Great British Menu 2015 blog by Katie Pathiaki: The South West Heat

The  Staff Canteen

This is the second installment in a series of weekly blogs, rounding up each heat of Great British Menu 2015.

This week, three chefs from the South West began their journey on the Great British Menu. Welcoming to the show, newcomer Jude Kereama, alongside two returning chefs from last year’s competition, Josh Eggleton and Dominic Chapman, who were beaten to the banquet by fish-course extraordinaire Emily Watkins.

I can only imagine their shock and embarrassment when Emily herself Great British Menu 2015walked into the kitchen, announcing herself as this week’s mentor. She must have felt at least a little bit smug saying “so close last year” to the returning duo, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out the show had cut her saying “but not close enough” and sticking her tongue out.

The first course kicked off to a…well to exactly the same start as last week! Unfortunately for Pony and Trap chef, Josh Eggleton, we had already seen a savoury Victoria sponge made with brioche by Graham Chapman from the Scottish heat.

The only difference was it appeared that Josh took inspiration from a sea sponge and decided to add mackerel. Newbie Jude Kereama from Kota restaurant in Cornwall, also took a dive into the ocean and returned with every single crab he could lay his hands on in order to create his ‘Porthleven and poochie high tea’. He took the stance that when the Women’s Institute began in World War One, they were constrained to rationing.

However, rationing wasn’t limited to the sea, so the poochies (or crabs to you and I) were free. About one claw into the 12 Jude had to pick, the pressure started to get to him and Emily was not impressed when she found bits of shell inside the dish, effecting his score.Great British Menu 2015 The very experienced Dominic Chapman, owner of the Michelin starred The Beehive, decided to create a picnic for the WI ladies, “In England’s Green and Pleasant land” titled from a lyric in the WI anthem, Jerusalem.

Alternating classic Walkers crisps with appropriately chosen Jerusalem potatoes, Quail Eggs to imitate scotch eggs, and pickles to please the ladies that pride themselves on pickling and jam making. Emily was particularly looking forward to Dom’s Jerusalem artichoke soup, so he must have been kicking himself when he realised, even after some prodding from Josh, that he forgot to serve the damn thing. As the fish course came around, the chefs were on edge. Emily would be expecting more from the trio today, as this was the dish that sent her to the banquet.

Dom, who I can assume really loves salmon, presented Emily with his dish ‘Mountain Streams’. This dish consisted of three different types of cooked salmon, and a trout pie. There seems to be some sort of pattern going on this year, last week Jacqueline O’Donnel chose not to make her own jam, this week Dom is using (gasp) shop bought pastry! The ever-confident second-timer marked himself a nine for the dish, receiving an unsure glance from the typically stone-cold judge.

Josh, who was marked down for a starter that wasn’t considered banquet worthy, tried to push the boat out with his fish course. Taking inspiration from the 1944 meat pie scheme, where the ladies of the WI made 200 pies a week to sell without ration tickets, Josh wanted to fuse chicken with fish. In theory it sounds great, everyone loves a surf and turf, but the flavour of the fish was drowned out… which probably isn’t ideal during the fish course.Great British Menu 2015

With the aim of serving individual rock pools, Jude met up with a Cornish forager who sourced fresh produce for his dish, to enforce the idea that sustainable food can be found on your doorstep – of course if you don’t live by the sea you might have some trouble obtaining sea weed. The dish looked true to its name, garnished with aerated oyster sea foam, although it was criticised that the squid ink pasta might have been difficult to find in a rock pool.

>>> Read more about the Great British Menu Scottish heat in our blog

If you weren’t bored of Dom’s menu-rendition of Jerusalem yet, you probably would be after hearing him exclaim “bring me my chariot of fire” on more than one occasion during the third episode. All of the chefs decided to send their lambs to the slaughter, as Dom chooses to cook his lamb for a hotpot, while Josh and Jude battle over the water bath to cook their lamb, sous vide.

Although, there was a hint of sabotage when Josh went to check on his lamb and the water bath had been turned off! Quick to point the finger at competitor Jude, he interrogated the kitchen staff, before realising he had actually turned the bath off himself. For a viewer, it felt as anti-climactic as if we were watching Taken, and Liam Neeson realised he had actually just left his daughter in the car and she wasn’t kidnapped at all.Great British Menu 2015

The feedback from Emily was pleasantly surprising, as Jude’s eye catching ‘Lamb and Jerusalem’ was described as well cooked, delicious and aromatic, Josh’s ‘Round the Table with your 5 a Day’ meal, which sent nostalgic memories of being sat around a big table with your family, a crackling fire behind us, tucking into gran’s best roast, was praised as being banquet worthy.

Dom was the one who stole the show today, after making comments about Jude’s meal being a ‘fusion, or confusion’ of spices, and giving a full speech on the great achievements of the WI, Emily gives him the highest score of the night for how perfectly cooked his kidney and sweetbread were. Emily, who sounds like she is constantly reading from a script, seems equally as excited about the dessert course as I would be about going on a five mile run with a hangover. Despite the lack of enthusiasm from our judge, the chefs really hit the brief with their desserts. Jude, who must have spoken to the party side of the WI, told him they love making alcoholic jellies.

In a bid to lighten Emily up a bit, he made a berry jelly spiked with gin, pairing it with tempered chocolate and Turkish delight creams to take off the edge. For Jude it looks like a dash of the mother’s ruin reaped riches when presented to the chefs.Great British Menu 2015 Carrying on with his Jerusalem themed dishes, Dom’s village fete inspired dessert ‘Clotted Creams and Pastures Green’ seemed to be a bit too much for him to handle.

With so many elements involved, Dom was so busy trying not to forget anything from his dish that he had forgotten to turn the oven on for his tarts. Helping their competitor to say in the runnings, Jude and Josh took it upon themselves to watch over the bakewell tarts while Dom ran around the kitchen like a headless chicken.

However, it didn’t really seem worth all the effort when Emily compared his dessert to a ‘tea trolley’. The ambitious and inventive Josh started off with a concerning concept; he would be making breakfast for dessert. ‘Mission Milk’, a cornflake-milk infused junket, drizzled with a strawberry soup, was inspired by the WI’s mission to promote British milk.

He was met with some unease from Dom, to which Josh replied with some healthy trash talk: “beat you didn’t I?” referring to last year’s competition, where Dom failed to deliver with his Victoria sponge. Even after his efforts, Jude was pipped to the post by the two returning chefs, and lost by one point. Meaning Josh and Dom would be presenting their menus again to the judges.Great British Menu 2015 Joined by guest judge Radhika Bynon, member of the modern urban Women’s Institute, Prue, Matthew and Oliver return again to scrutinise the remaining chef’s menus.

First to plate up was Dom with his starter served in a picnic basket, and thankfully he remembered the soup this time round. The judges enjoyed Dom’s starter more than Josh’s however, even after he took Emily’s advice into consideration and tried to condense the Victoria burger he first presented into a Victoria sponge.

Making last minute decisions, Dom asked Josh for his advice before presenting his ‘Mountain Streams’ fish course. In the end, he threw the trout back into the water and refined the dish to concentrate on salmon. This didn’t work too well though, as the judges commented on his rillettes being unpleasant, in the sense that they were rubbery, and they all preferred Josh’s pie without a pie. Matthew kept repeating that he felt ‘cheated’ without any pastry though.

The main course had both chefs hot under the collar. Josh was left exclaiming “I can’t even cook a roast dinner” as the judges tucked into his mutton chop. Overly confident Dom, who scored a 9 on this dish, ‘Bring Me my Chariot of Fire’, didn’t live up to expectations as he refused to take Emily’s advice given during the week to put a prime cut at the centre of this plate.Great British Menu 2015 The competition was still very close by the time desserts rolled around on Dom’s tea trolley.

Dom’s village fete was a spectacle, and all the judges had great things to say about his breakfast junket. Radhika in particular really appreciated the sentiment behind it. When the chefs entered the judges’ quarters, Prue gave them both a cruel bit of hope by telling them it was a draw! The look in Dom’s eyes was priceless, as a mixture of confusion, sadness and excitement crossed his face. However, it was soon snatched away as Josh was announced the winner of the South West. Bring on the Welsh heat!

>>> Everything you need to know about Great British Menu here

>>> Read more about Great British Menu 2015 here

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 17th August 2015

Great British Menu 2015 blog by Katie Pathiaki: The South West Heat