find out if Chris's suckling pig and all its trimmings is best in show.
-Vegetable a la Grecque?
-So just a nice raw bite on those, yes?
Apple sauce sometimes is a bit of a cop-out just putting a pot of apple sauce on the table.
I just like the element of the crunch and the zest of the lemon, I think it works.
A piece of pork, as big or thin a slice as the guests would want.
In my opinion it's just how you want it to be.
I love confident chefs. Let's see what it tastes like.
Chris Bell thinks he's done enough to win this course,
but has he played it far too safe for the People's Banquet?
It fits the brief for sharing, everything in the centre of the table,
people calling about try the crumble, try the vegetables.
And what about the cooking of that risky rolled suckling pig?
-Are you happy with the pork?
-The pig here is the star of this dish
and I've seasoned it. I've done it justice.
-The meat needed more salt.
-Do you think so?
It's such a big piece of meat, you need a season on it.
Those was hash browns for me, they're the star of the show.
These are party food, little hash browns.
Could it have done with a bit more cooking?
I don't know, I like the bite.
-What's the wee vegetables like?
-You try one.
-There's no big punch there.
-For a la Grecque.
Is it spectacular enough, you know, big party food, sharing or is it a great Sunday lunch?
I don't think it's Sunday lunch, I think it's sharing.
It is for the people, it's from 15-year-old to 85-year-old,
you got a wide audience there to try and please and dishes like this well executed
is a type of dishes for this banquet.
How do you feel seeing that?
He's one point ahead of you and I at the moment, he could run away with it.
Pork's not an easy piece of meat to cook and I got it bang on.
All three dishes tasted, all the chefs can do now is await Richard's verdict.
Which main course will he think a worthy centrepiece for the People's Banquet?
I'm nervous and I can't wait for him to tell us what's happening here.
that sinew certainly was a problem for me and it would have been best removed from the best end.
The peas, the morel, and the asparagus just didn't hit those zingy notes,
but I did like your potato bake.
the brief I think you could have expanded upon.
A rolled belly of pork, under-seasoned,
and your potato and black pudding just a little longer in the friteur
would have made it much more interesting.
Chris Fearon, the butcher's block of pork
liked your presse of pork belly and black pudding deep-fried,
Didn't like lacquered ribs,
and did a bit of Belfast arrogance come through, no veg or potato?
So which of these three chefs has run away with the main course?
your lamb dish has scored...
your suckling pig roast...
your butcher's block of pork...
You don't need an imagination to know where you all are
the winner is the next course.
Three courses down and the two Chrises are sharing the limelight
with overall scores of 19,
leaving Brian with a total of 18, trailing by just one point.
Devastated. I thought I would have got higher than a six, I've got to keep focused now.
Maybe it was a little bit safe and I paid a price that.
I'm over the moon with that, that's two courses now I've won.
Going into the dessert now I have to score good.
Tomorrow, it's their last chance to prove their worth.
It's all down to this, boys.
-One point in it.
-Bad dish today, gone.
-And there's no room for error...
-It's not going to do it.
..as Richard will be sending one of the chefs packing.
Unfortunately, I will be asking you to leave the competition.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail: [email protected]
In Great British Menu, the nation's top chefs are being challenged to cook for the ultimate street party: The People's Banquet. The chefs are battling to create spectacular sharing platters, dishes that will get everyone talking, proving that food has the power to bring us all together. If they win, their dishes will be paraded down the ancient cobbled streets of London's Leadenhall Market and served at a magnificent street party: a banquet for the people and inspired by the people.
Each week three chefs battle it out in the kitchen for a chance to cook at the banquet, and a veteran of the competition tastes and scores their dishes every day. The pressure is on, as only two chefs can make it through to cook for the Great British Menu judges at the end of the week, and one will be going home on Thursday.
The chefs from Northern Ireland battle it out with their main courses. Chris Bell, Brian McCann and Chris Fearon are determined to win, and prepare the following dishes: roast crown of lamb, potato bake, asparagus, peas, morels and new season onions, 'my fancy dressed piggy', broken down in five ways, roast loin, crackling, crispy fritter, sticky ribs, black pudding and apple tartlet; and suckling pig, hash brown, crab apples and sage.