Northern Ireland chefs Brian McCann, Chris Bell and Chris Fearon prepare desserts, including chocolate fondue, a mishmash of lemon and summer berry tart.
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It's decision day here on Great British Menu.
All week, three of Northern Ireland's finest chefs,
Chris Fearon, Chris Bell
and Brian McCann, have been fighting for the chance
to cook at the ultimate street party,
a spectacular banquet celebrating the power of food
to bring people together.
Yesterday's programme saw the struggle for the main course
and ended with a wild card Chris Fearon joining Chris Bell
in first place and leaving Brian one point behind.
It's really, really close. We're all level pegging. There's no room for error.
Scoring them all week is Richard Corrigan.
At the level of the Great British Menu, you do not expect that in a dish.
It's their last chance to impress him.
Only the two highest scoring chefs will face the judges tomorrow.
The chef who slips up today is going home. It's all to play for.
Today, it's deserts and the three dishes battling for a place at the People's Banquet
are chocolate fondue,
lemon in a box
and lemon curd tart.
I've been down this road before and I do not want to go out this year.
Everything rests on this final course.
Mess up today and you can't fix it tomorrow. It's finished.
This year, each chef has been set the task of seeking out local heroes from their community,
who work tirelessly bringing people together through food.
You have to be very honest.
It's a fabulous end to a lovely meal.
Success in the competition is more personal
than ever, as the winning chefs
will get the chance to invite those they've met to the People's Banquet.
Thank you very much, we'd love to.
You know, they give so much to the communities,
it'd be nice to give something back to them.
Today is the dessert course and the chefs' last chance to impress former champion Richard Corrigan.
He who produces the best pudding
will have a very big smile on his face today.
In joint first place,
with a total score of 19, it's joker in the pack Chris Fearon,
a brassiere style chef, set on toppling his fine dining competition with a high-risk menu.
He's already clocked up two wins this week
and is determined to stay out in front with what he thinks is a killer desert.
I'm going in guns blazing, here. I'm expecting to win it.
It's going to be class, it's going to be mega.
Talk to me. Tell me about this dish.
I wanted lemon tart. I love lemon custard tart. It's great.
We've got some lemon and liquorice Battenberg cake.
-I don't see a desert here.
-Tell me, come on, I'm not convinced!
I'm poaching off these lemons, I'll take the middle out.
I'll pipe a lovely fresh ice-cream into them, lemon ice-cream.
And lemon meringue.
All presented in a wee sweet box, with a wee bottle of lemonade to wash it down with.
-Is it good enough?
-I think it's good fun.
I think people will understand it,
and the theatre of all coming down, it's great.
I like my puddings like my fish courses. Very simple.
Chris Fearon's pudding is anything but.
He's pulling out all the stops with his box of lemony tricks,
a more-is-more tactic that saw him come last in the fish course.
Hang on, Chris. I didn't ask for afternoon tea. I want a pudding.
Sharing the limelight with 19 points is Chris Bell,
the only one of the chefs to have
held a prestigious Michelin Star. But he's yet to win a course.
He's put in a solid, but unexceptional performance all week,
scoring average sixes and sevens.
So, he's hoping to nail it with his dessert today.
My chosen dessert is a feast for the eyes. It's ideal for sharing.
I think it's good enough to get me to the judges.
What are you going to cook for us today?
I'm going to make a tart. I'm going to do a tart of lemon curd.
I'm going to macerate some berries,
flavoured up with a little bit of elderflower.
I've got little ice-cream cones, I'll do butter milk ice-cream.
Is the spectacle enough?
Yeah, with the individual ice-cream cones, the shot glasses,
the tart on a separate plate. When it all comes together,
you'll see there's a bit of theatre. It's ideal for sharing.
Chris Bell's opted for another twist on a classic.
Lemon curd tart with buttermilk ice-cream.
But will playing it safe today deliver those vital points?
I wonder, how much thought did he really put into this pudding?
Will that be enough to knock my socks off?
Finally, trailing behind with 18 points, it's last year's loser, Brian McCann.
He's cooked simple, honest food all week.
But he's changing tack on this final course
in a last-minute bid to stay in the competition.
This course, for me, is quirky.
He is either going to love it or hate it.
Brian. Title of your dish today?
I'm going to make a chocolate fondue mix.
I'll make passion fruit and pistachio marshmallows.
I'm going to make some spiced banana bread.
I'm going to make some coconut dacquoise.
I'll make rosemary shortbread and I'll have a selection of fruit.
So, you've taken that sharing, you've really concentrated on that idea?
I want to see the fun factor, the excitement.
And I want to go to the judges.
Brian's turning his less-is-more approach on its head,
opting for an uncharacteristically novel chocolate fondue.
A risky strategy this late in the competition.
It's the Great British Menu!
I want to see something really beautiful, something fantastic!
Yes, he has the sharing aspect, but where's the wow aspect?
With all three chefs vying for the top spot and everything riding on their desserts,
a simple mistake today could reverse all their fortunes.
-It's all down to this, boys.
-One point in it. A bad dish today, gone.
Simple as that, yeah. No room for error.
Richard will be scoring each dish on taste, execution and whether it's good to share.
And, at the end of the day, he'll send one of these chefs packing.
There's huge pressures now. It's neck and neck. They're on the dessert course.
Someone is going home after this.
Which one? Who knows.
No one's feeling the pressure more than Brian.
He lost out last year by just one point,
and is cooking outside his comfort zone in a bid to impress,
a tactic even he's questioning.
This dish is so quirky.
-I'm really nervous.
He's making passion fruit and raspberry meringues,
one of five time-consuming components to dip in
his chocolate fondue - a dish he knows could make or break him.
I don't know. Is it the fun factor? Is there interaction in it?
-I think we're all taking risks here.
-Whoever goes out, deserves to go out.
But Brian doesn't want to be kicked out early for the second year running.
This could be the trump card to get me through or I could just be packing my bags and going home.
Chris Bell has aimed to impress with precision cooking all week.
Pass me a fine chinois?
But, so far, he's failed to trounce his rivals.
And Chris Fearon can't resist piling on the pressure.
Chris, do you think this is a sense of fun,
a celebratory kind of dish you're doing? Is there interaction enough?
First and foremost, it tastes good, you know?
It's not all about flavour. It's about is the dish
going to be right for the brief. Is it appropriate?
Chris Bell knows he needs to get it bang on today,
and his nerves are starting to show.
I might fall at the last hurdle. I may make it to the finish line.
But maybe just being steady and solid all week isn't enough in this competition.
Maybe it takes that little bit more and I've not had it this week.
He's making buttermilk ice-cream to serve with his lemon curd tart.
Zest for curd? Yeah?
But with Chris Fearon cooking a similar dish, the competition's hotting up.
Both of us on lemons for the desert?
I know, you must be reading my mail.
-You making any curd, Brian?
-Unfortunately, no. I'd love to be in the stand-off with you.
Get in the stand-off with us, the big curd stand-off.
Chris Fearon's riding high on yesterday's result and is confident
he's onto another winner with his fun box of lemon-flavoured desserts.
The concept of it,
the sharing element of it, the wow factor, it's all there.
I couldn't be happier with it.
He's been pushing the boundaries all week
with fun, playful dishes, a tactic rival Brian has adopted today.
And one Richard can't quite fathom this late in the competition.
Brian, of all the dishes you've cooked, most have been quite safe.
You know what I mean? If anything, a bit samey.
This one is a little bit wacky, you know what I mean?
-Why the jump?
-Completely not what I do.
But this is maybe what I should have brought up to the competition.
You know, it is completely... Maybe it is just fun and I've overlooked it.
He's making everything, from coconut dacquoise to rosemary shortbread.
But will it be too much, too late?
I don't associate Brian McCann with boom and bust.
But, in this case, he's going all out to surprise us.
Well, let's hope for him he does.
Across the kitchen, Chris Bell is assembling his lemon curd tart.
He lost out to maverick Chris Fearon yesterday, and was marked down by Richard for not hitting the brief.
Richard's worried his making the same mistakes today.
-Are you going for anything to surprise?
Not really. I've just got the little ice-cream cones, I think are quaint
-and some dry ice under them.
-That's your lean to humour?
Well, Scottie's got a better sense of humour than me,
but I think what he's done on his dish is either really worked or it's completely flunked, you know?
So, we'll see what happens today.
Chris Bell's hoping his individual ice-cream cones, served in dry ice,
will be spectacle enough to keep him in the competition
and get one of his dishes on the final banquet.
I don't want to let the people down who
I'd like to get to this banquet.
A lot of people have put faith in me and I want to repay them.
The challenge for each of the chefs this year
has been to create stunning sharing platters for the People's Banquet,
a magnificent street party celebrating food's ability to bring people together.
Chris Bell travelled to Belfast, Northern Ireland to get inspiration for his menu.
I've heard about these two ladies who have an allotment plot in inner-city Belfast.
They've brought what's called a supperclub into Belfast for the first time.
They've invited me along to cook a version of the desert I'm going to cook for the Great British Menu.
Jenny O'Neill and Sarah Allen started Plot 15 Supperclub
in an effort to get to know their neighbours and use up their allotment surplus veg.
-Welcome to our allotment.
-Hope you're ready to do a bit of work.
And it's been a huge success, enabling them to enjoy good food and forge new friendships.
It's a fantastic idea. How do you choose your guests?
Do you know the people in advance?
We just have people that make reservations, people in the community.
They don't know each other and we don't know them.
Is bringing people together through that something that you wanted to do also?
Well, it's the best way to share time with people, to sit around a table and enjoy good food.
I couldn't agree more.
Chris can't wait to see the supperclub in action first hand.
Chris, this is Tia.
-Hello Tia, you all right?
-This is Mary.
-This is Chris.
-Good to meet you.
-Nice to meet you. How are you doing?
Chris is doing a dessert for us. We're really excited to have him along.
Tonight, Jenny and Sarah are dishing up venison to eight hungry strangers
who, by the end of the evening, will be friends,
one of the many reasons the supperclub has been a success.
It was the chance of eating some vegetables from her allotment,
was what attracted me initially, you know?
But I was really surprised. I met some very interesting people.
Food is something we can enjoy and share.
That's one of the things I love in meeting people.
Chris is eager to find out what tonight's guests think of his dessert.
OK, guys. What we've got is a version of a lemon tart.
I just want to get some feedback on the flavours and whether
this is something you would like to eat at a banquet.
-You have to be very honest. Yeah.
The lemon just cuts through everything, but in a good way.
The colours, the texture of the buttermilk ice-cream is just so smooth.
I think I would like the shortbread to be a tiny bit crispier.
That's really good, really good.
-For me, it's a fabulous end to a lovely meal.
-Thank you very much.
If I'm fortunate enough to get to the final of this banquet, I'm pinning my hopes on this dessert.
Based on your feedback, it would be a pleasure if Jenny and Sarah could attend.
-I'll keep my fingers crossed and try my damnedest for you.
-Thank you very much, we've love to.
As far as breaking down barriers with people using food, they've hit the nail on the head.
I want to get a dish on the banquet and get them with me,
because they deserve it for what they do on a month-to-month basis.
Back in the kitchen, three chefs are battling for two places in front of the judges tomorrow.
Chris Bell's hoping he's done enough
with his chefy lemon curd tart with buttermilk ice-cream.
Chris Fearon's going all-out to impress
with a whole box of lemon-flavoured desserts.
And Brian's taking a last minute risk
with an uncharacteristically playful chocolate fondue.
Scoring their dishes is down to Richard. And every point counts,
as the lowest scoring chef will be leaving the competition today.
I really don't know which chef is going to go through here today.
I really don't. It's all in their hands.
With the two Chrises in joint first place,
and Brian desperate to knock one of them off the top spot,
their fates rest entirely with their desserts.
I'm one point behind, you two boys are even.
I know it's not a lot, if one person makes a mistake, that's it.
Brian's making banana bread to dip in his chocolate fondue,
a retro dish Richard's worried will lack real impact.
Is it visually going to look stunning, this one?
It's going to look different.
It's wacky bowls, sticks coming out with fruit on it,
sticks with chocolate. It's fun.
Brian's rival, Chris Fearon, has conjured up playful, eye-catching dishes all week
and is confident his box of lemon has the wow factor,
particularly his lemon and liquorice Battenberg.
Interesting. Lemon sponge, liquorice sponge.
Black, black, yellow, yellow. Black icing, white on the outside. Yum yum.
It's a striking colour and flavour combination that has rival Chris Bell worried.
He's looking to impress with individual summer berry shots
and buttermilk ice-cream cones, served in dry ice at the pass.
But he's beginning to think he's played it too safe.
The other guys, both desserts I could see at a party, you know?
Whereas mine's maybe a little bit more relevant for a restaurant.
But... I mean, we'll see, we'll see. Anything could happen.
One mistake could make or break each of them, and time is against them in the race to plate up.
Chris Bell is first.
-Just getting the bowl ready to serve the ice-cream cones in.
I've put some elderflower and lemon essence in the bottom.
The dry ice will go on, the centrepiece of the table, an ice-cream cone for everybody.
It looks really simple. It's in a mould, is looking very restaurantey.
I just don't see the excitement in it.
But the excitement is still to come in the form of berry shots and dry ice.
With Richard looking on, he puts the finishing touches to his lemon curd tart...
-On the pass in one minute.
-..and scoops his buttermilk ice-cream into their awaiting cones.
I'm ready, let's go.
Time for his final flourish- the dry ice, activated by boiling water.
But it isn't working.
And, believe it or not, it gets even worse.
It's not going to do it.
A mistake like this could cost him the competition.
I can't believe it.
And he's destroyed his ice-cream cones in the process.
I think I'll carry this.
OK. Oh, it's gone all soggy, as well.
Let's go, let's taste it quickly.
So, without the dry ice, is Chris Bell's lemon curd tart
spectacular enough to keep him in the competition.
Well, his ice didn't work.
-Devastated for him.
-I know, cos that was going to be the wow factor.
-You've been Mr Consistent the whole week.
-Would you change it all if you had a chance?
-I wouldn't change the dessert.
I'd just do it the way I know how to do it.
I got the sharing part right with the glass and the cone,
having to cut the tart, help yourself to the berries.
The execution let me down on this.
And just when he thought he'd hit rock bottom,
another mistake rears its head.
-Should it be cold?
-I don't know,
is it supposed to be cold or is it supposed to be warm?
-Your fruit syrups should have been chilled?
-Should have been ice-cold.
I don't know if I like that buttermilk.
I'm not getting anything else but buttermilk.
But could the main event, his lemon curd tart, redeem him?
Hmm. It's more a sort of cheese, really.
I don't know if this is ideal for sharing, for families.
I think there IS a bit of theatre. He just hasn't executed it properly.
Could this be Chris Bell's undoing?
One error has snowballed into half-a-dozen errors.
And, collectively, just ruined the whole course for me.
Brian knows this could work in his favour.
That's if he gets his dessert made in time.
His chocolate fondue is up next and the pressure's on,
as he's got a lot of different elements to bring together.
And it's his last chance to impress a dubious Richard.
The juvenile sweet shop! Is this good enough?
-I don't know. I'll have to see.
Is everything made, everything done? Are you happy with everything?
Just dressing here, a couple of minutes concentrating.
There's no time for pleasantries when a place in front of the judges is at stake.
They've just pushed me out.
They're full on, their heads down, completely focused.
Chocolate melted, he gets it into the fondue pot
and arranges it on a tray with his rosemary shortbreads,
meringues and many dippers.
It's certainly fun.
But is it special enough for the People's Banquet?
This is the dish that's going to make me or break me, Richard.
-Where do I start?
-Wherever you want.
It ticks all boxes as far sharing's concerned,
but is it elegant enough for a celebratory street party?
Dip the shortbread as well.
Time to find out if Brian's chocolate fondue was worth the risk.
The brief said sharing, interaction and fun.
It ticked all the boxes.
-With the marshmallow?
The chocolate is a little bit bitter.
It's overpowering. I can't taste that.
I just get chocolate and I get...
soft stuff. That's it.
What about his savoury rosemary shortbread?
-Does this belong here, the biscuits? I'm not too sure.
If you dip into it, you've got a savouriness coming through the chocolate.
That's why I put it on.
It is so sickening. You couldn't eat too much of that.
-Couldn't eat a lot of that.
-It'd blow your head off. You'd collapse and start shaking.
You ARE fighting for a place on the banquet. Have you done it?
I...I... I want to say yes, Richard.
I really, I truly, I think this is a great dish. I think it's fun.
That dish was always going to be a risk. It was always the wild card, the joker.
It's crash and burn or sending me through to the judges.
Chris Fearon is last to prove his worth.
With four different lemon desserts to bring to the pass, will this dish prove to be too tall an order?
One, two... One, two, three...
I hope it's thought through
because there's a real danger that this could be just a big muddle.
What am I missing?
He pipes his lemon ice-cream into its awaiting shells...
Are you on time?
..slices his Battenberg and gets it into his presentation box -
another creation he's brought in specially.
With his lemon curd tarts and lemon meringues in place,
he turns his attention to his sweet lemonade.
Little bit of soda water as well, gives it an extra kick.
Richard had better like lemons.
It's certainly a feast for the eyes. But is it the perfect food to share?
So, proof's in the pudding.
Custard tart of lemon.
Will Chris Fearon's box of lemon secure him a place in front of the judges tomorrow?
He's clearly given its presentation a lot of thought.
Fun, humour. Eh?
But what about its flavour?
Is it all a bit too lemony?
Well, yeah. I'd agree with you there.
But I just wanted to base it on lemon. Like, a whole plate of lemon.
Are you sure that was a good idea?
It's not bitter, but it's not very lemony.
It's not very ice-cream.
Some of the other elements are quite tart.
And what will Richard think of that unusual Battenberg?
-Sherbet on the outside.
That will wake you up in the morning.
Should that be served cold?
Is it not cold, is it?
It's a simple mistake,
but could cost him his place in front of the judges tomorrow.
I would love to get through.
I think I should get through.
But who's to say? You know?
You can never say a win until Richard comes out and gives you that mark.
With their final courses delivered, there's nothing more the chefs can do but await their fate.
The only fortunate thing for me is that Chris Bell has not executed his desert perfectly.
That could be to my advantage. I hope so.
They've cooked their hearts out for the chance to be at the People's Banquet.
Maybe Richard's seen something in the dish that has potential.
I don't know what the man's thinking.
But right here, right now, I'm not holding out much hope.
It's time for Richard to deliver his final verdict.
One of these chefs is going home.
-How are you doing?
I'm going to start with Chris Bell.
-Chris, there was certainly a few errors on your dessert.
The buttermilk ice-cream in the cone,
the undressed fruits.
-You know, at your level...
I think your fondue of chocolate...
I kind of get where you were going,
but it ended up a very large petit-four tray, really.
The chocolate, I thought, really missed a little bit of spice, taste.
It could have been so many things, Brian,
which you're well capable of doing.
A lot of trickery in your presentation, a box, this and that.
Not all the judges are so easily pleased.
I did enjoy the Battenberg.
But your custard mix was so bitter it was almost inedible.
And from you, I expect better.
Time to find out which two chefs will be cooking for the judges tomorrow.
So with the score...
of seven points for his dessert...
..Chris Fearon, you're automatically through.
-Thanks very much, boys. Thank you very much.
-Thank you very much.
So that leaves two chefs...
..but only one point between you both.
With four points
for his dessert,
And Brian McCann...
..four points as well for your dessert...
Brian, unfortunately, I will be asking you to leave the competition.
Chefs, well done and congratulations.
I wish you all the best tomorrow.
-Thank you very much.
-Well done, lads.
One point last year and then one point this year.
What do you do?
So with the highest total scores,
Chris Fearon and Chris Bell will be cooking for the judges tomorrow.
Sadly, Brian must now leave the competition.
I put so much time and effort into this, so much passion.
I'm so gutted to go home.
Coming up tomorrow, remaining contenders
Chris Bell and Chris Fearon must go all out to impress the judges.
-You're getting very flustered over there, what's wrong?
-Never you mind.
There'll be no fooling these judges. Everything's got to be bang-on.
I can't find anything good about it at all.
Getting past Richard Corrigan's one thing but getting past these three,
it's like Devil's Den, you know what I mean?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Great British Menu continues and in this programme one of the three chefs from Northern Ireland is going home.
The nation's top chefs are being challenged to cook for the ultimate street party, The People's Banquet. They 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.
It's the last chance for the chefs from Northern Ireland to impress as the one with the lowest total score from across the week will leave the competition. Brian McCann, Chris Fearon and Chris Bell deliver their desserts: chocolate fondue, a mishmash of lemon, lemon and liquorice battenberg, sherbet, lemonade, summer berry tart, and elderflower and buttermilk ice cream.